Friday, 22 May 2015

a mouse's tale

a mouse's tale is a peruvian-argentinian animated feature with an impressive voice cast that includes cary elwes, jon heder and jon lovitz.

the film follows a young mouse called sebastian who wants to be a wizard but isn’t very good at magic. while exploring the woods with his friend samantha, the two mice stumble across the dark rodent’s secret rat army and uncover a plot to take over the mouse kingdom. on reporting it to the mouse king, sebastian is declared the chosen one and is tasked with taking an ancient treasure to the kingdom of the giants where he will exchange it for a magic crystal that can save the kingdom.

it’s hard to describe what makes a mouse tale good and interesting without ruining the plot, but i’m going to try. the film starts like a typical fantasy adventure for kids, and reminded me of things like sword in the stone and black cauldron. sebastian is your average hapless hero character and from the opening scene it seems pretty obvious where the film is going to go. there is some added value from the character of his friend, samantha, whose courage and heroism make her much more than the token female character. sebastian’s other two travelling companions, sir jonas and sir thaddeus, add some humour and jon heder and cary elwes have some fun with the voices for these characters. the film takes a while to really get going, but once the four adventurers set off on their quest it’s a fun romp, if one that we’ve seen before.

about two thirds of the way through something happens that i didn’t see coming and it completely changed my opinion of the film. again, really trying not to spoil it, but it reminded me of a really brilliant 80s australian film called the navigator, which has a similar premise. if you liked that film, this is kind of like the kid’s version and it manages to do something similar with the story and where it takes its characters.

it’s difficult to comment on the quality of the adaptation of something like this as i have no idea what the original argentinian/peruvian script was like, but the writers have definitely done a good job. there are some really funny moments and the characters are more developed than you would expect in something like this. the voice cast all do a fantastic job as well – heder and elwes make an unlikely double act, and there’s particularly great support from tom arnold as the king’s wizard.

if i had a criticism i’d say the animation is perhaps not as slick or textured as say a pixar film and visually the film looks a little dated, but that’s a minor issue in a film that really thrives on its characters and story. i would say that there are some darker moments that could be a little scary for young kids, but then what do i know about what kids are into. for my part i found this to be an enjoyable, exciting and ultimately really interesting film and i would definitely check it out if you’re interested in some light-hearted entertainment.

a mouse's tale is released on dvd on 25th may from lionsgate home entertainment

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