Directed by Brad Bird; co-directed by Jan Pinkava
Starring the voices of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Peter Sohn, Ian Holm, Peter O’Toole, Brian Dennehy, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, and Will Arnet.
I know, I know. I’ve complained enough in the past that animated movies these days have become too much about the talking animals. But, I just had to go see Ratatouille, because it’s the newest film from Brad Bird. Bird made my all-time favourite film, The Iron Giant, and is generally regarded as one of the greatest American animators working today. Can Bird bring something fresh to the talking animal genre?
Remy is a rat with a very special gift: highly developed senses of taste and smell. This has given him an appreciation for very fine food, not the garbage that rats eat, and he also dreams of being a chef. Fate and circumstance soon bring Remy to one of Paris’s finest restaurants, Gusteau’s, which has fallen on hard times ever since Gusteau himself died after reading a bad review. The new head chef, Skinner, is no longer concerned with fine food, but instead, exploiting the Gusteau name for profit. And then, in comes Linguini, a well-meaning but talentless young man who wants a job. Remy and Linguini then form a unique partnership so Linguini can keep his job, and Remy can cook. And soon, Remy is torn: return to his rats nest home, or live his dream of being a chef?
What I Liked
This movie is funny as hell. But, unlike most talking animal films, where the humour comes from pop-culture references and fart jokes, the humour comes from the characters, and their uniquely defined quirks. And, indeed, these are characters that you actually grow to love and care for.
What I Didn’t Like
In retrospect, the plot is a bit clichéd.
Mr. Bird, you’ve given us another winner.