This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 at 9:05 pm and is filed under Animation, Comedy, Family, R. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Janeane Garofalo, Brian Dennehy, Peter O’Toole, Brad Garrett
Pixar (The Toy Story people, for you cave dwellers out there) has scored another animation hit with this uneven, but still enjoyable feature about a rat who dreams of becoming a chef. Well, safe to say that we have an original idea there. The animation is, of course, superb, regardless of whether we are watching a surging storm drain, precise human hand dexterity or the Paris cityscape. There are several sub-plots going on and a little more focus would have been of some help here. There are also several overly long scenes of rats scurrying away from dangers that get a little wearisome, but a fairly charming story does emerge soon enough.
This movie surprised me with a funny, little, seven-minute short feature, called Lifted, which was about an inept alien screwing up an apparent human abduction test. This was a nice start and lead up to the main feature, in which Patton Oswalt reads the part of Remi, a very bright rat, who is also gifted with a very powerful sense of smell. This prevents him from enjoying the usual rat fare of, well, mainly garbage. Remi, who also knows how to read (this really is one talented rat!), learns about cooking from the book of the late, great, French Chef Gusteau. After escaping a shotgun swinging senior, as well as other dangers, Remi finds himself teaming up with a lowly, clean-up guy, Linguini (read by Lou Romano). With Remi’s talent and Linguini’s more acceptable kitchen presence, the two soon form a team that takes the Paris restaurant world by storm. Linguini finds love, while Remi finds a perfect soup, but there are complications aplenty, including the evil Head Chef, Skinner (well read by Ian Holm), who has an interest in seeing the young boy fail. Peter O’Toole, as well, does a great job reading the small, but important part of the feared restaurant critic, Anton Ego. The story, which takes a little time to get rolling, is quite warm and enjoyable, is capped off with, of course, a nice feel-good finish.
Well, if nothing else, this film could be used as a recruiting tool for culinary school, but that shouldn’t be necessary, since, besides glorifying the art of cooking, it should be enjoyed by all ages. I found issue with a very brief scene that showed a gun being used in anger in a domestic setting (besides our Shotgun Sally senior mentioned above). I found this scene to be completely out of place and inappropriate. I don’t understand why it was included. Ratatouille also has few less giggles than I hope to see in a feature of this type, but does serve up a very heart-warming story with a tiny, side dish scene about critics (like me), who create nothing and only attack those who do create. On behalf of critics everywhere, I take issue with this completely unfair assessment of the critic’s place in society! Let me just make a few points in our defense. First of all, I’d like to say….ummm…well; I guess I don’t have any points to raise. It’s pretty much true.