Ratatouille: A Comedy with Great Taste (2007)

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Animated, Comedy, Family

Remy always knew he was a little different and felt like he was made for great things. While his fellow rats were comfortable with just grabbing anything edible, Remy had a pallet for fine food. When fate steps in and sweeps him up through the sewers, Remy finds himself in Paris with a chance to observe the kitchen of his idol’s restaurant. Just after the famous Gusteau passed away, his friend’s son has arrived looking for a job. The head chef, Skinner, tosses Alfredo Linguini into a garbage boy position and continues on his way. When Remy spots Linguini knock over a soup and try to cover it up by mixing a random combination of ingredients, he jumps in to try to fix it and gets caught by Linguini. The soup is served and gets rave reviews. Though Skinner wants to fire Linguini, chef Colette sticks up for him and agrees to train him. Linguini decides to spare Remy and befriends him to start a new friendship over learning how to cook.

Starring: Patton Oswalt (Remy), Ian Holm (Skinner), Lou Romano (Alfredo Linguini), Peter Sohn (Emile), Janeane Garofalo (Colette), Brad Garrett (Auguste Gusteau), Peter O’Toole (Anton Ego), Will Arnett (Horst), Brian Dennehy (Django), James Remar (Larousse), John Ratzenberger (Mustafa), Julius Callahan (Lalo/Francois), Tony Fucile (Pompidou/Health Inspector)

The narration and the star of the film are voiced by Patton Oswalt. He gives the character that sense of being misunderstood through the way he interacts with the other characters. Holm animates Skinner in a way that makes him the most comical element of the film. The rest of the cast helps to create an ambiance of a stereotypical yet humorous french restaurant.

  

Having each worked on several of the Pixar films, Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava teamed up to tell this story of a rat that wanted to aim for something bigger than himself. His obsession over cuisine was something that always made Remy feel disconnected from his father and other rats. Landing at Gusteau’s was fate, as was watching Linguini messing up the soup. Though he may have fixed Linguini’s mistake, Skinner still saw a rat in his kitchen and wanted it gone. Linguini’s decision to keep Remy around was hesitant at first, but Remy quickly proved his cooking prowess. As Linguini continued to work with Colette and get better as a chef, Skinner became more and more suspicious of Linguini’s intentions and whether the rat was helping him succeed. When Linguini first arrived at Gusteau’s, he provided a letter to Skinner to support his hiring at the restaurant. He had no idea that the letter contained information about his relationship with Gusteau, which created a tension in Skinner to sabotage Linguini’s success and potential takeover.

  

The concept of a rat becoming a chef is something that only Pixar could do as well as it appeared on screen. The vibrant colors and the ambiance of Paris made for a magical presentation of another one of their compelling stories. As a comedy, the best elements were those involving Skinner and his obsession with either catching the rat or over the possible connection between Linguini and Gusteau. The film also features moments where Remy returns to his roots, mostly with his dopey and slightly disgusting brother Emile. As Remy gains success in the kitchen and word gets back to the other rats regarding his access to fresh food, the number of rats looking for handouts increases, including one truly jacked rat. Later in the film when the rats take over the kitchen, their creative assistance in their cooking procedures is quite creative to watch.

Ratatouille can easily be overlooked in comparison to the other Pixar films, and it represents the city of Paris beautifully (even though its characters may be a little stereotyped).

Dan’s Rating: 4.0/5

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