Posted in Adaptations

Chris’s Corner – The Tale of Despereaux

While looking through my library I discovered this little marvel, and then remembered that they had created a movie on it! So of course I had to judge the adaptation.

So, in terms of differences, I will say they destroyed Despereaux’s character. In the book the little mouse is a fearful thing, and one of the greatest elements of the story is that Despereaux must face his fears to save the princess. However, in the movie they turn Despereaux into a fearless and reckless mouse, a direct contrast to the books. In addition to this the novel tended to have a much sadder undertone than the movie does. In the books the MC’s parents seem to care about them very little, whereas in the movie they seem to genuinely care but for some reason are incapable of displaying it to the little mouse effectively. There is also the matter of the antagonist’s story having been changed quite heavily. While the story of him falling into the soup is the same, much else about him is changed. In the books he is a somewhat twisted individual who wishes to lock the princess up forever. However, in the movie adaptation Roscuro (The antagonist) actually starts off as a somewhat nobler character, seeking forgiveness and not being as wicked as other rats. And then once the princess spurns him he turns a complete 180 and tries to feed her to the rats. Bad characterization for Roscuro, and in addition, a goal that is extremely gruesome for a children’s movie.

Since there’s not much really to talk about in regards to characters here (though I will say Emma Watson being the princess was a surprise), I suppose that I’ll skip straight to my judgement. I rate this movie as one of the ‘Truly Disgusting’. While the story has some similarities, the characterization of several major characters is butchered. By removing Despereaux’s fear you remove one of the most appealing parts about his journey, the overcoming of that fear to save something you care about. The original story also seems a lot more fitting as a child’s movie than what was created, as the theme of overcoming fear seem like a much better lesson than what was shown in the movie. Then there’s also the matter of the gruesome eating they wanted to try, which I’d say is very odd for a child’s movie.

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