Monday, January 21, 2008


Ratatouille (Brad Bird, 2007) [8]
I really don't have that much insightful to say about this other than it's hard to find anything wrong with this. Like all Pixar, it's a highly enjoyable story with a lot of clever moments and a heartwarming ending. What makes this a little more impressive for me is the visual flair that Bird gives the film. Granted, I haven't seen an animated film in a bit but there are some shot and sequences that look fantastic. Credit has to go to Bird for making decisions and having some sequences that are quite adventurous for an animated film. The story is pretty simple on the surface: Remy is a rat (voiced by Patton Oswalt) that becomes a gourmand and with the help of the bumbling Linguine, becomes a celebrated chef in a restaurant in Paris. It's all quite cute and creative in its execution, seeing that no one is truly mortified that a rat can cook. Digging a little bit below delves into the ideas of cooking and criticism. There's this idea permeating the film that anyone can cook and while Remy is certainly proof of that, the film is also a celebration of the elitist food snobs that populate the world of fine cuisine. Individual creativity and craft are traits to be celebrated in a cook and it's no coincidence that the mass market foodstuffs to make money that Skinner wants to paste Gusteau's name on is the true villain. The filmic villain, Anton Ego, is a critic, but he is a character that is necessary to the ideas of the film. He is meant on one hand to be seen as cruel and scary but even he is eventually won over with Remy and the idea that anyone can cook. It's also a fact that the food that Remy creates has the artistry and skill necessary to win Ego's approval. Where the film succeeds is saying that criticism is a necessary evil but also letting everyone accept that Remy could do theses things, even though he is a rat. If you've listened to Oswalt's bit on his latest album about how great food is cooked by crazy people, everything that is said in Ratatouille isn't a stretch. In fact, it's a great film about celebrating artistic creativity that wraps itself with a family friendly story

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