VIDEO: The trailer for The Tale of Despereaux
This animated mouse epic aspires to grand scale but falters in its execution. The rodent (voiced by Matthew Broderick) of the title, who makes up for his stature with Dumbo-sized ears, tries to rescue a princess (Emma Watson) and save the kingdom of Dor from despair. Hard to believe, but the situation has something to do with the banning of soup: the princess's father (the original Soup Nazi) has put a bounty out on rats because the queen drowned in a bowl of porridge. In Dor, the rats and the mice reside in separate subterranean enclaves: the former's digs resemble a Turkish prison, whereas the latter show better manners in a village filled with discarded books and broken pots. Any mouse caught in the rat den winds up dead meat in the arena or on a dinner plate — or both. Adapted by Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhagen from the Kate DiCamillo book, this dark, disjointed fairy tale has impressive visuals, but in the end it's just a glorified hunk of cheese.