MOVIE REVIEW: Ratatouille
Ratatouille is the latest feature film from Pixar/Disney. Written and directed by Brad Bird (with additional story assists from Jim Capobianco, Emily Cook, Kathy Greenberg and Jan Pinkava), it’s the story of a young mouse (Remy) who finds himself alienated from his family because of his preference for fine cooking over garbage.
Lillian Baker (age 8) and Martha Thomases (age 54) attended an early screening on opening day in New York’s East Village.
MT: This movie was very different from The Incredibles, the last movie Brad Bird directed for Pixar. He worked on The Simpsons, too.
LB: I want to see The Simpsons Movie.
MT: Do you think the Simpsons would like Ratatouille?
LB: Yeah. Why not?
MT: It was a terrific film. The characters were believable, even the talking, cooking rats. And the animation was amazing. That scene early on, where Remy is rushed to Paris via the rivers going to the sewers underground, was spectacular. I loved the way the rats’ fur would get wet, and look different as it dried.
LB: The whole thing happened because of that book, Everyone Can Cook, a cookbook written by Gusteau. Remy was a little blue-ish.
MT: I saw lots of different colors in the rats. There were brown and gray and even green rats in the crowd scenes. They had lots of different body types, too, from skinny like Remy to fat like his brother, Emile. I noticed that Remy, Emile and their father, Django, spoke American English, while the humans spoke with French accents except for the restaurant critic, Anton Ego. Do you have a favorite scene?
LB: I liked it when he was asleep while he was cleaning, and Remy tried to wake him up so Colette wouldn’t notice. Remy had to wear sunglasses and he snorted at her with his tongue out before she slapped him and he woke up.
MT: The voice-actors were terrific. You never noticed if a voice was familiar from another movie because the actors were so absorbed in the characters. Ian Holm played the restaurant owner here and in Big Night, one of my favorites, but I didn’t realize it until I saw the credits. I love Janeane Garofalo, too, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you she was Colette. Peter O’Toole was an excellent Ego. Patton Oswald did a great job in the lead, playing a part quite different from his stand-up character.
Do you think children will want to eat more vegetables and fancy cheeses after they see this movie?
LB: Who knows?
MT: Do you?
LB: Not really.
MT: I really liked the short at the beginning, The Lift, about a UFO being used for drivers’ education and alien abduction. My son is taking driving lessons, so it made me very happy I wasn’t with him while he was learning.
LB: I liked the part where the alien student presses all the buttons and the man went crashing all around the house.
MT: I liked the father in Ratatouille, even though he didn’t understand his son or what his son wanted to do. When push came to shove, dad came through.
LB: That’s because Remy never told his dad. “Shut up and eat your garbage!” I just wanted to say that.
MT: It’s not something parents say very often.
Illustration by Lillian Baker