The film did NOT meet my expectations.
It should have been renamed, The Tale of Roscuro, for Despereaux, while mentioned at the beginning by the Narrator (phoned in by Sigourney Weaver, who's placid voice did not carry the "umph" needed by a Narrator in order to drive a story), didn't even enter the plot for like 20 minutes.
I did like the animation.
The story, however, was flat. Void of the incredible imagery of light and dark and revenge vs. forgiveness. It was humorless (with a few small crumbs that succeeded in making me chuckle), and slow. Painfully slow.
The individual journeys of each character were very sloppily mixed together. I was shocked Kate DiCamillo would sign off on the screenplay.
Now, I did bump into two other families at the theater who have not read the book, and they found the movie "beautiful". This is where I begin to feel like a snob with my, "Oh! You just HAVE to read the book!"
But you do. You just do.
The best part of the movie? Watching Zane light up and giggle with pure glee when Despereaux meets the Princess Pea. The kind-hearted Princess Pea, who's careless treatment of Miggery Sow (which never happens in the book) is an additional story line which infuriated me, as it actually insinuated that she was partially to blame for triggering Miggery's desire for revenge.
There is just so much I took issue with. The beauty of the true story was chopped, with all the yummy ingredients being thrown together into a big pot and left to mingle and mesh with each for too long. Everything was overcooked. The result being a tasteless mush. The film sacrificed the unique flavors of the details. I would actually love to see someone else redo the film, as I do think it would make an incredible visual story.
Zane still found the little mouse and his love for a beautiful princess quite intriguing. I took delight in watching his eyes light up throughout the film. In fact, he awoke this morning saying, "I still want to be the good mouse, Despereaux." Zane was able to see goodness, and bravery, and love.
Harper? Well, she bumped into a friend at the theater and sat with their family. This also brought me much joy, as I glance back to last year, where she would shrink at the prospect of doing something so . . . bold.
Afterwards, it took a Vanilla Shake from McDonald's to calm down the film critic in me.
It was great.
Not so, the Tale of Despereaux.