Ratatouille (2007), Written and Directed by Brad Bird
Overall Ranking: 7.5/10
Starting in no particular order, my father and I first watched Ratatouille which is one of the few Pixar films we actually own. This film is one I know many children have found boring based on interviewing the children I babysit. But I always liked this movie as a child and really loved the message about how anyone can do anything.
The story surrounds Remy who dreams of being a chef, inspired by famed chef Gusteau, but there’s one problem: he’s a rat. Accidentally landing in Paris after being separated from his family Remy finds a janitor, Linguini, working at Gusteau’s remaining restaurant. The unlikely pair join together to fulfill Remy’s lifelong dream and allow Linguini to live a better life. Head chef Skinner starts suspecting something is going on with Linguini and catches glimpses of the rat underneath his hat. It is up to Remy and Linguini to keep their secret a health inspector, Skinner, and the other workers in the kitchen, all while finding the perfect recipe to create for Anton Ego, the harshest food critic in all of France.
As we watched this film I leaned over to my dad and mentioned that Ratatouille is such a good movie to see how Pixar’s creative team approaches movies. The conversation in the production room probably went something like this:
“Cooking movie…in France…there’s this undiscovered chef who is super good at what he does but no one has discovered him and he doesn’t have the means to go to school. What’s his backstory?”
“He could be poor?”
“Guys we’re Pixar we have to do better than that. What if he’s a rat? What if a rat tried to cook in a gourmet kitchen?”
Pixar takes all of our societal expectations and flips them on their head and that is what makes their movie superior.
Overall, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the characters. The two villains, Skinner and Anton, had distinguishable motives that allowed their conflicts with the main characters to not be similar in the slightest. Linguini’s sheepish personality partnered with Remy’s fierce ambition made them the perfect team that the audience could root for. Colette was also a bold and dynamic female character which brought flavor (no pun intended) to the story.
My problems with the film are minor. Compared to the other films produced by this company, this storyline was relatively simple and didn’t really have an impact on the way I think or my life. It is enjoyable in the moment with great attention to detail, however the storyline and the characters were not ones that I could relate to or that stayed with me as I grew up.