If you love quality films and think Pixar is leading the industry in innovation and storytelling, you owe it to yourself to see "Ratatouille." Pixar will only maintain creative control over its product so long as they are earning money for Disney. Unlike its predecessors Cars, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille failed to earn even $50 million in its opening weekend. A lot of money, yes, but not a good sign for the investors.
Money aside, Pixar has proved once again that they can do what no one else can: create fully realized CG worlds that are only secondary to the story being told. The CG here is simply marvelous. Paris comes to life, the food is so realistic you want to reach out and eat it, and the rats move with a delicate grace that is at the same time cartoonish and believable. But what truly sets Pixar apart from every other animation studio is that they can walk that line between animated reality and cartoon absurdity. The key, here, is the people that inhabit the worlds they've created. They don't look remotely realistic. They look, in fact, much like the humans in The Incredibles. Overlarge heads, exaggerated limbs, and a fluidity of movement that can only be recreated in a movie. Unlike Shrek, or Ice Age, or any other CG movie, Ratatouille allows it's humans be to be cartoons, but they surround them with the most realistic world imaginable. This effect isn't disconcerting, it frees the viewer to sit back and simply absorb everything.
Like their previous efforts, the story is everything. Remy is a rat who loves to cook and he befriends a young man who can't cook, but works in the kitchen of a famous restaurant. The story is both hilarious and exciting. It never falls into melodramatic traps, and the characters act in believable ways - they don't simply do what the writers think they should do to advance the plot to a happy conclusion.
In short, this is not a formulaic film. It balances ingenuity, wit, and skill, and produces one of the finest films in it's category. I don't know if this is the best Pixar film yet, but it's at least the equal of Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc, Toy Story, and The Incredibles. In fifty years, we'll all be looking back on Pixar as the finest example of a creative force in Hollywood. Let's hope Disney allows them to continue making films their way.
At the end of the day, the family and I have no problem with "Ratatouille". And I can find fault with just about every movie I see.