Ratatouille

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Click for availability and more information Ratatouille

Although it's an animated film, anyone who hasn't seen this masterful work should and if possible bring along the kids. The eighth of the Pixar films, it tells the story of a rat (Remy) who has an uncanny sense of smell and a distaste for his family's lifestyle of stealing human garbage. This inclination leads him to learn to cook from watching Chef Gusteau (perhaps a friendly French version of Dom Delouise) on the television set of the house that his rat colony inhabits, a chef whose motto is "anyone can cook." When the colony is discovered and subsequently uprooted Remy is left behind and after floating down a river into the sewers, finds himself alone in Paris, led by chance to Gusteau's restaurant. He there meets Linguini, a hapless garbage boy working in the famous restaurant, and the two forge a bond and friendship that propels them into the fast-paced, high-pressure, often terrible world of haute cuisine. The movie is touching, amusing, insightful, and beautiful in a way that I've seldom seen in the world of animation. Where many animated films these days are geared towards young children and remain mired in the realm of trite unrealism, Ratatouille tells a great story with a good moral, is peopled by fairly realistic characters and carries a humor throughout it that is truly touching and lingers well after the film's end. It also delves into the relationship between the rat and his human friend, between son and father, and between the chef and the critic, and as Remy finds himself more and more attracted to the human world he finds that he must balance this attraction with his family's fear and loathing of the race that generally (especially in dining circles) despises and exterminates rodents. For anyone who has ever worked in the restaurant industry or just enjoys the fine dining experience, the film is a must-see. The animation is the best that Pixar has done yet, blending the hand-drawn with the computer-generated in the inimitable way that the studio has mastered. And for those who have ever yearned to go or return to Paris, Ratatouille also manages to beautifully recreate life along the Seine near the Ile de Paris, Notre-Dame, and Pont-Neuf. One of my favorites.
-Barbu

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on April 25, 2008 9:03 PM.

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