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[National Review; December 22, 2008]
There is so much to like about this film; it’s visually beguiling, it has some original characters, it’s free of crudity and pop-culture references, and it’s not screamy or exhausting. Why, then, did I find my interest evaporating within an hour of leaving the theater? I have a hunch—but let’s deal with the basics first.
Despereaux (voiced by Matthew Broderick) is a young mouse, smaller than his buddies, and sporting a pair of immense ears. “He heard more, saw more, and even smelled more,” says narrator Sigourney Weaver, than the other residents of Mouseworld (an appealing old-world town, where a mouse-sized Vermeer would feel right at home).