Movie Review: ‘Ratatouille’

Jul 05, 2007, Epoch Times

A treat for all of the senses

2007-7-6-ratfood

The latest offering from Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios combines just the right ingredients to leave audiences feeling satisfied.

Ratatouille is the story of Remy—a congenial rat with a heightened appreciation for fine cuisine and an enlightened vision of a better existence. His passion for cooking challenges both the conventions of his fellow rats who scavenge their meals and those of humans who display a clear distaste for rodents. When fate carries him from a home in the French countryside to the exclusive, Parisian restaurant of his idol, Chef Gusteau, Remy is forced to make some challenging life decisions.

Much like the dish, Ratatouille , the film is a layering of many elements that work in harmony: the animation—exquisite; the Parisian setting—ideal; the casting—brilliant; the story—a gem; and the main theme—universal.

The characters in Ratatouille are delightful. Remy, played by Patton Oswalt, has a gift and a dream to someday be able to use his talent of combining ingredients to create culinary wonders. After all, as Gusteau remarks, “Anyone can cook.” Gusteau is played splendidly by Brad Garrett, and acts as a mentor to young Remy.

Remy’s father, Django (Brian Dennehy), embodies the voice of the pragmatist and wishes his son were more in touch with reality. Remy finds a way to pursue his passion, however, when he embarks on an unlikely partnership with the restaurant’s garbage boy turned cook, Linguini (Lou Romano). It becomes Remy’s job to help Linguini impress the self-important food critic, Anton Ego, who is portrayed expertly by Peter O’Toole. The fate of the restaurant rests in Ego’s review.

In watching Ratatouille , there were times when I needed to remind myself this is an animated picture. From the glow of the City of Lights to the gleam of the pots and pans in the kitchen—this art form has clearly reached new heights. Although, the realistic scenes that featured scurrying rats did leave me feeling a tad squeamish.

There are a couple of things that could have been done better in Ratatouille. While it is made to seem totally conceivable that a rat can cook, the way in which Remy directs Linguini to cook does not come across as believable. This is a real flaw in the film.

Also, there is a very brief, but highly inappropriate innuendo between Linguini and Colette, Linguini’s love interest. This is unnecessary and older kids will pick up on it.

Looking past a bit of overzealous poetic license and a touch of poor judgment, Ratatouille is poised to become a classic. The story centers on the universal struggle of one who is inspired to create and driven to affect change—who must contend with preconceived notions and societal conventions—and find the strength within to walk the right path. The theme speaks both to those who hold onto their rigid ideas and those who have found inspiration.

I recommend Ratatouille , which is rated PG, to anyone over the age of, say, 8. Make sure you arrive at your theater in time to see the animated short, Lifted—a tasty appetizer before the main course.

4 out of 5 stars

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