Ratatouille

Featuring the voices of: Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm, Peter O’Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett, Brian Dennehy
Directed By: Brad Bird

I’m not really sure this can be a review, because this is now either my fourth or fifth time having seen Ratatouille. I love this film, and I decided to take the opportunity to post that. Officially. In case you don’t believe me, I currently have it ranked as my 20th favorite film of all time on my Top 250. It’s a film that cheers me up when I watch it. Sure, Pixar has made a few better films, but Pixar has such a high success rate, that doesn’t mean Ratatouille isn’t also great.

The “anyone can cook” attitude that the film pushes is really a positive message for anything in life. If you want to be an actor, or a singer, or even something as simple as an elementary school teacher or fireman, it’s a nice reminder to pursue your dreams, even if others around you are trying to keep you down. If you’ve got the talent, go for it.

Ratatouille follows the story of Remy (Oswalt), a rat with an advanced palate and nose for cooking. He admires the work of French Chef Gusteau, and doesn’t want to just eat garbage like the rest of his rat family. He knows he’s bound for greatness, but it isn’t until a chance encounter with Linguini (Romano) that he finds his true calling as a Chef. A rat as a Chef? Eeew. Gross! That’s probably why this film only works as an animated feature, where the rat can be super cute and have humanesque qualities. Remy is endearing, which makes the film work, and Linguini is kind and hapless, quirky and so incredibly lost without him. The two make a great pair.

I can’t explain what it is about Ratatouille that cheers me up, or makes me feel good. I realize 2007 was a good year for cinema, giving us films like No Country For Old Men, Juno, Michael Clayton, Zodiac, Gone Baby Gone, and Alvin and the Chipmunks (that last one was a joke), but Ratatouille was my pick for the Best Picture of 2007. I think I expected Pixar to fail. A story about a rat chef, who cares? But somehow, this film charmed the socks off of me in 2007, and it still charms me today.

A lot of credit goes to Brad Bird, who is just a phenomenal animated director. I threw in animated, because we all know Tomorrowland was disappointing, but his animated resume (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant) is basically perfect. Ratatouille is his tour de force, really building on everything he had done so well, and so perfectly, in the other two films. All of the heart of the Iron Giant, mixed with all the innovation and imagination of The Incredibles combined forces in Ratatouille.

Anton Ego in the film has a long monologue about being a critic, and how often it is pointless. People work hard on their craft, and we spend a lot of time tearing down the works of others. Then he talks about how good it feels to finally write a review for something he loves so much. That is how I feel about Ratatouille, even though no one will care that I’ve reviewed a film from 2007 that probably everyone has seen. It reminded me how sometimes, it just feels good to heap praise upon a work that has brought me so much joy upon each viewing. This review isn’t really for my readers so much as it is a thank you to Pixar, Disney, and Brad Bird for telling this story.

If for some reason you haven’t seen Ratatouille… what are you doing with your life?

FINAL GRADE: A+

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