If you ever doubt the magic
of Pixar, you have to go no farther than Ratatouille, where the
animators take arguably one of the dirtiest, most vilified animals in the
world, the rat, and make him an adorable and lovable animated screen
Remy the rat is the latest
of Pixar's quirky heroes who is misunderstood and in search of a dream.
Remy lives with his pack in the French countryside, and despite the fact
that he is from a race of scavengers, he has the heart of a gourmet.
He has an unnaturally sharp palate, sense of smell and taste. He has
always longed to visit Paris, never realizing he was relatively nearby.
When he becomes lost in a
sewer and separated from his family, he is rather shocked to find himself
eventually arriving at the left bank of the Seine. He naturally
gravitates to the restaurant of a recently deceased chef who he had idolized.
The Chef starts appearing to the rat (is he a ghost or just a dream?) and
using Remy as an extreme example of his most cherished belief -- anyone can
Once there, Remy is
horrified to find that the chef who has taken over the restaurant is trying
to market the late Chef's name on everything from burritos to waffles.
However, he meets a busboy named Linguine, who dreams of being a fine chef
but does not have the skill. Together they team up to resurrect the
restaurant's reputation as a highest quality bistro -- though of course the
idea of a rat in the kitchen is forbidden. Then Remy starts feeling
left out when Linguine becomes taken with a beautiful sous chef.
The artwork of
Ratatouille is staggering. The food looks sumptuous and the shots of Paris are to
die for. Ratatouille is definitely the best-looking Pixar film
yet, though I still can't get over their inability to make humans look
at all realistic. At least here they make efforts to give the human characters cartoonish attributes, so that most of them are not distracting.
The adult themes and
subjects (love, culinary delights, vermin?) of this film may not stoke small
children as much as... say... cars or toys. Still, Ratatouille is a
charming flight of fantasy and one of the finest Pixar films to date.
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Posted: July 9, 2007.