Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ratatouille (2007)

It is not often that you will see a unique idea in movies nowadays, especially when an adaptation of a book, television show, or comic character can guarantee money. But thankfully, once in a while you will find courageous and inventive filmmakers that can treat you with a sight you have never seen before.

Pixar fits the bill as one of those brave filmmakers, and their unique idea is Ratatouille; a story of a rat named Remy who dreams of being a gourmet chef at a French restaurant. And before you say filmdom has many famous rats before, let me quash that idea now because it has never seen a in this fashion; doing something so unthinkable. Remy being a rat is prevented by all known civilized norms never to handle human food yet that is what he dreams of doing in Paris, home of the best chefs in the world.

Typical of many animations especially those associated with Pixar and Disney, Ratatouille gives a lesson, which is to chase your dreams in spite of the obvious physical and cultural restrictions.

It was a crazy idea if you’d think of it. Paris, food; of course a rat will be the last thing you’d expect or want in the picture but that is just what gave life to this film. Furthermore, it has the same quality of humor, color, and style we have all loved in the films of Pixar which was behind hits like Toy Story, The Incredibles and Finding Nemo.

Ratatouille has one drawback, if you can call it that; and it lies in the unique if not crazy concept itself: A rat that can cook. It was a successful gamble if you look at the over all product; the humor and the lessons. However, unlike Mickey Mouse or any famous rodent that the entertainment world has conjured up, the story of Remy does not give you the excuse that it is a make believe rat that you are actually watching. In spite of a preposterous idea that any animal can cook, the story and the animation tell you that it’s a real rat.

Except maybe for the eyes and the color, Remy looks like your common, ‘sewer’ variety kind of rat. Animation especially computer generated ones like this film take pride in the realism they are able to create, but there were points in this film that I believe they were too good. There was a scene in the movie when a ceiling caved in exposing a whole army of rats, and another where the rats were cooking. By any stretch of the imagination I don’t my ceiling to fall and have a hundred rats on my bed. Neither do I wish to dwell one nanosecond in the thought a rat (a sewer rat), no matter if it spends a year taking bath, handled my food.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not grossed out by the film. I may have grimaced a few times at the scenes I have mentioned but overall it was a night of smiles and delight.

A line from Anton Ego’s critique at the end of the film truly captures it all. To criticize this movies insignificant faults does not matter in the grand scheme of things. It matters more that we all have had the benefit of courageous creative minds like those in Pixar. In the end from their creation Ratatouille, (quoting from Ego) “I experienced something new”, an extraordinary movie from a singularly unexpected topic.

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