Dave and Rachel's movie reviews.


Monday, November 18, 2013


Year: 2007
Running time: 111 minutes
Certificate: U
Language: English
Screenplay: Brad Bird
Directors: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
Starring (voices): Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Peter Sohn, Brian Dennehy

Remy admires Pixar's gorgeously crafted view.
There is no doubt that your average Pixar film is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and technically astounding, but if you think for a second that this is the reason for their phenomenal success as opposed to simply icing on the cake, then you are wrong. And a fool, to boot. Ratatouille is, of course, simply beautiful to look at, with, amongst other things, Paris being rendered with a warmth and vitality that most filmmakers could barely dream of. Like all Pixar films, however, the look takes second fiddle to story.

About a rat who has a talent for cooking and wants to become a chef, this is Pixar’s most autobiographical film to date. Remy (Patton Oswalt), the rat in question is Pixar, and the little rodent’s talent for taking initially surprising ingredients and turning them into something remarkable is the Pixar approach to storytelling and movie making. Moreover, the heart of this story is the idea that a true artist can really come from anywhere, with Remy fulfilling his dream from being a gutter-dwelling rat to world class chef paralleling Pixar’s journey from minor animation studio to one of the most successful animation studios in the world today.

Remy's clan is forced to move house and he finds himself separated, lost and alone in Paris. He manages to reach the famous Gusteau's restaurant, now a shadow of its former self since his death, and ends up at the mercy of Linguini (Lou Romano), who just can't bring himself to end the little rat's life. Partly because he's been tasked with re-creating a soup that Remy, inspired by master chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett), had made before being caught in the kitchen. The two team up and Linguini becomes the new star of Gusteau's, much to the annoyance of boss Skinner (Ian Holm).

Food for thought.
Linguini's nervous courtship of Colette (Janeane Garofalo) is sweet stuff, but it is Remy and Linguini who are at the centre of this story. When the merciless food critic responsible for the ruination of Gusteau's, Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole) returns to the restaurant see what all the fuss is about, Remy decides to hit him with a simple yet stunning ratatouille.

It is, like many Pixar films, difficult to imagine how they could have improved it, with the climax in particular being perfect – for all the dazzling action of the endings of Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and  The Incredibles, a scene of a man sitting at a table reacting to the food he is served is possibly the most emotionally affecting ending of any Pixar film. Just beautiful stuff.

Score: 9/10

A particular story conceit and a few other blips cause Ratatouille to fall short of greatness according to Bill, but Ian at Empire is right on the money about that conceit and the film as a whole.