Universal has released a trailer for their pcoming computer animated film The Tale of Despereaux. I always find it fascinating when similar films are released close together: Armageddon and Deep Impact, Ants and A Bug’s Life, and now Ratatouille and The Tale of Despereaux – two computer animated films with European settings, about rodents who aren’t afraid of the human world which they are trained to be afraid of. And I’m not saying that Universal copied Pixar, or Pixar copied Universal. It’s just interesting that similar ideas are realized at the same time. The Tale of Despereaux is actually based on a book which was published in 2003, and the film was announced a year later. Pixar began developing Ratatouille in 2000. But it also doesn’t help that the teaser begins with a Chef in a kitchen.
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Official Plot Synopsis: Once upon a time, in the faraway kingdom of Dor, there was magic in the air, laughter aplenty and gallons of mouthwatering soup. But an accident left the King broken-hearted, the Princess filled with longing and the townsfolk without their soup. Sunlight disappeared. The world became gray. All hope was lost in this land…until Despereaux Tilling (Matthew Broderick) was born.
A modern fairy tale, The Tale of Despereaux tells the story of four unlikely heroes: Despereaux , a brave mouse banished to the dungeon for speaking with a human; Roscuro (Dustin Hoffman), a good-hearted rat who loves light and soup, but is exiled to darkness; Pea (Emma Watson), a Princess in a gloomy castle who is prisoner to her father’s grief; and Mig (Tracey Ullman), a servant girl who longs to be a Princess, but is forced to serve the jailer.
Tiny and graced with oversized ears, Despereaux was born too big for his little world. Refusing to live his life cowering, he befriends a Princess named Pea and learns to read (rather than eat) books—reveling in stories of knights, dragons and fair maidens. Banished from Mouseworld for being more man than mouse, Despereaux is rescued by another outcast, Roscuro, who also wants to hear the tales. But when the Princess dismisses Roscuro’s friendship, he becomes the ultimate rat and plots revenge with fellow outsider Mig.
After Pea is kidnapped, Despereaux discovers he is the only one who can rescue her…and that even the tiniest mouse can find the courage of a knight in shining armor. In this tale of bravery, forgiveness and redemption, one small creature will teach a kingdom that it takes only a little light to show the truth: what you look like doesn’t equal what you are.
Watch the trailer in High Definition on Yahoo. The Tale of Despereaux is scheduled to hit theaters on December 19th 2008.