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Ratatouille (2007)

February 2, 2010

9/10 Health Code Violations

Pixar, man. That gang sure knows a thing or two about making good movies.

Ratatouille is about a rat living in the French countryside with aspirations to be a chef at the once-famous Gusteau’s restaurant in Paris. After getting run out of the hills and separated from his family, the rat finds himself in Paris and develops an unlikely friendship with the garbage boy at Gusteau’s. The rat starts cooking hit meals, everyone thinks the garbage boy is behind it, so the two work together to keep their job and achieve their dreams.

Since coming to the realization this past year that Pixar movies aren’t just for kids and are actually freakin’ amazing with each new installment being just as great as the one before it, it was due time I got around to this one and stopped being such a biased twentysomething. It’s not quite as good as Up, but who am I kidding, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.

It’s written and directed by Brad Bird – the same guy behind The Incredibles, which is also an easy 9 out of 10 for a lot of the same reasons this is – and Brad Bird is a storyteller if there ever was one. Even though I’m not really sure how you actually direct an animated movie, let alone critique one, whatever, Bird’s got this game down pat and there’s not a thing I can knock him for in this regard. There’s something to be said for a movie that was made entirely on a computer yet has more heart and humanity embedded in it than most live-action movies you’re likely to come across.

Everything about this script from the way it had me laughing out loud like a total buffoon to the numerous lumps it jammed in my throat is nothing short of out of sight. The dialogue, the sight gags, even the character models are a total riot. Everyone in the story looks like a human caricature with all their unique features from towering fiveheads to Jabba the Hutt-esque jowls playing seamlessly into their personality types.

Man, I can’t remember the last time a movie had me laughing so hard and smiling so wide, just goes to show that good comic writing and timing is something that defies its medium. On top of it all, the characters are all incredibly well-written and fleshed out and you can’t help but gravitate towards them as soon as they enter the picture. They’re easy to connect to because whether they’re vermin or human, they’ve all got the same dilemmas and aspirations that we do. 

The voice acting is also great, and even though I’m not really sure how to critique voice acting either, the actors seemed to fit their roles quite nicely. Patton Oswalt, Janeane Garofalo, Brad Garrett, John Ratzenberger (FUN FACT: has a voice acting role in every Pixar movie), Will Arnett, Brian Dennehy and a fanastic job by Peter O’Toole as the evil food critic, Anton Ego, it’s a knock-out cast and it’s always nice to see actors get so lost in their roles like this.

And the animation absolutely gorgeous. No surprise there. 

Good lord, I realize how positive this review is and that I’m beating you guys over the head with it at this point, but Ratatouille is just a wonderful movie that made my weekend. Even gave it a little round of applause when it was all said and done. It’s completely entertaining for all ages, it has some really insightful and subtle things to say about things that are innate in all of us despite our inherent differences, and if you’re looking for a way to just feel good about yourself and what you’re capable of, look no further.

I could write more, but you get what I’m driving at. It’s not often I come across a movie that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone and everyone with a clean conscience, so trust me on this one, folks. It’s a good’n.

And isn’t just fun to say “ratatouille!” in a French accent? Good times.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 1:21 am

    I’ll admit to not being won over by “Ratatouille” on first viewing. But I watched it a bunch when it came on Encore and Starz, and now I really love it. Definitely one of Pixar’s best (my vote went to “Up” in your poll).

  2. February 2, 2010 6:52 am

    a real forgotten Pixar movie in a way
    forgotten by me in that i havent seen it yet
    must remedy
    must vote in your poll. dammit, my favourite is never gonna win

  3. Moose permalink
    February 2, 2010 1:45 pm

    Finally saw Ratatouille last year, really good. Now the only Pixar movie I haven’t seen yet is Cars.

    And that’s fine, Ross. Mine won’t win either, but I’ve loved it ever since it came out.

    • February 2, 2010 2:03 pm

      Moose from Planet Moose, haven’t seen you on this thing in a while. Cars is good, not the best of the bunch, but still quality. What one’d you pick?

  4. Duffy permalink
    February 2, 2010 2:20 pm

    Up was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this morning (thought you’d like to know!) … Aiden I expect some special Oscar polls and reviews leading up to the show!

  5. Branden permalink
    February 2, 2010 3:34 pm

    Why do people fawning over every single Pixar release, except Cars? Their last great film was “Finding Nemo.”

    • February 2, 2010 4:02 pm

      Because they have no competition so everything that is merely above average looks like the second coming of Jesus.

      • February 2, 2010 7:53 pm

        Or it could be that they’re just good films.

      • February 2, 2010 8:09 pm

        I’m with you, Fitz.

      • February 2, 2010 10:04 pm

        I do have to see Ratatouille and Cars, I liked Up quite a lot and Wall-E was solid although I didn’t get the overblown hype.

  6. February 2, 2010 9:40 pm

    I absolutely thought Ratatouille was mediocre at best. Love your site… I’ll add to my blogroll. I just did a piece on Pixar, listing them in order by awesomeness. If you have time, check it out:

  7. February 3, 2010 5:47 pm

    Another absolutely delightful film from Pixar. I’d actually put this one up there with Pixar’s best (1. A Bug’s Life, 2. Finding Nemo, 3. Ratatouille). I loved it.

    • February 3, 2010 5:52 pm

      Good man. Haven’t seen A Bug’s Life in ages, looks like I need to give that one another go around.

  8. Branden permalink
    February 4, 2010 3:59 pm

    @ Castor – True their not another Pixar-like studio out there. Everybody is going Lady Gaga over every release. I don’t get it.

    @Fitz – I have to say that not every one of their films are masterpieces. Some have been better than others. I think that overshot the concepts to much that got on my nerves. I thought it WALL-E was the first thirty minutes. I would have been a masterpiece. Same thing with Up, if they didn’t have the fight pilot dogs. I would have liked it more.

  9. March 16, 2010 9:25 am

    I’m with Aiden and Fitz, while I don’t find them to be at the near perfect level of Studio Ghibli, Pixar is at an A+ level as far as I’m concerned. They have yet to come out with a movie that I didn’t love, and Wall-E is the best animated feature of all time.

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