Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thoughts on... Ratatouille

Hey there. Just got through watching this film with the kids and I must say, I enjoyed it very much. C'mon now, a cooking rat that interacts with humans? You don't see that everyday and you see plenty of crazy things out there in the world of animation. Far and beyond, my favorite line of the movie is, "I don't mean to be rude but... we're French" Oh man, I laughed my ass off on that one.
So this story is basically a "find yourself" type flick. A rat named Remy strives to be a cook, but because he's a rat, his family ridicules him for being himself. The fact that he won't eat garbage disturbs his father but because Remy has a keen sense of smell, he's appointed as the "poison detector". Remy hates it, of course, and he regularly watches TV and reads a cookbook from his favorite chef, Gustaeu, in a house nearby the rats nest. Only his brother knows of his "secret" and Remy drags him there while looking for some spices. The owner of the house spots them and the shotgun wielding grandma starts blasting away at the rats, discovering a nest of rats in her attic as the rats come tumbling down. It's during this sequence that Remy is separated from his family.

Remy, alone, in the sewer sulks with his only possession... The Gusteau cookbook. Gusteau's image comes to life giving Remy advise as to what he should do. Remy soon is ecstatic when he discovers that he's in Paris, the center of culinary arts, AND in front of Gustaeu's very own restaurant. As he admires the workings of the kitchen, he notices a scrawny garbage guy ruining the soup. During his tirade, he falls through a glass window and finds himself in the kitchen.
After scurrying around avoiding death, he runs across the soup and can't help himself but to toss in veggies, spices, and whatever he feels it needs. Linguini, the scrawny guy, traps him while the head chef approaches him scolding him for attempting to make a soup. Soup is served and the customers love it.  He soon gains fame for his delectable dishes, which he makes with his new pal, "little chef". Remy hides under Linguini's hat and after hours of trial and error, they master a system that will allow Remy to control Linguini with tugs of hair. Linguini soon starts to fall for Colette, a fellow chef, while being her supervision. They end up sharing a kiss and a wedge starts to develop between Remy and Linguini.

Once word gets around about Gusteau's new chef, attention centered once again on Gusteau's restaurant. With this, the greatly feared food critic, Anton Ego, hears word of Gusteau's and decides to give an updated review of the place. He decided to make his decision public, crashing a press conference given by Linguini at Gusteau's. During the conference, the wedge is made into a divide as Linguini stated to the public that his inspiration is Colette and give zero credit to Remy. Remy storms off and decides, upset, and decides to raid the kitchen with his clan as a means to get back at Linguini. During the raid, Linguini shows up looking for Remy to apologize for his actions and for not giving him the credit he deserves. During their moment, the rats are spotted and Linguini is furious that he was betrayed by Remy.
Remy, feeling down, talks with his brother and as his brother is going to walk into a rat trap, Remy runs in to push him out of the way, getting himself trapped instead. As the trap is placed in a trunk of a car, Anton shows up to the restaurant and Linguini, is losing it since he cannot cook a thing. He then storms off into his office and leaves everything to Collete and the crew. Meanwhile, Remy's brother helps him escape from the trap where Remy received additional advise from Gusteau. Once free, he storms off to help Linguini.
Once he enters the restaurant, the crew spots him. As he's about to be decimated, Linguini jumps in front of the crowd to save his little chef. Linguini then spills his guts to the crew and tells them who the real chef is. The whole crew walks out on Linguini, leaving him alone with Remy... with Anton waiting for his "perspective". Linguini, sensing defeat, retreats to his office.

Remy, finally accepting his calling, receives a little help from his family and has the kitchen up and running. Linguini checks it out and decides that he'll be waiter. Collete, seeing the same cookbook that Remy read, decides to go back and help out. She comes to terms with Remy as they work side by side to prepare the dishes. She is also surprised that the dish selected to feed Anton is the "peasant dish", Ratatouille.
Anton, biting into the dish, is taken back to his childhood, which seemed to be in the countryside, enjoying him mother's (I'm assuming) ratatouille. I thought this scene was great. Executed perfectly. Anyways, he loved the dish and wanted to thank the chef personally. With that, Linguini confesses that he is not the chef. Anton assumes it was Colette but they both tell Anton that if he wishes to compliment the chef, he must wait until all the other customer's leave. With that, he agrees and meets Remy. Colette and Linguini explain the whole story to him, which he merely thanks Remy for the dish and walks off.
His review is published the next day and in it, claims that it was the best dish he had and that the chef is the greatest chef of all of France. Soon after, Gusteau's is shut down to rat infestation and Anton loses his job since he praised a rat infested restaurant. Regardless, Anton is a changed man and he invested in a small bistro where Linguini is his waiter and Remy, along with Colette, are the chefs. The bistro is adequately named, La Ratatouille, and it even has hidden accommodations for Remy's family, if they decided that they wanted to dine there.
All in all, a good movie. A strong 4 out 5 stars. (listen to Mr. critic over here. lol)

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