Monday, 8 June 2015


“I don’t like food that’s too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I’d buy a painting.” - Andy Rooney

A DVD of the 2007 Pixar animated feature “Ratatouille” came into my hands the other day. I had heard positive things about this film but had not watched it until last weekend. It was directed by Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava, the latter having written the original story. Brad Garrett, Lou Romano, Patton Oswalt, Janeane Garofalo and Peter O’Toole provided voices for the animated characters.

Remy is a rat with a great nose and exquisitely sensitive taste buds. He finds that he also has a great talent for cooking and dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family’s wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When Remy is lost in the sewers of Paris, he finds himself fortuitously situated beneath the very same restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, head chef Auguste Gusteau. Remy enters the kitchen and meets young kitchen hand Linguini who has just started work there. Despite being an unlikely - and certainly unwanted - visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remy’s passion for cooking elevates Linguini to the status of a chef and sets in motion some amazing changes in the restaurant and the lives of all who work there.

The winning combination of Disney and Pixar has produced some amazing computer-generated animated films, including “A Bug’s Life”, “Toy Story”, “Monsters, Inc.”, “The Incredibles”, “Finding Nemo”. “Ratatouille” is quite stunning visually, surreal and realistic at the same time, and a joy to watch. The characters are poetic and engaging, and the rats are some of Disney-Pixar’s cutest. The film is definitely not a “children’s only” one, but one that would be enjoyed by the whole family with layers of jokes and meaning that differently aged viewers would each appreciate as appropriate. I would even venture to say that is primarily a film for adults that children can watch and enjoy also.

I have seen “A Bug’s Life”, “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” and consider “Ratatouille” to be superior to all of these. The animation is splendid, the story wonderful, the comedy well-paced, the voice characterisations apt and the message of the film well-stated. Not everyone can do anything, but if you have a special skill or talent, don’t be afraid to use it and stick with it, even in the most adverse of circumstances. There is also a wonderful sequence relating to the food critic Anton Ego (marvellously voiced by Peter O’Toole), full of poignancy and honesty. I enjoyed this film very much and recommend it most highly for a wonderful 111 minutes of good, wholesome, entertaining family viewing.

1 comment:

  1. This was an excellent film, enjoyed by everyone in our family. Great review!