Remy isn’t your normal run of the mill rat. He’s a connoisseur of fine food. Whilst his family and friends are rooting around in the garbage for, well, garbage, Remy is putting his life – and that of his entire community – at risk to cook up a fine culinary experience in the kitchen of a rat hating old lady, whilst she sleeps.
Of course disaster strikes and the rats are forced to flee and find a new abode, but Remy gets lost along the way and finds himself being guided by the talking apparition of his TV Chef hero. Remy finally find himself residing in the walls of that very chef’s kitchen – what joy Remy basks in when he discovers, but a joy soon to turn to despair when he realises that his hero is dead.
Non-the –less fate has something grand in mind for Remy and a down on his luck garbage boy Linguini strike an unlikely partnership where Remy teaches Linguini how to cook. It’s a match made in heaven on a course for diaster, but this is a cartoon, and it’s meant to be full of joyous fun, and it is.
To be honest when I first heard about Ratatouille, I was sceptical. It sounded like Pixar were doing nothing more that taking a traditional Disney style concept and giving it the 3d CG overhaul. Of course I was proven so very wrong (as I was when I doubted that Nemo would work) as Pixar have once again pull an imaginative, wondrous adventure out of an ordinary concept.
So what makes Ratatouille so good? For starters it’s got an appeal that transcends age; the story line is simple and fun enough that the kids are going to love it, but have enough depth and seriousness that adults are going to find plenty to think about.
It’s character driven, with a light but compelling storyline that makes it easy to fall in love with the main characters and hate the bad people, whilst at the same time having compassion on the misguided food critic.
It’s interesting to note that this is the second film I’ve seen of recent years where there has been comment on the unhealthy role of negative critics woven into the movie. Whilst in Ratatouille it is a food critic that is taken to task, as a film reviewer it doesn’t go unnoticed that the comments are as valid to us as they are to the fictional food critic.
The animation is nothing short of incredible – though to be honest I did see it on a digital projector in all its crisp glory – Pixar seem to be able to raise the bar one or two notches with every movie they release. Though the locations are limited, they are so lovingly crafted that it is easy from time to time to forget that you’re watching an animated cartoon and get swept away in the reality of it all.
It is however the ending that is Ratatouille’s real achievement. End a movie well, and you can be forgiven for everything else you did wrong (not that Ratatouille has anything to be forgiven for), but end a movie badly and it doesn’t matter how good the movie was, everyone goes away disappointed. With Ratatouille, Pixar and director Brad Bird pull off a convincing, realistic and heart warming ending that elevates Ratatouille to a must see, animation masterpiece, and easily one of Pixar’s finest films.
Food for thought
Negative criticism cuts like a knife, but a kind word can heal the soul.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Duration: 110 mins.
Genre: Animated, Comedy.
Cast: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Brad Garret, Janeane Garafaolo, Peter O’Toole.
Director: Brad Bird.
Release Date: Out Now.