Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ratatouille


Ratatouille; CGI animated comedy, USA, 2007; D: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, V: Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Janeane Garofalo, Peter Sohn, Brad Gerrett, Ian Holm, Brian Dennehy, Peter O'Toole

Remy is a rat who likes exploring different kind of food, even though his brother Emile and his father don't understand him. After reading the famous chef Gusteau's book "Everyone Can Cook", Remy decides to become a cook himself, but when their rat nest in the house gets discovered by the owner, an old lady, the rats flee and separate in the sewer. Remy lands in Paris and tries cooking in Gusteau's restaurant where he is discovered by the young cook Linguini. By pulling his hair strings, Remy teaches Linguini how to cook, which gets him the appreciation by his female colleague Colette. After Linguini finds out he is Gusteau's lost son, he becomes the restaurant's new owner, entering into an argument with Remy. Still, Remy helps him cook a delicious ratatouille for the notorious restoraunt critic and later on they open their own bistro after Gusteau's get shut down due to rats.

"Ratatouille" is a surprisingly fresh and enjoyable CGI comedy that tackles a rarely touched film theme and makes it interesting - cooking. It's a welcomed adjustment that Pixar for once took something different instead of their usual "creatures from a different world save a kidnapped character" - even though there's a small subplot even here - and calmed down their usual overkill sugary touch. Actually, "Ratatouille" suffers from many other Pixar flaws: it's a kids film, naive and has "in your face" moments that are just there to keep the viewer's attention, but in the end it's simply somehow excellent, a great little tale about an outsider trying to achieve his goal, in this case a rat, Remy, trying to become a cook. The story is filled with many great ideas, from the scene where they visualised how taste looks like when Remy bites a part of cheese, then a strawberry and then both while in the black background pink and green lines show up and mix like a firework, up to the notorious restaurant critic called - Anton Ego. It's not laugh out loud funny, but its gags are consistent and wonderful, and even though it's slightly overlong its rhythm is amazing, while the story also nicely twists the old cliche about a "hero who wants to do everything right, but accidentally does everything wrong" and turns it into a "hero who wants to do everything right and accidentally does everything even better". One must also note the excellent character of feisty Colette, the only female cook in the all male restaurant staff, that was portrayed with small little details, like when she drives a motorcycle or simply moves the table on wheels with her leg to show Linguini how things are done in the kitchen: she is voiced incredibly lively by Janeane Garofalo. "Ratatouille" is a very pleasant experience and not even such snobbish critics like Anton Ego would say that it's not enjoyable.

Grade:+++

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