"We tried to go for this painterly look," says Robert Stevenhagen about the CG animated "The Tale of Despereaux," which he co-directed with Sam Fell ("Flushed Away"). The book the movie is based on, the Newbery Medal-winning fairy tale of the same name by Kate DiCamillo, "had an incredible atmosphere to it already," Fell says.
"We didn't want you to be aware of computers, which is so sort of modern. We wanted to transport you to another time and place like all good fairy tales do."
Indeed, there is a lushness and richness to "The Tale of Despereaux," something resembling, well, a beautifully illustrated children's storybook.
The movie, which opens Dec. 19, tells the story of a brave little mouse with Dumbo-sized ears, who has fallen in love with the princess of the castle.
With the preponderance of CG movies these days, "the challenge was to come up with something that is new," Fell says. But for the directors, that "something new" also had to look like something timeless.
"We looked at a lot of medieval paintings, Dutch 17th century paintings and old Flemish paintings," Stevenhagen says. "Not just for the texture and color, but also for the lighting. The lighting is almost a character in the film."
-- Susan King