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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
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 . May 05, 2009
  Going into this movie as a culinary student, I had my reservations, bu Ratatouille really comes through as a great family flick as well as a tad educational. Obviously the headline of this film as that anybody can be a cook and to the point that this film wanted to get across, it's true. Anyone can follow a recipe, even a...rat. Despite the fact that this is something that can never happen in reality, it was fun to watch the interactions between Remy (the rat) and Linguini (the not so …
review by . December 18, 2008
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pixar movies, but this has to take the cake as my absolute, all time favorite.     The movie is about a rat named Remy who strays away from his family and tries to make his name by helping a young boy named Linguini to make phenomenal dishes at a restaurant where he is currently a janitor.  One day when Remy accidently makes a great dish that's raved about by critics, the chefs at the restaurant force Linguini to recreate the dish.  Remy hides under …
review by . November 16, 2008
A rat resided in a colony   His keen sense of smell was an anomaly   But there were cooking channels on French TV   He learned to cook from a recipe   And he was cooking before he knew it, and as he grew   He said, "I'm not gonna be like you, Dad,   "I'm just not gonna be like you."     And the rat's in the kitchen with the cooking spoon   Chef Gusteau by the light of the moon   When you comin' home, …
review by . December 20, 2008
I really enjoyed watching Ratatouille. Oh, and if you've never had the actual dish, you're missing out! But back to the movie. I've seen this with people younger than me, my peers, and even adults, and it seems to please every age group.    I won't go into the details of the plot, but instead, I'll just say what I got out of it. In my opinion, the film insists that everyone should be given a chance, no matter who they are or what they look like. In this case, the most unlikely …
review by . July 10, 2008
Many, many companies have created movies that focused on relationships between animals, people, and inanimate objects as key plot lines. Most of these movies come up short as the interactions between humans and non-humans often seem forced or fake; examples include "All Dogs go to Heaven", "Howard the Duck", "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Cool World". But Pixar has mastered this art, with classics such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and now Ratatouille. Released in 2007, this movie is by far the best …
review by . May 03, 2008
I was so disappointed by this movie. All the hype and talk and ...nothing. The animation was absolutely excellent, really outstanding. The story was rather slow and had way to many "messages". The "don't steal" message had me rolling my eyes every single of the 10000 times it was mentioned. It was an obvious way to build up to the climax of the story. And really, G rated? There is a woman, with a gun, wrestling with a man for said gun and then they make up; the kissing scene - you can see their …
review by . January 27, 2008
This is a wonderful ugly duckling/cyrano de bergerac fable about a talented chef who happens to be a rat. You might think that this would be an insurmountable handicap in the chef-business, but I can assure you that true ratliness would be a step up for a few in the profession. Anyway, the ratchef, Remy survives a series of threats to his life and comes to pursue the career for which he has such aptitude.  The animation is wonderful, someone obviously paid a lot of attention to how things …
review by . December 13, 2007
After reading the reviews, I ordered this and it came before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving afternoon, after the kitchen was clear and the only murmors were groans, I put this on in the living room for a group of people who ranged from 8 to 80.    We were marvelously entertained. If you like to eat, or you like to cook, you will enjoy this movie. It is very easy to forget this is an animated movie, because the characters are so full, and the interaction is believable.    It …
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Brockeim ()
Ranked #378
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
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