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Ratatouille

A 2007 Disney / Pixar animated co-production directed by Brad Bird.

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Welcome 'Offense of the New' While Invoking the Old

  • Jan 19, 2011
Rating:
+5
All great recipes, whether the provincial peasant dish ratatouille (a vegetable stew), or the greatest and newest dish by Charlie Trotter, draw from the ordinary. Such is the romance of eating. It is the combining of the known to create something previously unknown. Salt, tomatoes, sugar, butter are not unusual, but, in the hands of a master chef, they are ingredients for art.

Such is the movie Ratatouille. Its history is the simple, oft-told childhood tale of the elves and the shoemaker. A shoemaker is down on his luck, with one piece of leather left, and, to his great delight, a fine pair of shoes are miraculously made with that leather when he awakes. Can he make those shoes again? Who was the mysterious maker of these fantastic shoes?

Ratatouille takes us to a similar difficulty: Linguini, a hapless mid-20s guy who has failed at every job. At the great Gusteau's Restaurant, he becomes a garbage boy. He causes an accident with a pot of soup, and, in trying to fix the problem, makes the soup offensive to even the most plebeian of taste buds. Remy, a rat with culinary sensitivities, secretly adds the ingredients necessary to save the soup.

Instead of being fired, Linguini is promoted to cook. Without Remy's help, he cannot cook. With Remy's help, he shows, as the late Chef Gusteau claimed, anyone can cook. Even the garbage boy.

Remy's story, though, is the tension between his passion for cooking, and his large family. They are satisfied eating garbage, living on the run, and avoiding kitchens, as that's where the greatest dangers prevails. Reminiscent of Richard Bach's fable "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," Remy wants more than to be what rats have always been. He wants to taste, to smell, to combine two flavors into a new ecstatic sensation. Torn between these two loves, he tries to balance their expectations with his dreams.

As Remy's influence through Linguini in the kitchen grows, so does the renewal of Gusteau's Restaurant. It had fallen into the hands of Skinner, the ambitious and evil sous chef, when Gusteau passed away, and he was making it into a tourist locale, and branding frozen burritos with Gusteau's imprimatur. Now, Linguini as the new Gusteau, its reputation was flourishing.

Anton Ego, a food critic who despises Gusteau's, is forced to reconsider the restaurant after he thought he had written its death knell years back. With fearful awe, his declaration to return to Gusteau's causes trembling among the cooks and staff.

Can Ego's pretentious palate be satiated?

Will the conflict with Linguini and Colette, his lover and cook, force bad decisions in the kitchen?

Can a restaurant survive if people learn a rat has been running the show?

In all, Ratatouille's a remarkable movie that relies on storytelling, not on celebrity voicings, special effects, pop-culture references or cheap humor. It tells an old story a new way, bringing a fresh flavor into a familiar meal, and is soon to be a staple in family DVD collections. See in the theater, and enjoy the magnificent animation on a large screen while you can.

--Brockeim

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January 19, 2011
This is my favorite Pixar film ever (slightly edging out The Incredibles) This film was so tasty with fun and had a great moral message I loved it! Oh, I also like french women with food LOL! Thanks for the review!
January 19, 2011
Thanks, Woopak. I think it has the legs to become a classic favorite, unlike Cars, Ants and all of those. While there are talking rats, it is not gimmicky or relying on star power or a hit tune. Incredibles is up there, I agree. I could watch a sequel of that. I might not give it a first or second favorite, but it was a lot of big-screen, loud-theater fun. I saw it with a room full of laughing, cheering kids.
 
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More Ratatouille reviews
review by . February 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Perhaps Pixar's Finest Work To Date
   I might as well come right out with it:  Any attempts to discount Pixar’s absolute mastery of the craft of computer animated features are absolutely futile from this critic from this moment forward.  Until now I’ve been pretty consistent in giving their ballyhooed works 4-star ratings due to the sheer cleverness of their plots and the attention to detail of their visual prowess (sometimes even tainted in protest by Disney’s habit of over-promoting) but 2007’s …
Quick Tip by . March 24, 2011
Caption
Re-watched this when I got the bluray. Never fails to engage me once I get into the film's first act. I have a weakness for food, cooking and I have to admit I just love the message in this film. Truly engaging, funny, sometimes quirky but it is an animated film with a heart.      Still my favorite Pixar movie to date! (even edging out THE INCREDIBLES)
review by . March 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I had a favorite animated movie that had to take the back seat after I saw Ratatouille. I can't wait for my daughter to be old enough to watch it and understand it, along with all the puns and humor. I've watched it several times with different audiences and everyone loves it - so it is a must have in our family library.     I studied French all through middle and high school, so this was quite relevant. I have never really had encounters with French people and I've never been …
review by . September 08, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
RATATOUILLE is a Pixar picture. That's all that one needs to know. However, if you want some details about the film and some other (though highly unnecessary) reasons to watch the movie, keep reading.    RATATOUILLE is a story about a French country bumpkin, named Remy (Patton Oswalt) who discovers that he not only has a nose and taste for fine food, but that he can cook great meals as well. The only problem is that Remy is a rat. Most people don't even like rats and since they …
About the reviewer
Brockeim ()
Ranked #174
Writer. Amazon reviewer. Humorist & poet. Friend of coffee & romance. Teller of tales, weaver of whimsy. Playful literary adventurer. Contact me so I can review your stuff. http://brockeim.com   … more
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About this movie

Wiki

With astounding animation, inspirational messages, and endearing characters, Pixar Animation Studios (THE INCREDIBLES, CARS) and Walt Disney Pictures have whipped up something special with RATATOUILLE. A rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) lives in Paris with a dream (and the talent) to be a chef. Opting to raid the kitchens of Paris rather than the garbage cans and sewers of the city with his family, Remy is inspired by the philosophy of one of the city?s most legendary chefs, the late Gusteau (Brad Garrett). One night, Remy can?t resist practicing his skill in Gusteau?s restaurant. While his guard is down, Remy is discovered by a klutzy young man, Linguini (Lou Romano), who cleans the kitchen. Together Remi and Linguini become a culinary duo, with Remy playing puppeteer by concealing himself under Linguini?s chef?s hat. Remy pulls Linguini's hair to direct his hands, helping to bring Remy?s creations to life. Soon Gusteau?s restaurant becomes the talk of the town--but would it still be the toast of Paris if...

One key point: if you can get over the natural gag reflex of seeing hundreds of rodents swarming over a restaurant kitchen, you will be free to enjoy the glory ofRatatouille, a delectable Pixar hit. Our hero is Remy, a French rat (voiced by Patton Oswalt) with a cultivated palate, who rises from his humble beginnings to become head chef at a Paris restaurant. How this happens is the stuff of Pixar magic, that ineffable blend of headlong comedy, seamless technology, ...
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Details

Director: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Release Date: 29 June 2007 (USA)
MPAA Rating: G
Screen Writer: Brad Bird, Jim Capobianco
DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
Runtime: 111 min
Studio: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios
First to Review
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