Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ratatouille.

From Brad Bird comes a delightfully and comically fresh family movie - Ratatouille (2007). Remy is a rat with discerning taste in cuisine, who has rather unusual culinary talents. His misadventures lead to him getting lost, and then finding himself in "the city of the best food in France" - Paris. From then on, it's a hilarious turn of events as he achieves his dream - cooking in a top-class kitchen, but not without some rather funny mishaps along the way.

First up, the animation is simply great. Hats off to Pixar! They just seem to get better and better. The creases and crinkles on the Chefs' uniforms, the fur of the rats, the shimmering liquid texture of the soups and sauces - everything's drawn down to the very last detail. I don't profess to be an expert on animation, but Pixar's work is wonderful. At certain moments, you're bound to wonder whether it's an animated movie you're watching, or just a regular one. The visual treatment of the movie is truly incredible.

The plot is a little choppy in the middle of the movie. Perhaps a little forced. But it's more than made up by great voicing, by Lou Romano as Linguini (the garbage-boy who is discovered to be Gusteau's son), by Patton Oswalt as Remy the rat, and Ian Holm as Skinner is simply wonderful as well. Credit goes to Peter O'Toole too, for putting in some spectacular voicing work for the character of Anton Ego, the coffin-shaped food critic.

Janeane Garofolo, however, stole the show, I thought. Her French-accented English, her witty one-liners, and her easy changes from the friendly Colette to the angry Colette are something to watch out for. Also, she manages to make the character of Colette show - a girl intent on making her mark in a man's world - and managing to do that to an animated character, I suppose, is not easy.

Apart from offering some great comic moments, Ratatouille is also a rather sarcastic critique on food snobbery. I've seen food snobs and gourmet critics in my line of work, and Anton Ego is a caricature of these two types, right down to his immensely complacent "I know everything about food" air. Gourmet food may be great, but Ratatouille seems to suggest that sometimes, simple food can be just as effective as working its way to our hearts - for didn't Ego love the simple and traditional peasant dish that was served to him?

I could go on and on about Ratatouille. It's one of my favourite films (and not just for its cooking-theme). I'd dragged my then-boyfriend to watch it when it released, simply because the trailer itself captivated me. And I wasn't disappointed.

It's a rather unusual movie, one that children should definitely watch, but also one that has some important messages for adults. That talent and creativity can come from anywhere, even from the most unexpected of places, and we should give them their due credit. That sometimes, it's the most simple things in life that really matter, and it's not the money or the fame, but just the warm buzz of memories, that can make us happy. And lastly, that following your heart is essential, for selling out beliefs never did anyone any good - like Shakespeare put it so well: "To thine own self be true".

14 comments:

SPIRITed! said...

How do you do it Brinda? Every single time?

I've seen this movie. Beautiful review. Go for that Film Studies degree!

Mer-curial-maiden said...

I loved the scene when the little rat makes his first meal! The zips and the zooms and all those lovely colors! You could *smell* the simmering soup!

And lovely review, again. :)

Magically Bored said...

@ Spirited!: Heh. *blush-blush* And no, I don't think I'd like to pursue Film Studies. Would be too technical for me, I think. I like doing these movie reviews entirely as a very enjoyable hobby! :)

@ Mer-curial Maiden: Yes, the movie is stunningly realistic. The textures, the colours, the sounds - you are almost IN the kitchen! Thank you for the compliment. Glad you liked it. :)

Brainless said...

I never saw this movie...may be I will see this one day...

Pixar has a wonderful track record of animated movies....

I don't know why..I just can't bring myself to watch animated movies anymore..:O

The last one was shrek the third...

Sambit said...

there is a scene.
when the old woman shoots down the ceiling.
and for a second or two the rats stare at her in silence, till all hell breaks lose.
oh my God.
that scene is priceless.
i love this film.
who knew a kernel could become popcorn when struck by lightning!
=P

Magically Bored said...

@ Brainless: Well, I'd suggest you watch Ratatouille. It's wonderful. I'm not a big fan of animated movies either, but I do like a few here and there - like the Ice Age movies and the Shrek movies.

@ Sambit: Haha yes, that scene is way too hilarious. I love the scene in the kitchen too, where Linguini is collecting ingredients, bends down and rushes about the kitchen, saying, "Excuse me, I need this, apparently!" :P

the soliloquist said...

My favourite Pixar movie.

Yes, I think that one line sums up the movie so perfectly: "To thine own self be true".

The best part of the movie is definitely when Ego says, "Then how can it be Pop-pyoo-lyaar?"

Magically Bored said...

@ The Soliloquist: Ego was just brilliant. I'd love to meet someone like him in real life. :P

Brainless said...

Yes I will definitely....:)

Sougata said...

Wow , The last paragraph was written very beautifully. The movie is really good. The take from it was pretty much summarized in the last paragraph :) . In life its very important to find out the one thing you love.Sorry I have a plagued lingo. "Stay Hungry" ... :) .

What's In A Name ? said...

For me Ego was the star when he curls his lips to deliver that momentous discourse - "The job of the critic is rather easy..." in a half repentant, half reformed sort of way.

Magically Bored said...

@ Sougata: Thank you. And yes, finding out the one thing you love, makes life rather worth living. I've always thought so.

@ What's In A Name?: Oh yes, I love that scene. Also the one where he says "I crave some fresh perspective." Too good!

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS NOT SEEN THIS?

*wails*

Magically Bored said...

@ Doubletake, Doublethink: I assume you've seen it by now?