Ratatouille (2007) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Ratatouille (2007)


Pixar and Disney are back. This time instead of talking dolls (“Toy Story”), talking fish (“Finding Nemo”) or talking cars (“Cars”), we’ve got talking rats. That’s right, those cute and cuddly carriers of the Bubonic Plague are the main characters in Ratatouille! Can Pixar transform rats into an animal that’s sweet and caring? Read on, and I’ll tell you if the animation studio that can do no wrong has lost their magic touch.

Ratatouille is the story of Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt, “Reno 911!: Miami”), a rat from a humble family living in the suburbs of Paris. He realizes, however, that he is different than his trash eating brethren — he can actually smell the ingredients in food. This leads him to believe, after watching shows and reading the books (yes he can read and understand English) of master chef Auguste Gusteau (voiced by Brad Garrett, “The Pacifier”) that his true calling is in creating fabulous foods, not in dumpster diving. And what luck he has too, as he soon finds himself in Paris, in none other than Gusteau’s very own restaurant, after being separated from his clan. More luck befalls our furry friend, as the restaurant hires Linguini (voiced by Lou Romano), a pathetic excuse for a man with aspirations of becoming a chef, as the floor scrubber. Of course he cooks as well as he cleans (terribly) and with the help of Remy, he swiftly rises up the culinary ladder. Trying to tear him down are famed food critic Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O’Toole, “Stardust”) and current head chef of Gusteau’s, Skinner (voiced by Ian Holm).

The first aspect of Ratatouille that struck me is, of course, the graphics (it is an animated feature after all). A side effect of all the advances in computer generated imagery (CGI), is that all animated movies are now graded on their realism and Ratatouille is no different. As you know, Pixar has set the bar time and again with the aforementioned movies, so I believe their pictures should be graded with a tad more scrutiny. And based on that, I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with the presentation. That’s not to say that the overall work is shoddy or uninspired (there are some very impressive scenes), I simply got the feeling that there really weren’t any artistic advances made.

On the other hand, the movie is quite funny. While there are a few amusing moments early on in the movie, the laughs really start when we’re introduced to Linguini; lets just say he isn’t the brightest bulb in the package. What’s especially clever is how Remy figures out how to get Linguini to do his bidding. There are a few obstacles that need to be overcome for Linguini and Remy work together — Linguini is an idiot; Remy can’t speak human English and rats in restaurants don’t mix. The solution (think marionette) is quite ingenious and comical at the same time.

Yet most importantly for me, is the movie, as with 90% of all Disney productions, is woven around a strong theme. I’m a big proponent of movies that provide to the children watching them a strong moral compass (hence the reason I’m a fan of Disney). The point of Ratatouille is the simple and true premise that “Anyone can do something if they put their heart and minds into it.” Remy is your basic woods rat plodding along with his everyday life smelling the food of his colony so they don’t get poisoned. He’s aware of the bigger picture and even against the wishes of his father he makes his dreams come true (of course some luck is involved). It’s a great theme to watch unfold.

Overall, Ratatouille is another Pixar/Disney hit. The story is enlightening, funny and well directed. The voice casting is good too (I’ve always thought Patton Oswalt would make a terrific rat or pig). And even though the animation isn’t groundbreaking it provides enough visual “oomph” to engross the viewer. It’s certainly not the best offering from the powerhouse duo but it is nonetheless a well polished product. Ultimately, all that matters is your children will love it and it’ll more than adequately feed the inner child in you.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
5 Star Rating: Fantastic

5

Movie Review: Surf's Up (2007)
Movie Review: Evan Almighty (2007)


The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.


'Movie Review: Ratatouille (2007)' have 11 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 4, 2007 @ 1:45 pm Greg P

    This is a great movie. My whole family loved it.

    I disagree with the notion that the graphics aren’t superb. Pixar has once again taken the proverbial bar and raised it. There isn’t another animation house in the world that can touch a Pixar product.

    Otherwise, I think you’ve hit the “nail on the head”.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 23, 2007 @ 5:34 am Rosie

    I have yet to see the movie, but I’ve heard lots of good reviews about it. Your reviews are excellent; just read over a few other interesting movies here. Looking forward to watch it soon :)

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 30, 2007 @ 12:30 am Kristen

    I agree with your review that the graphics didn’t seem groundbreaking as a rule, but I thought that all the shenanigans arising from Remy and Linguini’s attempts at communication was a fun, visually creative way of exploring what computer animation can do at the moment. Great review; I’d be curious to know your thoughts on how the theme fit in or conflicted with Colette’s feminist outlook. :)

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 31, 2007 @ 1:22 pm General Disdain

    I’d be curious to know your thoughts on how the theme fit in or conflicted with Colette’s feminist outlook.

    I don’t claim to know much about the feminist outlook on things, but I’ll give it a whirl. First, the theme is clearly man-centric. Of all the occupations available to Colette, she certainly picked the one that is 98% male dominated. She is clearly conflicted by this — she has strong sense of self, but sells herself in hopes that Skinner will recognize her prowess (something I suspect most working women have to do). Instead of trying to prop up Linguini, she should have made something more for herself.

    I suppose the moral is: no matter how independent a woman thinks she is, she’ll always need a man to lean on . . . :)

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 3:05 am Pauline

    My kids have seen this movie – they really enjoyed it.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 18, 2007 @ 3:38 am Sirius Lee

    The film was created in the timeless tradition of Disney wholesome family entertainment and was hugely successful, but, IMHO, it would have been an even bigger hit if they gave Remy the personality of a Gordon Ramsey. :)

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 21, 2007 @ 6:12 pm General Disdain

    … it would have been an even bigger hit if they gave Remy the personality of a Gordon Ramsey …

    Not sure if it would have been a bigger hit, but it would have been interesting to see nonetheless!

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 6, 2007 @ 6:25 pm Gearhead

    Another Pixar great. Where would Disney be without Pixar? Few of their non-Pixar movies in the past decade live up to their lofty reputation. When I was younger, and a new Disney movie came out, it was a huge event. The only movies that are like that now are Pixar made.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 15, 2008 @ 2:58 pm Ojay

    A very cute Pixar movie. The only thing that kinda grossed me out was the thought of rats in the kitchen. The kids loved it, however, and other than the whole rodent thing, it was a great cartoon!

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 5, 2009 @ 1:32 pm Zach Brown

    THIS MOVIE SUCKED. I CAN’T DESCRIB HOW BAD THIS MOVIE WAS.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 21, 2010 @ 6:46 pm Novice Cook

    I too always thought Patten Oswalt would make a great pig or rat in animation! Actually, all kidding aside he’s done really well acting as Big Fan can proof.

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