Nwabudike_J_Morgan, le Quatrieme - #31: Ratatouille (2007)

2021.09.19 06:33 Nwabudike_J_Morgan Nwabudike_J_Morgan, le Quatrieme - #31: Ratatouille (2007)

Ratatouille (2007) Date started: 5/2/2021
Date watched: One day in August
Written and directed by Brad Bird
We have a family joke that whenever it rains on a school day or there is a substitute teacher or a field trip is cancelled, the students eventually wind up in the auditorium and get to watch slightly less than an hour of Ratatouille. There are plenty of G-rated school-appropriate cartoons to watch, but Ratatouille has been the go-to rainy day movie here for over a decade. And no one ever gets to watch more than about 55 minutes.
Which might be why I thought I had actually watched this before, though I had not.
Ratatouille is a movie about a rat with a gift for cooking and his need to share it with others, be they rat or human. The premise is wholly bizarre, and the story is packed with a parade of strange characters. There is the hallucinatory Gusteau, a deceased cookbook author and former 5 star restaurant owner; his unknown son Linguini; Remy the rat; Remy's family (dozens of rats); Skinner the greedy restaurant manager; Anton Ego the joyless food critic; and all sorts of additional odd characters in the kitchen. This seems to be a common element in Bird's scripts, he likes to fill the world up with plenty of secondary characters, giving us the sense that there are all sorts of stories going on, this isn't a cardboard world.
The pacing is good, and there is a lot of ground to cover. The story has to get Remy from the French countryside into Paris, and then to the restaurant, then establish the relationship between Remy and Linguini. Then it has to resolve the conflict between Linguini and Skinner over who controls the restaurant. And then you find yourself in La Quatrième Dimension / The Twilight Zone: A French restaurant with a kitchen operated by hundreds of rats.
But I have seen this before! Or at least I remember the scene where Anton Ego takes a bite of the titular ratatouille and is transported back to his childhood. It is a nice climactic moment that works perfectly with the rest of the wackiness.
The visual effects, all of that fuzzy rat fur, are top quality. Of course realistic rat fur is something that the CGI people have been working on since Mouse Hunt (1997), which I saw right before starting this challenge. There are some interesting similarities between the films.
It is an enjoyable movie, but the premise is so alien and the story is too tightly wound, too much tension. There are no savory bites, no frivolous moments to just enjoy Paris. They are in Paris! Have some wine!
Rating: 7+ / 10
Untitled Rodent Project (2007)
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