Out on DVD | The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux - Plucky little mouse Despereaux (voiced by Matthew Broderick) is led to the edge of Ratworld by Hovis (voiced by Christopher Lloyd)

Based on the bestselling children’s book by US author Kate DiCamillo, CGI animated adventure The Tale of Despereaux is the story of a plucky little mouse with unfeasibly large ears and a sense of chivalry to match.

Big-eared Despereaux (voiced by Matthew Broderick) isn’t like other mice. He doesn’t cower at the threat of danger, and he’d rather read a book than nibble its pages. So his timid fellows banish him from Mouseworld, thrusting him into a series of adventures involving an outcast rat named Roscuro (Dustin Hoffman), dim-witted skullery maid Mig (Tracey Ullman) and the forlorn Princess Pea (Harry Potter star Emma Watson).

The Tale of Despereaux - Outcast rat Roscuro (voiced by Dustin Hoffman) gives Princess Pea (voiced by Emma Watson) a scare

With so many story threads to weave together, the makers of The Tale of Despereaux can’t help getting their plot in a tangle, but Sigourney Weaver’s delightfully wry narration prevents things from unravelling completely, even when Despereaux himself is displaced from the action for too long. Besides, the quality of the animation (created by London-based company Framestore) is ample compensation when the storyline sags, boasting as it does witty echoes of a colourful array of famous painters from Hieronymus Bosch and Bruegel to Vermeer.

Released 20th April

Read about the film’s playful tribute to the 16th-century Italian Mannerist painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo.


To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.