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You Dirty Ratatouille
Today I had the privilege of seeing Pixar's 8 feature-length release, and the current front-runner to receive the 2007 Best Animated Oscar.
That film is Ratatouille. It revolves around Remy an adorable little rodent who desires to be a great chef, and Linguine, a bumbling but well-intentioned nerd who helps Remy become a great chief. The movie begins in a French country-side house where Remy and his disapproving rat brethren ("shutup and eat your garbage" says Remy's father when Remy complains about wanting high-quality food) are driven away by a miserable elderly French hag. Through his escape from the French hag, Remy lands in a Parisian restaurant created by a famous French chef named Gusteau. Gusteau took his own live after a bad review from a famous food critic named Anton Ego, but Gusteau still appears in Remy's imagination to offer various pieces of advice, such as "anybody can cook" and "stealing is wrong". Through Gusteau's inspiration and Linguini's bumbling nature, Remy and Linguini become cooks in a partnership that may bring Gusteau's restaurant back to it's former glory. Complicating matters are a feisty female cook, an asshole of a head chef, the reunion between Remy and his disapproving family, and snarling food critic Anton Ego.
Do not be afraid of Ratatouille's 110-minute running time, this movie has a far-quicker pace that some 90-minute movies. If you are a kid, you'll love the Looney Tune-esqe slapstick. Through accident, Remy can control Linguini like a puppet by pulling on his hair. It's a real thrill to see Linguini make body motions that are completely against his will. If you are older, you will appreciate the message this movie provides: no dream is too important, if you work hard enough and never stop believing you can achieve anything. This not the first time that message has been told in an animated film, but it's a lesson that's worth repeating. That is not the only thing this movie has to tell us. Like Remy, we as humans must decide whether to go our own way or do what our family tells us. We must also decide whether it's better to be respected doing things that make us miserable or to be disrespected doing things that make us feel happy. Not since Amadeus has such an enjoyable movie asked such serious questions.
I left this movie feeling really wonderful and enchanted. Enchanted because I saw the good guys get what they deserve, enchanted because I saw the jerks get what they deserve. I felt enchanted because I witnessed the marvelous performance of Peter O'Toole as the crusty but lovable food critic Anton Ego. The way Peter O'Toole used the word "Perspective", I couldn't help but get goosebumps, and I mean that as a high compliment.
While I still await The Simpsons Movie with great anticipation, now I highly doubt it will win the Best Animated Feature Oscar, because it'll have to be really good to beat Ratatouille's magic.
My grade (out of 4 stars): 4