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Ratatouille Review

Hey folks, Valkor here. Thanks to the folks at Samsung (Thank You Samsung), I was able to partake a special screening of Disney/Pixars lastest CGI creation “Ratatouille” over in NYC. Not too many people showed up, it was for press only, however I would’ve thought you know this being a Pixar flick, more people would’ve been lining up. Also Samsung did provide the normal movie staples (Soda and popcorn, which works for me). But freak that this is Pixar baby, you guys wanna know how was the movie? Well the iron strikes hot once again as Brad Bird and co create another winner, which is a great addition to their family of CGI films. And what better place to see a movie about rats then in NYC, rat central.

Anyone ever see that classic film “Ben”? It’s basically a film about a boy who befriends rats, well one rat in particular, but the other rats come with the package. Well what if Ben had some skillz, you know he could walk upright, read, hell he can even cook? Then you have the concept behind Pixar’s latest film. “Ratatouille” tells the tale of Remy, a rat who isn’t like his fellow rats, especially when it comes to food. Remy doesn’t have the tastes of his bretheren, he doesn’t want to eat garbage; he wants real food, fresh food, food that is not garbage. He wants to experience taste sensations no rat has ever experienced and he wants to cook. Not simply cook, but create. Plus Remy likes people, eventhough people hate rats and want them all dead, Remy holds it in his heart that not all people are bad and that maybe rats and people can coexist. One day while he and his brother Emile, are in the house seeking spices for his latest food creation, the house human discover the rat clan and chases them out, which in turn causes Remy to be separated from his family. This actually turns out to be a positive as Remy discovers (through the spirit form of favorite chef, Chef Gusteau) that he is in Paris. Not only is Remy in Paris, but he is right next to Chef Gusteau’s restaurant. It is here that Remy meets Linguini, who shows up at the restaurant bearing a note from his late mother, in hopes of getting a job. But this is Gusteau’s, a place of fine dining. And Linguini is a bumbling idiot; he can’t be a chef. So skinner (The head Chef) makes him a garbage boy. However Linguini isn’t prone to be just a janitor, he wants to try his hand at being a chef, so he attemps to make a soup, or tries to make the current soup better, which Remy notices he’s totally screwing up. So what can Remy do? He sneaks over, adds the proper ingredients to the soup and voila! It’s an instant hit! But in doing so Remy is discovered and Linguini is given the credit for the soup. This begins the duo’s friendship as they try to work together to create other forms of delicious dishes using Remy’s skills, with Linguini’s human presentation. Of course nothing gold can stay as Remy is found out to be the mastermind behind Linguini’s talent and now Linguini must try to impress the toughest food critic ever, the one critic who was responsible for Gusteau’s downfall, Anton Ego. Plus Remy has to deal with the fact that a rat is still a rat in the eyes of humans and are not accepted as chefs. I found “Ratatouille” to be a wonderful tale with a lot of laughs that you will enjoy from beginning to end.

 The cast chosen for the voices all fit the bill, even pulling off French accents that impressed the hell out of me. I mean I didn’t know Janeane Garofalo was so damn good at being French that if you didn’t tell me she was Colette, I would have sworn they hired a French actress to play the role. It’s also nice to see Brian Dennehy back in action, though I like him better when he’s playing a pissed off cop, he does a great job as Django. And of course what Pixar film is complete without John Ratzenberger, who does the voice of Mustafa. Another fav Anton Ego is played perfectly by Peter O’Toole, who comes across as your average villain, but then sees the light of his ways at the end. Finally there is our main character Remy, played by Patton Oswalt, who I know to be an ok Stand up comedian, but here he does a wonderful job as our lovable little chef.

The CGI is on par with past Pixar flicks, but ups the ante as you can tell the folks at Pixar did their homework on rats. Their movements are captured perfectly, which is damn eerie because they’re freakin rats!! But the transition from rat mode (scurrying all about) to rat/people mode (walking and talking) is seamless. Again it’s eerie because the rats, though cartoony, still look like rats. But Pixar will make you believe that a rat can cook. And in the immortal words of Chef Gusteau “Anyone Can Cook”. It’s funny to watch Remy as he creates, adding a little of this and that, tasting and smelling. He’s the perfect personification of a rat who thinks he’s a human. Plus the creations that Remy and cast make look so damn good and so damn real, it will make your tummy grumble. Even simple foods such as cheese and fruits look real and delicious. (I actually wanna try that cheese strawberry combo). The CGI on the humans, I thought were definitely well done as you can see how far CGI has come when in the past, CGI humans were expressionless. (I’m looking at you Final Fantasy: Spirit Within). However the humans in this world are more cartoonish in their looks, check out Linguini and Colette, Skinner and Ego. And I will admit I was turned on a bit by Colette, I mean for a CGI creation she is damn sexy. The animation is not entirely fluid, but it works. Besides, the whole focus is on the rats and that’s where Pixar shines. Nuff said.

Ultimately this is a story about rats and just because Pixar made them look cute and gave them human qualities, will people accept them as being chefs cooking in a restaurant? I mean when we see rats on the streets our first reaction is to run like hell AWAY from them. Here Pixar tries to tell us that rats are more than just rats, they can be helpful if we somehow learn to live side by side with them. Of course this can only be pulled off in the film, because in reality rats get the traps, or the gas, or death by any means necessary. But I think you’ll enjoy the rats in Ratatouille, because they are cute and funny and I bet after this film kids are gonna want to own one (I know parents aren’t having it). There is nothing bad or ugly about Ratatouille, it’s a damn perfect film, mixing lots of laughs with a sprinkle of drama, and a dabble of cuteness throughout. When the film is released worldwide be there or you will definitely miss out on something special. I give this film 5 stars perfect all around. The Pixar magic is back baby!

Email: valkor@the-other-view.com

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Ratatouille Review
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