Ratatouille - another Pixar animation gem. My good friend Kari and I made a date for last night to catch up on life's goings ons and to also catch a flick. We met up at Buffalo Wild Wings, had some great conversation (mostly how we think life should go) and some really tasty buffalo wings (my fave is the honey bbq). After that, we mosey'd on over to the Vista Ridge Mall to catch Ratatouille. From the first trailer I saw for this one, I knew I wanted to see the full feature length film. Not only does the subject matter (a rat who cooks) pique my interest, the animation and style really captured my attention. http://imdb.com/title/tt0382932/
We barely made it in time to catch the short that comes before the movie. This short has received rave reviews and is almost more popular than the film itself. It was pretty amusing and gave you a good feeling for what lied ahead.
The movie iteself was one of the best animated films I have seen in a long while. Light-hearted, but with your standard feel-good-let's-try-and-learn-a-lesson-while-having-fun themes, it really touched on all the things that make a good animated flick good..or great. I couldn't place the voices (maybe it was the loose and somewhat goofy french accents), so figuring out the actors wasn't my biggest concern - this is a bonus and left me to just enjoy the voices as they went with the characters - instead of envisioning whoever the famous person was who leant their pipes to breathe life into a character. This made the images turn into people I had never met before, but soon grew to like. A simple, yet well thought out, story made for an entertaining and effortless trip into a famous (albeit somewhat on the downhill slide) kitchen in Paris named after a world reknowned chef, Gusteau. Gusteau's trademark phase "Anyone can cook" helped bring about some changes in the kitchen. A young man desperately in need of a job somehow gets hired as the garbage boy in this fast-paced and somewhat cut-throat environment, overlorded by a short and extremely power hungry head chef. After witnessing (in utter horror) a rat adding ingredients to a soup on the stove - which consequently gets served to a guest and receives high praise - the story takes on the whimsical task of showing how two very unlikely partners can create greatness. Overlooking someone's socially accepted place in the world and seeing them rather for who they are and what they can do is the underlying theme - hence "Anyone can cook". In the process of reviving the restaurant's good name and subsequently ousting the dictator-like head chef, Linguini (garbage boy turned chef) and Remy (the rat with the cooking skills) become friends and go on to face the greatest challenge a restaurant encounters (ok, outside of a rat infestation)....the critic who cannot be satisfied. Voiced by Peter O'Toole, Anton Ego - the chilly and somewhat morbidly frightening critic that can make or break a chef in Paris - singlehanded brought Gusteau's restaurant from 5 star chi-chi-ness to tourist trap drivel with one scathing review. In so doing, sadly, the review kills Gusteau. Viewers are led to believe he died from heartbreak. Upon hearing that Gusteau's namesake eatery is reviving it's once sparkling creativity and quality with a new chef (after some time serving up the same old recipes and barely hanging on with tourist business), Ego sets out to prove that he is the last word in what is greatness.
Romance on the side, swarms of rats and a frigid food snob whose soul is revived by the simplest "peasant food" - a tasty rendition of ratatouille...this movie really serves up something warm and inviting. Of course, the good guys win. Guy gets the girl. Rat gets to cook. Bitter old man finds happiness in the least likely of places. It's a win-win combo for an animated feature film. I would highly recommend this film to people who like to walk out of a movie feeling - and pardon the phrase - but jolly. If you want to grin from ear to ear (and animated rats in a kitchen don't freak you out too badly), go see this movie! If you enjoy cooking and the scent of different spices and food send signals to your brain that create rich, inviting images of culinary combinations, go see this movie.
Becky points: 6.5 out of 7
(by the way, I pulled up the IMDB.com information - hella good voice cast - check out the link at the top!!!)