Release Date: June 29th, 2007 by Walt Disney Pictures.
The Voices: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett.
Directed by Brad Bird.
BASIC PREMISE: In Paris, Remy (voice of Patton Oswalt), a rat that dreams of becoming a chef, helps to turn Linguini (voice of Lou Romano) from a restaurant garbage boy to a chef by giving him cooking instructions while under his hat.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Ratatouille is one of the smartest, refreshing and enchanting CGI films to come from Pixar Animation. The premise itself sounds initially ludicrous, but it manages to be believable, funny and warm. Remy, a rat, has a heightened sense of smell and develops a passion for cooking, mostly by watching The Cooking Channel in someone’s home and by reading—yes, reading—a cookbook by Auguste Gusteau, a famous chef who believes that anyone can cook. Soon enough, his family gets displaced and escapes down a river without them and he ends up in the city of Paris. He enters the kitchen of a fine French restaurant Gusteau’s, where a garbage boy, Linguini, notices him adding more ingredients to a soup, which becomes a hot menu item. Once they become unexpected friends and Remy agrees to instruct Linguini how to cook while under his new chef’s hat, the plot truly takes off. Writer/director Brad Bird includes a variety of memorable characters, such as a cranky food critic, Anton Ego (voice of Peter O’Toole), the head chef, Skinner (voice of Ian Holm), Remy’s brother, Emile (voice of Peter Sohn), and Collete (voice of Janeane Garofalo), the object of Linguini’s affection. The combination of slapstick comedy, action and drama works surprisingly well here, although, admittedly, young kids who enjoyed Finding Nemo might find themselves bored by some slow moments in drama. Fortunately, the brilliant CGI animation looks so astonishingly eye-popping with scrumptiously real-looking food that will give you an instant appetite for French cuisine. Even at a running time of 110 minutes, Ratatouille doesn’t have a single dull moment and feels so refreshing and exhilarating that it requires many repeat viewings.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The most important message is to following your dream in life no matter what obstacles you may encounter ahead. It’s quite moving how Remy and Linguini become good friends and inspire each other to discover and follow their true passions. In a way, Remy comes of age and must face the realities of the world on his own, but never forgetting his family. Also, Ego, the food critic, has some very wise words about the true meaning of criticism.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Smart, enchanting and thoroughly exhilarating. A new animated classic.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
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