Pixar does it again. Even though Ratatouille isn’t nearly their greatest work, it’s still perfect entertainment. There may not be themes as profound as giving up heroics for family, or concepts as brilliant as collectible toys rebelling against their preservation artists, but it’s still a beautiful film to watch.
Movie Review: Ratatouille
Remy the rat (Patton Oswalt) loves cooking, and when his family gets driven from their home, he winds up in Paris. Teaming up with a bumbling kitchen janitor Linguini (Lou Romano), Remy cooks fabulous meals that help Linguini win a top gig and the love of fellow chef Collette (Janeane Garofalo).
This film really delivers the cartoon hijinks. Fumbling around the kitchen is like a sophisticated Tom and Jerry in the classic cartoon tradition of frantically using props to reach pots and stoves. Little rats and big utensils is comedy gold, not to mention the puppet schtick between Remy and Linguini.
It’s probably the most visual of all Pixar movies. With Remy’s dialogue unintelligible to humans, all communication between the leads is visual. All the main drama of the film is visual action, and it’s full of background gags too, from signs to freeze frame on the DVD to entire melodramas occurring in the corner.
The characters are just adorable. The bulbous noses take any icky factor off the rats and the way their fur reacts to water or electricity is cute. They address bipedal walking. He wants to keep his hands clean. There is some powerful acting in the human characters. Pay attention to Colette almost slapping Linguini.
It’s full of action. In addition to slapstick antics, there’s a shotgun chase, a cycle pursuit and plenty of peril.
There are a few adult themes, like DNA testing, getting drunk, a mild dick joke… The adult elements are not overriding this time. Realizing your dreams and sticking by your friends doesn’t count as a profound message, but it’s a heartfelt one. It’s really emotional when Remy and Linguini fight because there is real job stress and communication impossibilities.
It’s kind of the Disney model of the rebel separated from his family, but it’s not all about the reunion. He’s actually better off in his new home and they follow that side of the thread instead of the usual.
It does feel long. There are many near endings and resolutions, but all the threads sort of resolve one after the other, not all at once. So once you resolve the romance, the buddies, the critic, the villain and the family, that’s a whole lot of separate threads.
But those are flaws that come with the benefit of some real creative chances taken with the material. They made a true cartoon, fish out of water story with some different steps than the usual, so it’s totally worth an extra 10 minutes on the running time.