Ratatouille (2007)

This was one of the movies I watched over the holidays.

A French rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) longs to exchange his species’ garbage eating ways for fine dining.  His extraordinary sense of smell allows him to identify poisoned food and makes him invaluable to his pack.  However, his idol Auguste Gusteau’s motto “anyone can cook” encourages him to dream of becoming a cook.  This ambition is pure folly until he meets a hapless human Linguini (Lou Ramano). 

Linguini is working the late Gusteau’s restaurant as a garbage boy, and he also dreams of becoming a chef.   Unfortunately, Linguini has zero ability.  On his first day at work, he accidentally gets credited with Remy’s superior efforts.  The two form a funny and tempestuous partnership to carry on the deception.

The acerbic, restrained food critic Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole) was an entertaining constrast to the rest of the impassioned cast.  His scenes were my favorite part of the movie.

The racing and chasing scenes grew flat for me – I think I counted four of them.  On the other hand, I did enjoy the cooking scenes, the slapstick “puppet” chef, and the moral and philosophical struggles of Remy. 

I especially appreciated the idea that practice, knowledge and hard work are needed to create something of value.  Too often magic or serendipitous accident is the easy fix in children’s shows.

I didn’t feel as thrilled about this one as I did about Iron Giant or The Incredibles which were also directed by Brad Bird.  Nevertheless, it’s still a high quality movie and worth your time.

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