Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Starring:
Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O'Toole,
Brad Garrett, Jeaeane Garofalo, Will Arnett, Julius Callahan, James Remar, John Ratzenberger,
Teddy Newton, Tony Fucile, Jake Steinfeld, Brad Bird and Stephane Roux


Rated: G 
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: June 29, 2007 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures

In some of the advertising stills for Ratatouille, Remy the little blue rat sits on top of a Paris building like a cute smiling gargoyle holding a mixing spoon. This is Remy's universe filled with wonderful restaurants that his relatives are satisfied eating the scraps and garbage from. But Ratatouille is Remy's story of ambition and dreams; he wants to be a creative cook and he shows us that when he mixes cheese and a strawberry for his brother, teaching that it's a better way to eat rather than just gobbling up each morsel separately.

Ratatouille is the product of the mind of Brad Bird (The Incredibles), his imagination brings us into the world of a rat who scurries around slipping and sliding around the kitchen at Gusteaus - a five star dinning place which has been made famous by the chief Gusteau (Brad Garrett). But Gusteau has passed on and the place is under the control of Skinner (Ian Holm), a paranoid little man with a chief's hat that is a tall as he is. In one scene he searches for Remy acting as if he were Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny rolling dice in his hand. Much worse to the staff is that he intends to produce a line of frozen foods using the famous Gusteau name.

Just as Remy is tempted to give up on his dream to be a great chief (that's the stretch we have to swallow), he comes across Linguini (Lou Romano) a bumbling garbage boy who has spoiled the soup. It's Remy who creatively tosses ingredients in and saves the dinner as credit goes to Linguini. That opens the door to a partnership between the unusual couple, a rat and a bumbling young guy who can't cook.

From there the creative juices take over. The CGI technology enhances what we see. The flow of Remy's relatives as they swarm into the restaurant to help, Remy's physical control of the confused Linguini which is similar to a creative science fiction alter ego, but most of all it is the ghost of Gusteau who recognizes the future of Remy's skills in the kitchen but doesn't know about the true new owner of his place of business. His slogan is "anyone can cook" - Remy believes in the master's theory.

At the point where we expect all the major characters have been introduced along comes Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole) the restaurant critic who intends to close Gusteau's with a destructive review. Looking ghost white and pompous he enters the establishment as the waiters shake while taking his order. This is where Ratatouille comes into the story. While the ballet of chiefs move throughout the kitchen Remy's insight in understanding peasant food such as the domination of vegetables in Ratatouille make Ego's eyes swirl.

With a world full of excitement and even a love story between Linguini and Colette (Jeaneane Garofalo) and a health inspector who can't believe what he sees in Gusteaus we fall into the limited but expanding world of a blue rat who has world class cooking skills, which he can use if he continues to follow his philosophy "I've always believed with hard work and a little bit of luck, it's only a matter of time before I'm discovered." It all looks so real we begin to believe that a rat can cook.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Ratatouille B+     A- A- B   B+

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