Monday, September 03, 2007


The only time I was grossed out was when the entire rat population from the sewers of Paris got in gear to help Remy cook his best for the emaciated food critic Anton Ego. Even the fact that they washed up before cooking didn't help. But that was the only time that I even thought that the idea that a rat would become a chef was ridiculous, which according to me is Ratatouille's greatest achievement.

Various reviews have suggested that this is fairly routine stuff for a studio like Pixar, and I agree to some extent. This is a rather simple but warm hearted tale of Remy, a wannabe chef whose primary handicap is that he isn't human. Inspired by the Munnabhai-Gandhi-like spirit of the jowly chef Gusteau, Remy pursues his dream. With some help and co-operation from the hapless Linguini, the garbage boy with no talent for cooking.

Story wise, this is nowhere in comparison to the originality of Monsters Inc. or the hilarity of Toy Story or even The Incredibles. But its a Pixar movie after all, and the quality of animation keeps getting better and better. The landscapes are just brilliant - both rural France where Remy first lives and the great French capital are brought to life in breathtaking detail and splendour. Remy, for some reason, is blue, but he is 100% rat down to every strand of fur and his cute little nose.

The humans are highly stylized as well, especially Skinner, Ego and Linguini - one look at them and you can sum up the kind of people they are. Linguini is tall and loose limbed with the kind of wide-eyed earnestness that stops just short of total vacancy. Chef Skinner, at about 2 and half feet, is all malice; his pencil thin moustache is as expressive as the sneer he sports. But deserve all applause for Anton Ego (voiced excellently by Peter O'Tootle), the severe food critic who cannot swallow if he doesn't like the food. He is coloured like he's always a minute ahead of being 6 feet under and so painfully thin that you wish that people would cook some good food so that the poor man wouldn't starve.

While Monsters Inc. cracked me up with just the ridiculousness of the premise, the humour in Ratatouille is more physical - Remy's ingenious way of controlling Linguini and as described earlier, the very characters themselves. Regular fare for people like me who have come to expect more from Pixar. The obligatory Disney sweetness in the second half is a bit too tedious. Otherwise, not bad at all. The absence of less-talented-but-more-famous celebrities as the voices of the main cast helps as well.

The best bit about watching Pixar movies are the shorts that precede the actual movie. Lifted, the short that played before Ratatouille was freaking amazing and totally hilarious! I got my money's worth from that alone! Enjoy.

1 comment:

Pumpkin said...

I howled with laughter for a good 5 minutes after Lifted had finished, it's a phenomenal short! I also like the Pixar short 'For The Birds'....pretty cool!