Ratatouille – lovable rodents and fantastic animation

Rémy overlooking Paris

Just back from seeing the newish Pixar/Disney animated film Ratatouille. Quite a fun ride. The animation is fabulous – Pixar just do it better and better. The attention to detail in recreating Parisian street- and cityscapes is stunning.

You are meant to find the rats pleasant, even adorable perhaps, and the dissonance of rats doing positive things in a kitchen is played with well. There are visual moments when the rats are hilariously electrifying, not to mention redefining the grating of cheese. The humans, on the other hand, are a distinctly less agreeable bunch.

Unlike many recent animated films, the story here isn’t quite as awash in Big Moral as you might fear and the constant theme of ‘do what you want to do’ works well most of the time.

Perhaps the most surprising thing for me was that, although the rats talk to each other and can understand the humans, the humans can’t understand the rats. A nice anti-Dr-Dolittle touch. This permits a range of comic elements to be introduced to good effect.

Greatly worth seeing, but by no means perfect. I found the Hollywood touches a little tiring towards the end (but it’s so standard in animated movies and the kids lap it up), and came away not feeling like it had really been in Paris (despite the compliments above about appearances). It needed a dose of real Frenchness to get it over the line. 🙂 Nonetheless, as a food fanatic, a scene close to the end involving the über-scary food critic Anton Ego captured the essence of why we obsess, write and think about food, and of course cook and eat it! I won’t spoil things, but I hope those who’ve seen it recognise what I’m referring to.

Did anyone else find the rats’ noses a little spooky?
How many of you wanted to cook ratatouille after seeing the movie?

– DM

11 thoughts on “Ratatouille – lovable rodents and fantastic animation”

  1. Heh, my own mini-review (at the end of this post) is very much aligned with your perspective. I was less alarmed by the rats’ noses and more by the pink skin peeking out from Remy’s blue fur. 🙂

  2. Ahh the movie was so cute I didn’t want it to end! Loved the cheese grating, and Keller’s version of ratatouille. And I still can’t get over the fact that Remy is a rat.. keep referring to him as ‘the mouse’.

  3. I know what you mean, Y! The idea of the rat in the kitchen seems so thoroughly wrong… Strange that we should feel any more positive about a mouse in the kitchen, but I shared your misnaming problem. Now, a cockroach would most certainly not have worked in this movie! (I hope everyone agrees on that one. LOL)

  4. Haha Yes! But I’m sure Pixar would’ve managed to make him look cute all the same. I can just see it now.. Craig the Cockroach…!

  5. The movie reminded me of my own fork in the road when I got the boot from home at sixteen for wanting to be a chef. Maybe I should have tried a bit harder, then I might have met a foxy chef with a fast bike…

  6. Welcome Neil! What is it with all these animals?! The chef-lady wasn’t a fox! Ohhh… foxy… I think the talk of rats and mouses and cockroaches is making me dizzy 😉

  7. glad to see you had the same reaction at the same moment that we did in Ratatouille. It was up till that point sweet, very clever, but
    perhaps all a little too Disney. But that one moment, that flashback in the best Proustian manner, brought a fugitive tear to both our
    eyes. It was very well done, and made us regret that the makers hadn’t aimed a little higher for the rest of the film.

  8. I loved the movie. I think my favorite part was when the rats threw the health inspector into the cold room. When he walked in and saw all those rats cooking I laughed my ass off. I found it to be a little slow in the middle but an over all feeling of contentment when I walked out of the cinema. The attention to detail and the way they discussed the layers of flavor in food was awesome. I found the whole Remy pulling his hair to control his arms a bit far fetched though.

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