The technically, thematically, and emotionally accomplished Ratatouille is a gourmet treat. With such taste for hearty aesthetics, it has all the ingredients of a masterpiece. As it goes beyond the pre-conceived boundaries explored by its story, this film leaves you with that feeling of wanting to see it again as soon as it’s over.
Other Movie Reviews from 2010 Archive:
Animation, Children, Family, and Teen Films
Ratatouille is a lovingly crafted film sprinkled with visual marvel and flavored with a sophisticated French setting that is completely hearty, tasty, and touching. It seems genuinely created from fresh ingredients and cooked up with unexpected seasonings and layered with complex flavors that leaves a miraculously sweet after taste.
Ratatouille has a generous serving of an inventive story, clever and witty script, enchanting colors, deeply realized animation, glorious music, fast pacing, touching moments, and lots of delicious food. It is an irresistible feast of comedy, imagination, intelligence, and heart. While hitting the innermost core of human emotions, it’s a wonderful recipe presented in a light and fun way while still keeping up with its serious undertones exposing the complexities of social realities – all without trying too hard. Audiences of all ages are offered a simple moral tale about pushing beyond the social boundaries to achieve success. The luxurious palette gives a culinary inspiration that goes beyond its physicality – it becomes a crème de la crème of modern animation that it makes people rethink of what animation and filmmaking can further accomplish in terms of visual splendor and touching the human heart. And the magic is definitely there.
Pixar’s master chef for this film, writer/director Brad Bird, blends all the right ingredients to craft such rich emotional characters and situations. He effectively stages his scenes without neglecting the essence of his very story. He keeps his film moving, tickling your imagination and your emotional palette with the right dose of aesthetics and heart-filled rhythm. Ratatouille is a classic example of an artistic creation weaved as a genuine piece of popular art that puts equal emphasis on the sumptuous audio-visual fare, cleverness, and characterization of the story.
Its workable slapstick timing revolving around an irresistibly inspiring tale maintains such a quality story with dazzling visualizations. Unlike most animated movies resorting to airhead animal jokes, gratuitous pop-culture references, cheap gags, lowbrow comedy, and nonsense scatological humor, this film pays good respect to the audience. Bird brings a vividly conceived and well-realized film as a savory main course offered on the dining table.
Again, after all these years, the animation and story wizards of Pixar continue to win you over with its superior visuals and sophisticated storytelling. The photorealistic treatment of the visuals is layered with rich and fluid and luxurious details, atmosphere, and dimension. The mind-blowing technical achievement presents visual set pieces that even exceed the imaginativeness of other live action dramatic fares.
The colorful backgrounds feel like deep-focus camera shots. The textures of the kitchen utensils, cobblestone streets, running water, interior and exterior lights, are almost palpable. The sights and sounds of Paris are deemed the way it is in actuality. No motion capture done in the film, yet the characters provide such very human-like movements and facial expressions.
The animation ably conveys the chaos of the kitchen, the fine art of cooking, and the sensual allure of offering a fine dining experience to the people. And you can see how effectively bewitching it is that you merely yield to the sight, smell, and taste of what is being shown on the big screen. Add up the musical score that perfectly compliments the delicious meal, and you are left spellbound. Indeed, Ratatouille is mainstream animation at its best.
The storyline keeps you engaged the entire time. Fun moments abound even in unexpected places. At the forefront, the fresh, fun, original, and wonderful Ratatouille is a story about following your heart and fulfilling your dreams. At its core, it is a story about the artist’s struggle in the creation of art – the artist feeling that creative impulse and the urge to follow it in the face of what others might say against it. With its intricate story and smart dialogues, the film becomes a genuine ode to culinary arts, artistic inspiration, egalitarianism, camaraderie, friendship, family, and the city of Paris. It is an inspiration to creativity and good taste that any person, whether an artist or from any another profession, can relate. It doesn’t resort to any lame cooking metaphors nor the predictability of the usual mainstream concoction.
While others filmmakers are getting obsessed with making backgrounds appear real, Pixar balances its filmmaking endeavors by also prioritizing the vital considerations in making the characters real. For Pixar animated films, it’s not just the computer animation that is vibrantly three-dimensional, so goes with the well-rounded characters. The characters feel handcrafted. And just like with Ratatouille, it’s a character-driven story that lets both the humor and drama flow naturally. With the rodent hero Remy, he may not be as cute as the renowned Disney or Loony Tunes classic characters, but this little chef grows on you while you join him in his journey around Paris.
There are many touching moments that keep you holding on to the story. And the voice performers are excellent in living up to their characters. The build up of the characters is wonderfully crafted as well. The characterization is truly commendable. The unlikely hero Remy is so audacious you get to fall in love with his character. And just like Remy, Linguini delivers a great physical performance from a CG character.
Personally, the scene in which the snobby critic Anton Ego tries Remy’s ratatouille is the most emotional moment of the film.
What makes up the ultimate magic of this film is its power to create a charming opus while not disconnecting to the audience’s realistic notion on its rodent characters. There are noxious images of rats scampering around a kitchen the way you get to possibly see it in reality, and yet you feel good. You see the little rats and big utensils with such a charming pulse that is gratifyingly human. You see the real story amidst the sheer ick factor being laid on the table and you feel so attached to the rat main character still. Amidst the icky factor being shown the way it is in reality, this funny and lovable tale of a rat who cooks is truly a grand achievement.
Pixar’s kitchen is filled with the right utensils that enliven the technical energy meant to serve up something of exceptional quality. Pixar’s dining area is crafted with a uniquely satisfying ambience. Pixar’s cuisines are all specialties sustaining the magical level of storytelling. The secret recipe is not actually a secret, it’s just not acknowledged by others who are too close-minded and stay with the rather boxed formula. Indeed, as how Pixar has made it all these years, the magic of sincere human stories and genuine characters won’t fail you. And this is what sets Pixar apart from other animation studios. It makes its own mark of uniqueness. It has a heart that beats in every story it comes up with. It even gives way for short films to flourish in the eyes of the many audiences of feature films. And with Ratatouille, it definitely joins the ranks of such 3D animation classics, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles.
Ratatouille has the warm glow after coming out of the oven for a magnificent feast. It immortalizes the beauty and romance of Paris, the value of family, and the wonders of good food in a soulfully animated form. It doesn’t just capture the culinary heart of Paris, but also the heart of the audience through one adorable little rat chef. The film is brilliant in every conceivable way. And it is one of the most magical and enjoyable movie experiences you’ll have inside the theater.