“This little treasure is all mine, gentlemen and ladies.”

Have you ever held the tail of a rat? At best, it is an unpleasant sensation, scaly and cold, similar to holding a small, narrow snake. At worst, when you are dependent upon a rat for your survival, and when a part of you is certain that you are being led nowhere except to your death, it is a hideous sensation, indeed, to have nothing but a rat’s tail to cling to.

Despereaux gradually becomes aware of his horrifying surroundings – bones of mice and men, and plenty of the telltale red threads – and a crowd of rats following.

If what was in front of Despereaux was too horrible to contemplate, what followed behind him was, perhaps, even worse: rats, a happy, hungry, vengeful parade of rats, their noses up in the air, sniffing, sniffing.

“Mouse!” sang out one rat joyfully.

“Yes, oh. yes, mouse,” agreed another. “But something else, too.”

“Soup!” called out another rat.

“Yes, soup,” the others agreed.

“Blood!” sang a rat.

“Blood,” they all agreed together.

And then they sang, “Here, mousie, mousie, mousie! Here, little mousie!”

Boticelli called out to the other rats. “Mine,” he said. “This little treasure is all mine, gentlemen and ladies. Please, I beg you. Do not infringe on my discovery.”

There is yet another thing they changed in the movie that greatly damages the tension: In the film, Roscuro takes Despereaux like this and protects him by saying he’s going to eat him, but with no intention of doing so. The movie has a general problem of not being the tiniest bit scary (except on rare occasion because of the low-quality CG animation).

“Please!” shouted Despereaux.

“Little friend,” said Botticelli. “Little Despereaux Tilling. I promised you. And I will keep that promise.”

The rat stopped.

“Look ahead of you,” he said. “What do you see?”

Despereaux opened his eyes.

“Light,” he said.

“Exactly,” said Botticelli. “Light.”

Until next time…

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