June 30th, 2007 by Maxim · 2 Comments · 18,009 Views
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We saw it either on the opening night or the night after. Lines were big and the theater was packed. Of course, a lot of people with small kids. As always with Pixar movies, they showed a short animation before the main feature, and it was very funny – kids as young as 4 years old were cracking up. Probably the funniest Pixar short I’ve seen so far. Then the main feature began.
It’s a story about a rat, Remy, who lives in a French countryside with his family/clan. His family is a rather disgusting pack of rats, with no ambitions and no taste buds. All they do is any steel food they can find, almost just for the sake of steeling, because they clearly don’t enjoy the food. But Remy is different. Gifted with acute sense of smell, he dreams of becoming a chef – just like his TV and book hero, a Parisian chef Auguste Gusteau. Yes, Remy may be the only rat in the world that can read, watch TV and he even walks upright on two feet – like a human – to keep his arms clean so the food he touches does not get tainted. Unfortunately, shocked by the bad review, Gusteau dies. But he doesn’t die forever: he keeps reappearing in Remy’s imagination as a bubbly ghost and gives him life advise.
His love for great food and cooking gets him in trouble: Remy and his brother went to a human’s house to burgle spices, but they are discovered by the owner of the house. She calls the exterminator and now the clan has to flee. Remy gets separated from the family and by pure chance ends up in the suers right underneath Gusteau’s restaurant. Again, by pure chance, he makes a new friend: a garbage boy Linguini, whom Gusteau hired just before his death.
Meanwhile, Gusteau’s restaurant falls into the hands of the new owner/chef, former sous-chef, Skinner. He plans to use Gusteau’s image to market his microwavable products. Skinner has his reasons to get rid of Linguini. Well, more like a million reasons. When he discovers that his garbage boy has been cooking, he is furious. But to his surprise, Linguini’s soup was admired by a food critic, and is convinced by another chef who works at the restaurant, Colette, to keep Linguini employed – at least as long as he can cook “his” soup.
The next day Remy discovers that he can control Linguini’s hands by pulling his hair. Together they work out a system of signals that would allow Remy cook by manipulating Linguini as a puppet. Linguini becomes a rising star on the culinary world. Soon, however, their friendship is in perils because Linguini doesn’t give enough credit to Remy. Linguini’s egoism and betrayal may cost Remy his life.
That’s as much as I am going to disclose about the plot because everything described so far has been in the teaser trailers, and I am about to cross into the territory of spoilers. The plot is great and engaging, but then there are also 3 or 4 sub-plots.
I just want to say that animation is state-of-the-art, the story is great and moving and funny, and everyone, even kids as small as 4 years old loved the movies, understood all jokes, and behaved very well in the theater. Voice acting was right on. A real “feel-good” movie. Again, funny, and often in unexpected places. Very engaging story. I mean, if 50 or so 4-year-olds in the theater not only behaved, but laughed so hard the theater was filled with joy and laughter, you cannot wish for a better movie-going experience. We’ve seen too many 3D penguins, donkeys, Pinocchios and giraffes recently, but as animation quality improves, the stories tend to get worse and animators are running out of ideas and just make as watch rip-offs. The great story – that’s what makes Ratatouille stand out. I challenge anyone to prove that this is not the best animated story this year!
I think I detect Disney’s influence on this movie: Colette had many features of Disney’s princesses like Little Mermaid and Snow-White; Skinner looked very much like Jaffar from Aladdin cartoons.
I liked the moral of the story (or of the morals): “Not everyone can become a great artist. But a great artist can come from anywhere”. Though most of the “morals” are adult-oriented, there were many for kids too. Listen to Mr. Ego’s narrative at the end.
An Oscar-worthy picture! Go see it while it’s still in theatres!
- Linguini and Remy in the kitchen
- Ego, the obnoxious food critic for “The Grim Eater” (voiced by Peter O’Toole)
- Remy and Linguini come up with a way to cook together
- Remy. Can rat be any cuter then this?
- Oh, Colette!..
** 80th Academy Awards Update (Feb 24, 2008) **
Ratatouille has won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of 2007 for Brad Bird.
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Animation | Linguini | movie review | pixar | rat chef | ratatouille | Ratatouille review | Remy