The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Tale of Despereaux with Matthew Broderick
Both the book and the movie are basically about a small mouse who does not act like a mouse and because of his uniqueness finds himself on a great adventure.
In both the movie and the book Despereaux sees the world differently than the rest of the mice. He loves music and values honor and virtue, he would rather read a book than eat it. In the movie though he is depicted as having no fear, as being this bold mouse that defies death to spring mousetraps. But in the book he is afraid; in fact he faints a lot. He doesn’t fail to scurry and cower because he is unafraid but because he forgets to because he is thinking about something else. To me that makes him a much better hero. It takes more courage to do something you are afraid of than something you are not. And it is nobler to be motivated by love like the Despereaux in the book than by a sense of adventure.
There were elements added to the movie that I didn’t understand the point of. The mysterious disappearance of the sun, the weird vegetable genie, the gladiatorial like games in the rat city, soup day. I thought they made the story less believable (yes, that’s what I said, believable, or maybe the word is credible) and sillier than the book.
In the book the narrator talks directly to you, addressing you as ‘reader’. The movie keeps the same feel as the narrator speaks to the audience, not quite as directly, but it is more conversational than just relating a story.
The themes of forgiveness and redemption that are brought up in the book are touched on in the movie but I don’t think they are as prominent.
There are other changes too. Two of the characters in the book seem to have been merged into one in the movie, some of the characters had slightly different beginnings or endings and some things had to be changed to accommodate the changes I’ve already mentioned but most of them are minor. But sometimes the characters ended up being less than they were in the book, less evil, less noble, less sympathetic, less whatever.
Although I thought the movie was fun and cute I would have to say that the book had better characters and although similar a slightly better story line.