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Me and Sylvia (April 4, 2002)

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Friday, June 27th, 2008

Cartoon mice

Last night, Sylvia and I started rereading Despereaux, the story of a young non-conformist mouse which I found a little cloying last time we read it but which she loves. And it's sort of a cool coincidence: when we went to the movies this evening, we saw a preview for the forthcoming movie of Despereaux. Nice -- I can picture it being a much better movie than book. A lot of what irritates me about the book is the precious authorial voice, which I think will not be there as strongly in the screenplay -- who knows, perhaps not at all, if the author of the book is not writing the screenplay. I don't know whether she is or not. (Update -- IMDB says, not. And Matthew Broderick is doing the mouse's voice, which seems like, well, possibly a good choice.)

posted evening of June 27th, 2008: Respond
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Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

That mouse

So Sylvia and I watched Despereaux this rainy Christmas Eve afternoon. I am finding this kind of funny: I, who did not like the book, thought the movie was better than the book; Sylvia, who liked the book (and who liked the movie better than I did) thought the movie was not as good as the book. That makes it seem to me like a pretty middle-of-the-road movie, worth recommending to people who need some movie to watch with their kids over the long vacation but not to anybody else -- fun but not that fun.

The movie was different from the book in a huge number of plot points but contained the same essential story and the same moral (the transformative power of apology -- this lesson is my primary complaint about the book). Sigorney Weaver's narration sounded just about exactly how I picture Kate DiCamillo sounding. And, well, the sanctimonious voice of the narrator is my other big complaint with the book -- so the movie matches the book for its drawbacks. On the other hand, it's got cute animation (with minor but noticeable continuity problems) which is fun to watch and diverting. It's got big names (Ms. Weaver, Dustin Hoffman, Matt Broderick, Kevin Kline...) on the marquee. I think if I hadn't been so pissed-off at the book for being lame, I probably would have really enjoyed the movie.

posted afternoon of December 24th, 2008: Respond
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