Director: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm
This is the second time I've seen Ratatouille, the first time with kids. It makes a big difference, who you watch movies with, especially animated children's films. You watch it by yourself and you judge it as an adult, or else against your own childhood favorites. You watch it with a kid and you judge it through their eyes, with an understanding that ultimately this story was written with a young audience in mind. Although, the great thing about Disney/Pixar is that their projects can be enjoyed by all ages, delivering jokes and messages that can be appreciated by a large audience. Ratatouille seems tailored perhaps for older children, as it relies heavily on a broader cultural understanding, and it didn't wow me over as an adult, failing to crack me up more than once or twice. But it's still a solid animated flick, one with good action, great visuals, and a story we can all relate to.
Remy is a rat unlike any other. He walks on two feet, disdains regular garbage, and wants to someday be a chef. After a run-in with a shotgun & some rat poison, Remy finds himself separated from his family, but in Paris at the restaurant of his hero, Gusteau. There he meets Linguini, a bumbling, untalented, kindhearted boy who just wants a job and will do anything in order to please. Remy has the cooking talent, Linguini has the arms & hands; the two make a dynamic pair. Their food is a smash success, but they can't keep the charade going forever. Eventually someone is going to find out that there's a rat in the kitchen, that this boy doesn't know what he's doing, and that the amazing cuisine they've been sampling comes from a small but brilliant culinary mind.
This is a rating I've been teetering back and forth about. On one hand, Ratatouille is a success. It looks amazing; the colors, the action, the Paris skyline, the beautiful animation, all that is near perfect. And Remy is a lovable rat, a character you can get behind. But there's a childish humor & comfort that is missing from this film. It's a bit too long, a bit too complicated, flies over the heads of little kids, and honestly didn't make me laugh as much as I would have liked. It's a nice story about finding yourself, there are a lot of honest themes, but I just could have done with a bit more funny. I would imagine that there is a very small age group that would love this movie, but the numbers tell me I am wrong. Critics on IMDB give Ratatouille a 9.6; hardly near where I would rate it and surprisingly high. It's just not quite that good. It's entertaining, but I could rattle off a list of Pixar movies that are much better. I doubt I'm alone on that, but I also wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from watching this movie. It's got strong animation, a ton of fun, a solid moral, amazing visuals; it's just not perfect.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
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