RATATOUILLE

(2007)
Some chocolate mouse, anyone?With the voices of Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garafolo, Peter O'Toole
Directed by Brad Bird
Style: Computer-generated
Reviewed by JB

     Story pitching sessions are Pixar really are story pitching sessions.  They don't ask what movies have been popular, what can we remake, or what fairy tale has Disney not tackled yet.  They simply take things from their childhoods, their lives or the culture around them, kick ideas around and create new stories.  With the exception of the TOY STORY sequels and A BUG'S LIFE, which was loosely based on the fable of "The Grasshopper and the Ant" and SEVEN SAMURAI, the characters and plots of Pixar films are original.

     In RATATOUILLE, Remy the Rat wants to be a chef, and from a somewhat distasteful premise grows one of Pixar's best movies.  I admit that occasionally, the image of hundreds of rats running around various venues of Paris, including the restaurant where most of the film's action takes place, was a bit too much to take, but in spite of those few moments, RATATOUILLE is another winner from Pixar Animation Studios.  I am a fan of Patton Oswalt, the standup comedian - and huge movie buff - most famous for playing the hapless Spence on TV's The King of Queens.  As Remy, Oswalt gives an outstanding performance that, along with the animation and character design, helps make "the little chef" one of Pixar's most memorable creations. The human creations, such as the talentless Linguini whom Remy manipulates, and the icy and suspicious Colette, whom Linguini falls for, are also impressive.  

     Less socially incisive than Brad Bird's previous Pixar film THE INCREDIBLES, but with a bit more heart and, more importantly, just as funny, RATATOUILLE was the third Pixar film to be named Best Animated Feature, a category established by the Academy in 2001. 4½ - JB

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