Happy holidays, folks! Thought I’d mark the occasion with… a movie that isn’t about Christmas in the slightest. Maybe I’ll watch one or two more festive-based movies before the year is out, but to be honest, I just really fancied a brief sabbatical from them. And let’s face it, watching any family film at this time of year always feels kind of ’tis the season anyway, right?
Most people have already seen and love Ratatouille, but I might as well give you a brief summary in lieu of any ignorance. So, a rat named Remy (no, his name is absolutely not Ratatouille) is a little rat with big dreams. His family – which is quite large, since they’re rats – are content with stealing scraps of food and garbage from the houses of humans to get by, but Remy? He has bigger fish to fry. Literally. Remy dreams of becoming a world famous chef, and when he ends up in the sewers of Paris, he befriends a young man who has just started a job in one of the best restaurants in France, and the pair of them turn the culinary world of fine dining upside down.
Just for some context and my own record, I have just four Pixar films to go and I’ll have finally completed the studio’s entire back catalogue. (For reference, the four I haven’t seen yet are WALL-E, Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur and Incredibles 2. Don’t ask me why I’ve avoided those four specifically – I’m sure I’ll get round to them eventually.)
Maybe the animation isn’t as fancy and cutting edge as some of Pixar’s more recent features, but the detail is outstanding if you know where to look. The use of light and shadow, the reflections and changes in opacity, the insane realism in the depictions of the food: all excellent. It’s crazy that this movie came out in 2007 yet still looks like it could have been released in 2017.
Whilst I enjoyed Ratatouille for the most part, something about the pacing did put me off a little. It seems awfully long for the contents of the plot, which gets off to a flying start but then – I don’t wanna say it but – it drags a little in the mid-section. Sorry, Remy stans. It’s mostly entertaining for sure, I’m just surprised that more people don’t have qualms with the film’s editing.
And here comes the money shot, or rather the money sequence. Without a doubt, the best part visually is where we see all of the rats operating the kitchen; it’s so masterfully done that it almost looks like a piece of choreography. In fact, it’s almost as good as that super satisfying bit in Toy Story 2 with “The Cleaner”, Geri. (Almost.) I could watch an entire 20 minutes that just included of variations of that scenario.
On the grand scale of Pixar feature films, I wouldn’t say that Ratatouille would endanger my top 3, (Coco, Toy Story 2, Inside Out), but it’s absolutely Top 10-worthy. Strangely enough, it comes fourth on an audience ratings list of Pixar movies over on Letterboxd.com, so I guess a lot of people really loved this movie… but for me, several others just outrank it.
Ratatouille is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
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