Written by General Jabbo
Disney and Pixar have cooked up yet another great story with their latest hit, Ratatouille. Directed by Brad Bird of Incredibles fame, Ratatouille is the unlikely story of Remy the rat. Voiced by Patton Oswalt, Remy dreams of becoming the finest chef in France.
Remy’s idol is the famous French chef, the late Auguste Gusteau, whose motto was “anyone can cook.” Remy sneaks into elderly woman’s house in search of better food than the garbage and leftovers he is accustomed to as a rat and it is there that he sees Gusteau’s television program and reads his cookbook while the elderly woman sleeps. When she wakes up and discovers Remy, she opens fire on him with a shotgun, knocking a chandelier off her ceiling, and revealing the rest of Remy’s family who had been living in the attic. As she chases after the rats, Remy gets separated from his family and ends up in Paris where he discovers Gusteau’s restaurant.
It is there that he sees restaurant garbage boy Linguini making soup to pass the time – only Linguini has no clue what he is doing. “He’s ruining the soup!” Remy cries. Unable to watch, Remy sneaks in the restaurant and adds the right spices to the soup, making it an instant hit with the restaurant’s patrons. The problem is, Linguini can’t reproduce the soup without Remy’s help and thus a team is formed. Remy hides under Linguini’s chef hat and “pulls his strings” via his hair to decide what ingredients to use.
The pair return the good name to Gusteau’s restaurant, which had fallen on hard times under the watch of new head chef Skinner (voiced by Ian Holm) as he seemed more interested in using Gusteau’s name to sell frozen food. Notorious food critic, Anton Ego, played perfectly by Peter O’Toole, is even impressed with the new pair’s dishes. Remy even helps Linguini catch the eye of female chef Colette, voiced by Janeane Garofalo. Linguini eventually takes ownership of the restaurant after it is discovered he is really Gusteau’s son.
Ratatouille is a story of perseverance, of rising above one’s existence – even if it is not the popular thing to do. Remy’s family strongly disapproves of him associating with humans until they see Linguini genuinely cares for him. Then they are happy for him that he is following his dream.
Paris is a beautiful city and it is reproduced splendidly on the DVD. One feels as if they were in Europe when watching the film and a lot of the animation looks real. The colors are vivid and jump from the screen. The disc is presented in Dolby 2.0 as well as 5.1 audio and while not a two-disc set like other Pixar films, includes some bonus features including three deleted scenes – all in rough sketch form, two short films – including “Lifted” which was shown in theaters with Ratatouille, and a conversation with Brad Bird and chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry.
Ratatouille has something for everyone. Children will love the physical comedy of Linguini, as well as Remy’s hijinks, while adults will enjoy the budding romance between Linguini and Colette, as well as Remy’s determination to better himself.