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07 December 2023

Rats! These mice come off cheesy

Despereaux feels like a cheap rip-off of 2007's Ratatouille (SUPPLIED)

By Christy LeMire

Which came first, the rat or the mouse? Doesn't matter. Even though Kate DiCamillo's book, The Tale of Despereaux, came out in 2003, the film feels like a rip-off of Ratatouille (2007).

Here's a food-laden fairy tale about a rodent (voiced by Matthew Broderick) who overcomes his underdog status to save the day.

Directed by Sam Fell (Flushed Away) and Robert Stevenhagen, the film shifts awkwardly among three plots, all of which are connected to Princess Pea (Emma Watson).

Roscuro the rat (voiced by Dustin Hoffman) accidentally falls into the queen's soup, killing her and prompting depression throughout the kingdom of Dor. (Soup is a big deal in Dor, and it's banned after the queen's death.)

Roscuro is exiled for the act, which turns him vengeful. But next comes Despereaux, a young mouse with giant ears. He never cowers when he's supposed to and would rather read books than eat them. As such, he's also banished.

But then comes the crass serving girl Miggery Sow (Tracey Ullman), whose jealousy of the princess threatens the palace and, provides an opportunity for Roscuro and Despereaux to redeem themselves.