Remy the rat is blessed – and cursed – with a refined palatte in the latest from Pixar Animation ('Toy Story', 'Finding Nemo'). Not content to eat garbage with his fellow rodents, he sneaks into the best restaurants each night for un petit degustation.... More
Misunderstood by his father and his peers, Remy is further thwarted in his life's ambition: to become a master chef in his own right.
This is from Brad Bird, the best director of animation, responsible for the excellent 'The Incredibles' and 'The Iron Giant'.Hide
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BY Flicks Writer
It’s a remarkable accomplishment that Ratatouille has turned out to be not just one of the year’s best animated achievements, but also one of its best films. While it doesn’t have the bombastic ear-drum-popping action that filled director Brad Bird’s The Incredibles, Ratatouille has plenty of charm and an intelligent story to boot. An equally impressive climax makes the film a satisfying accomplishment, and a must-see of 2007.
The story is about a young rat, Remy, who finds himself in the kitchen of a Parisian restaurant. His unusual passion for food brings him into contact with the hapless kitchen-hand Linguini, and together they form a secret partnership. Linguini gets credited with Remy’s amazing culinary skills but the situation becomes complicated when Remy comes to comprehend the world’s disgust for rats.
Ratatouille – the title being a pun on the dish for French peasants – displays a passion for fine cuisine (The animation team worked alongside renowned chef Thomas Keller at his restaurant French Laundry in order to learn the art of cooking). But more importantly, it displays a celebration of craftsmanship and artistry. Towards the end of the film comes a speech about the nature of criticism and its unfortunate tendency to attack the artistic efforts of others too easily. A genuinely moving conclusion encourages a need to create.
It’s a mature theme which is woven into a compelling story. The well-structured screenplay is pleasingly unpredictable, never childish, and always convincing. The direction is original, fresh, and is another feather in the cap for Brad Bird, arguably one of Hollywood’s best directors.
The action takes place in only four or five main locations, mainly in the kitchen, which creates an old-fashioned ‘real movie’ feel. The characters are equally vivid, brought to life by some excellent voice-acting. Peter O’Toole, in particular, shines as snooty food critic Anton Ego who looks like he wandered in out of a Tim Burton film.
Ratatouille has a strong story, exciting action scenes, great animation, a charming theme, and is genuinely moving. It is an animation masterpiece that deserves to be savoured.
The Peoples' Reviews
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Brad Bird can do no wrong! First the Incredibles, and now Ratatouille has proven that he has consistently brought great scripts and flawless direction to the best animation studio in the world! Hopefully Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo)'s film WALL-E (2008) will continue this trend of Pixar awesomeness.
My lovely girlfriend and I just saw this. I had a stupid grin on my face for much of the movie and enjoyed every minute immensely. There were no slow sections and the last quarter (and conclusion of the movie) was unexpected and probably the highlight of the whole picture.
A quick review is a good one. Suffice to say, 5 stars and well worth a trip to Sylvia Park's big screen. See it at the movies to get the full effect.
Yet at the end of Ratatouille I was just a little disappointed. Sure, the story was creative; the kitchens were gorgeously animated, down to the copper pots and devastatingly correct knives; as usual Pixar had fun playing with the film's environment, and it showed. Moreover, a reverence... More for cuisine was displayed which I had to appreciate! But something was lacking.
Maybe it was the voice work--adequate but not inspired, particularly Remy's rather slick, unpersonable monologues. Even Linguini came across as a rather flat, two-dimensional character. The situations were engaging, but I didn't find myself particularly rooting for any of the good guys. Not even a few delightfully inappropriate, Brad Birdian touches (Linguini getting drunk, for instance) could make the characters really likeable. The Pixar spark which made me adore Dory, Helen Parr and even Lightning McQueen was missing. It was sad!
Add to that a slightly-too-long story, a first act which dragged (the film doesn't really pick up until Remy gets to the restaurant) and a rather racist portrayal of the film's villain (a caricatured Frenchman, never mind that everyone in the film is supposed to be French), a very underwhelming musical score and the film falls flat.
It's a real shame, because many technical aspects of the film are great. There are some wonderful 'story' moments, some impeccable physical comedy and a few delightful plot twists. But on the whole, it seems Brad Bird took the Pixar mantra 'It's all about the story' too much to heart. The story's important, but we're not going to love it unless the CHARACTERS are vibrant and alive. Here's hoping he pops a copy of The Iron Giant in his DVD player one day and remembers where his greatness lies!Hide