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.
Ratatouille (animation, comedy, family)
Directed by Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava
Starring the voices of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm and Janeane Garofalo
Disney / Buena Vista | 2007 | 111 min | Rated G | Released Nov 06, 2007
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: LPCM 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc
The Film 5/5
Remy (Oswalt) is a young rat with an enhanced sense of taste and smell. When he saves his dad from eating food laced with poison, he's given a job as food tester for the whole colony. Remy quickly becomes bored with the job and dreams of better things. After seeing a TV cooking show, he decides that he would like to be a chef. Unfortunately, he's almost killed by the TVs owner and the entire colony is discovered and forced to leave her house.
Remy is separated from his family and talks to an illustration of Gusteau, the TV chef, because he's alone and there's nobody else to talk to. When he discovers Gusteau's restaurant, he finds that he knows the function of every member of the staff. Remy gets into trouble when entering the kitchen, but he adds ingredients to the soup and the customers love it. He's discovered when trying to leave and Linguini (Romano), the kitchen boy, is told to kill him. But the worried look on Remy's face stops Linguini in his tracks and he realizes that Remy fixed the soup. The two decide to work together.
Although Remy can be understood by other rats, that's not the case with humans. Instead, he uses gestures to communicate and is very expressive. His tiny shrugs and nods are easy to understand. Quite by accident, Remy discovers that he can control Linguini by pulling at strands of his hair. The two practice at home and come up with a plan to do the same at the restaurant. He hides under Linguini's hat and continues to prepare food by controlling him.
The story is well thought out and quite complex in places for an animated film. The 111-minute running time is necessary to show everything in detail. The streets of Paris look real and it's clear that the Pixar team researched the setting thoroughly.
Linguini is trained by Colette (Garofalo) and starts to develop feelings for her, but it's Remy's skill that wins the approval of the restaurant's customers. Linguini is deeply resented by the Head Chef (Holm), who knows that Linguini is Gusteau's son and the restaurant's rightful owner. The problem is, Linguini doesn't know that.
The film is full of peril, chase scenes and humor, and has a little action. The characters are well developed and Remy is easy to like. It's challenging to make a rat appear friendly and lovable, but Pixar somehow pulls it off. Remy is always happy and smiling and chooses to walk upright on two feet. I think that was done to make him appear more like a human and less like a rat. He's also very particular about cleanliness and washes his paws before preparing any food.
The restaurant eventually captures the attention of food critics and is visited by Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole), who is the most famous critic of them all. He's hard to impress and had written off Gusteau's as insignificant years ago, but decides to see why it's become relevant again. One of my favorite scenes happens in the restaurant when Ego takes his first bite of food, but I'll let you discover what happens for yourself.
The film has a lot of important messages. It shows us that it's wrong to steal and that family is important. But most of all, it's about following your dreams. Remy is a rat. How can he possibly become a chef? Even if he did, how could he succeed? I imagine that children watching the film could be inspired by Remy's achievements. Maybe a few will grow up wanting to be chefs, and they are rarely out of work.
I can't watch the film without thinking about Hans Landa's speech in Inglourious Basterds where he asks Perrier LaPadite what his reaction would be if a rat entered his home. How would that differ if a squirrel were to enter? It's true that humans often have a problem with rats, and many of us actually fear them. It's quite an achievement to invent a rat that we like and root for as he attempts to live out his dream.
All of Pixar's movies are worth owning, but Ratatouille just edges out Up as my favorite. If they ever decide to do another sequel, I hope that we get another story about Remy. It's aimed at older audiences more than the likes of Cars and A Bug's Life, but children will still be able to enjoy it.
Well done, Pixar.
Video Quality 5/5
Ratatouille looks fantastic on Blu-ray. You can see the individual hairs in Remy's fur and the way it beads when he gets wet. The colors are striking and the sheer amount of detail in background scenes tells you all you need to know. This is a reference quality presentation that's ideal for showing off your home theater.
Audio Quality 5/5
The lossless LPCM 5.1 track is full of subtle detail and delivers well during all of the louder scenes. Although there's very little traditional action, your system will receive a full workout during chase scenes and when Remy is trying to avoid being captured. The sound has good depth and you'll hear the surrounds highlight quieter effects such as vegetables being chopped or background conversation in the restaurant. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and there's really nothing that falls short of perfection.
Special Features 3.5/5
Lifted (5:02, HD) - One of my favorite short films from Pixar.
Your Friend the Rat (11:16, HD) - Remy and Emil talk about the history of rats in an amusing way.
Gusteau's Gourmet Game - Control Linguini and help him meet incoming orders.
Fine Food and Film (13:54, HD) - Director Brad Bird and chef Thomas Keller talk about some of their ideas for the film.
Deleted Scenes (15:06) - Three scenes that were removed before they were finished.
Deleted Shots R.I.P. (3:12)
The Will (2:48) - With composer Michael Giacchino, featuring an alternate score for one of the scenes.
Remembering Dan Lee (3:00)
There are also five Easter eggs. Press the left button on your control while in the main menu. It works for the top or bottom item.
Ro-Dead Commercial (0:12, HD)
Yes! Shots (1:06)
How to Pronounce Ratatouille (0:55)
L'ecole Culinaire D'Pixar (1:02)
Producer Plays Trombone (0:50)
Pixar has produced some wonderful films and all are worth owning. The Blu-ray presentations are all just about perfect and Ratatouille is no exception. The film has heart and warmth and is a fun place to visit. It doesn't have the constant action of some titles, but the story is gripping throughout. Adults will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of the story, although very small children may lose interest. That would be a shame, because I rank it as Pixar's best, and that's saying a lot.
RATATOUILLE  [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray] [UK Release] Absolutely Sensational! Visually Breathtaking! Super-Smart . . . Funny . . . . Complete Magic!
From the creators of 'CARS' and 'The Incredibles' brings to you an animated adventurous breakthrough hilarious comedy with something for everyone. With delightful characters, experience Paris from a new perspective, and savour a gourmet Blu-ray 3D experience for the first time ever!
In one of Paris' finest restaurants, Remy [Patton Oswalt], a determined young rat, dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. Torn between his family's wishes and his true calling, Remy and his pal Linguini [Lou Romano] set in motion a hilarious chain of events that turns the City of Lights upside down.
Experience 'RATATOUILLE' with the revolutionary clarity and spectacular audio enhancement. It's a rare treat you'll enjoy again and again. But a word of warning to you Blu-ray Collectors in North America, that this Blu-ray 3D is UK Exclusive, and is only available in the Region B/2 version.
FILM FACT Part One: Awards and Nominations: Academy Awards®: Nominated: Best Original Score. Nominated: Best Sound Editing. Nominated: Best Sound Mixing. Nominated: Best Original Screenplay. Nominated: Best Animated Film. Broadcast Film Critics: Won: Best Animated Feature. BAFTA® Awards: Won: Best Animated Feature. Golden Globes® Awards: Won: Best Animated Feature.
FILM FACT Part Two: The Pizza Planet truck appears on the bridge over the Seine River in the scene where Skinner chases Remy. During a street scene, Bomb Voyage can be seen in the background as a mime. The boy watching the mime is young Anton Ego (from Anton's flashback). Bomb Voyage is also featured on the front page of the newspaper in which Colette reads Solene LeClaire's review. A shadow of Dug from the later feature 'UP' can be seen as Remy runs through an apartment. When Linguini is trying to find a place for Remy to hide, it is revealed his boxers have The Incredibles logo on them. Several Chinese food boxes matching the one Manny and Gypsy used to perform their act in 'A Bug's Life' can be seen inside Linguini's fridge. A poster with Mr. Incredible's supersuit is briefly seen during the scene where Skinner chases Remy. When Remy tries to feel the taste of the strawberry, a few notes from the song "Bella Notte" from 'Lady and the Tramp' can be heard playing. Some caviar seen in Gusteau's pantry is branded "Nemo," the name of Marlin's son in 'Finding Nemo.' When Linguini was going to fit his bike on the back of the TV, he did not switch on the lights. When it was off, Hal the cockroach from the next feature 'Wall-E' appeared. Linguini has a soccer ball on his shelf, which is the same soccer ball from the robot kid at the beginning of 'Monsters Inc.' A113, which is a popular name for the three 'Toy Story' films and 'WALL-E,' appears on an ear tag on the tough rat's ear.
Voice Cast: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett, Julius Callahan, James Remar, John Ratzenberger, Teddy Newton, Tony Fucile, Jake Steinfeld, Brad Bird, Stéphane Roux, Jack Bird, Andrea Boerries, Marco Boerries, Lindsey Collins, Thomas Keller, Brad Lewis and Lori Richardson
Director: Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava (co-director)
Producers: Andrew Stanton, Brad Lewis, Galyn Susman and John Lasseter
Screenplay: Brad Bird (original story), Jan Pinkava (original story) and Jim Capobianco (original story)
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Robert Anderson and Sharon Calahan
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, English: 2.0 Dolby Digital, English: 2.0 Descriptive Video Service, English: 5.1 PCM EX, French: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround and German: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, French and German
Running Time: 111 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 2
Studio: PIXAR Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: When PIXAR first announced 'RATATOUILLE' as its next project, a lot of people were sceptical, especially an animated film about rats cooking in a French restaurant? It sounded completely unappetising and, to be blunt, like commercial suicide. How do you sell such a potentially sophisticated and just plain foreign concept to the American masses? As big a fan as I'd been of the company's stellar past work, I just couldn't see this one as being a hit.
But, oh ye of little faith! 'RATATOUILLE' proved to be the little rodent that could, not only surmounting its marketing challenges with ease and it grossed nearly $600 million at the worldwide box office, and still counting, but proving to be 2007's most delightful surprise. It's an absolutely enchanting concoction and a movie so imaginative and delightful that yes, I would rank it right up there with the absolute best that PIXAR has yet produced.
'RATATOUILLE' 3D is deceptively sublime, a stunning film that appears as light as a soufflé but is really quite a sophisticated dish. Although the concept of a talking rat film is hardly anything new. PIXAR has never been interested in churning out the same old kind of frantic, cluttered, pop-culture-referencing stew that usually passes for an animated movie these days. Instead, under the mindful direction of Brad Bird who brought you 'The Incredibles' and 'The Iron Giant' we get a story that's downright literary, and a dynamic cinematic style that borrows from such a disparate bag of classical traditions, that frankly it's unlike anything I've ever seen in a mainstream animated feature. Who else but PIXAR could combine the slapstick farce of Charlie Chaplin, elegant visuals right out of a Seurat painting, and a Cyrano de Bergerac inspired tale about a bunch of chefs and rats cooking together, and somehow make it universally resonant?
In 'RATATOUILLE' 3D Brad Bird returns to two key themes he also explored in 'The Incredibles' and the importance of pursuing excellence over mediocrity, and the always-unbreakable bonds of family. 'Ratatouille' frames its story in the most unlikely of places, however, and with the most unlikely of heroes. Remy (voiced astonishingly well by comedian Patton Oswalt) is a blue rat blessed with one very cultured palate. He's smart, fastidious, talented and filled with grand dreams of being the world's greatest chef, much to the consternation of his slacker but still good-natured brother Emile [Peter Sohn] and his grizzled father Django [Brian Dennehy], who both find his determination to create culinary masterpieces a sure sign of madness.
Following an unexpected series of events that see Remy and his family evicted from their rural haven, the plot kicks into high gear, with Remy forced to escape through the sewers (in the first of one of many beautifully staged action sequences), and winding up in Paris. Following his nose as much as his ambition, he discovers a small restaurant once owned by the legendary chef Aususte Gusteau, whose famous motto "Anyone can cook" had an immediate influence on Remy. Sneaking in late one night to add a little spice to a soup, the next day the dish is suddenly a sensation.
This leads to the film's odd-couple pairing, as the restaurant's completely untalented garbage boy, Linguini [Lou Romano], is pegged as the chef of the soup. Desperate to keep his new star job, Linguini employs Remy's services as a "ghost chef," which leads to a classic series of complications. Can Remy and Linguini find a way to work together and avoid discovery? Things get even more complicated after Linguini falls for the kitchen's beautiful Colette [Janeane Garofalo], and a particularly nasty restaurant critic [a brilliant and terrific Peter O'Toole] begins asking one too many questions about the nature of the dish.
The 3D works on every level. It's funny and intelligent, wonderfully written and performed, and has an incredible visual zest and buoyancy. An exceptional attention to detail has always been a hallmark of the best PIXAR films, and ' RATATOUILLE' is superlative even by their high standards. Brad Bird, and his team of writers, animators and actors have fully conceived and executed a unique universe that feels alive and real. It's also a structural feat of engineering, with Bird effortlessly alternating between rodent and human perspectives. This is masterful storytelling, not just great animation or cute characters, and by the time 'RATATOUILLE' has delivered 111 minutes you have found time has flown by, we feel like we've only scratched the surface of this magical, fantastic new world.
Ultimately, what impressed me the most about 'RATATOUILLE' 3D is that it dares to be totally original. Once again, PIXAR has proven that it is not only by far the best producer of animated movies on the planet, especially now in the stunning 3D version, but it's a company that has no intention of resting on its creative laurels. I can only hope PIXAR continues to nurture these instincts, because for me, they've never stepped wrong. 'RATATOUILLE' 3D stands tall among ever-growing canon of PIXAR classics, and I can't wait to see what's next on their menu.
Blu-ray Video Quality ' PIXAR and Disney presents 'RATATOUILLE' in a totally awesome 1080p 3D video image at its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and every single pixel is, well totally perfect. This is simply the best 3D high-definition presentation I've ever seen of an animated feature, apart from the 3D 'UP.' A direct digital-to-digital conversion, the transfer is as delicious as the greatest French feast you've ever had. The film's colour palette is just absolutely gorgeous, with delicate shades of pinks, blues and greens contrasting wonderfully with deeper crimsons and purples. The finely-tuned shadings and gradients are so smoothly rendered that the image leaps off the screen. This is gloriously three-dimensional animation, and the sense of depth and texture to the image is exactly what high-definition is all about. All other elements of this presentation are superb as well as the black contrast and sharpness are spot-on. Simply put the picture quality of this Blu-ray edition of 'Ratatouille' 3D is absolutely flawless. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality ' The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track on this Blu-ray disc is absolutely stunning. 'RATATOUILLE' 3D is more warm and subtle, but no less engrossing. This is a perfect example of how fantastic great sound design can be and should be even when it's not ramming you over the head with bombast. This soundtrack is not unlike a great fine wine. From every word of dialogue to the wonderful score by Michael Giacchino, it all just seems to slide out of the speakers. Completely constructed in the studio, it's just so clean and smooth. The use of surrounds is just as elegant. Atmosphere is king here, with transparent pans between channels and excellent spatiality, which delivers a constant sense of envelopment yet is never overpowering. And lest one thinks dynamics might be wimpy, low bass is certainly deep enough when needed, especially waiting for the lightning bolt to hit the 2 rats on the roof, well really feel it, and the robust highs are equally wonderful. Dialogue is perfectly rendered, and I never even thought of touching the volume button on my remote.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature Documentary: Fine Food and Film: 'Fine Food and Film' takes a look inside the kitchen of world-renowned chef Thomas Keller and the studio of Academy Award® winning director Brad Bird. Find out how these two artists get their ideas, inspire their crews and instil passion and creativity into their work.
Special Feature: Animated Shorts:
1. Your Friend The Rat: Rats are Disgusting? Or just misunderstood? Join Remy and Emile, as they attempt to persuade humanity that rats aren't all that bad.
2. Lifted: A young alien student tests the patience of an increasingly weary instructor, as he attempts to abduct an innocently slumbering farmer in 'Lifted,' the comical latest short film from PIXAR Animated Studios.
Special Feature: Cine-Explore:
Animated Briefing: Behind-the-scenes individual videotaped segments featuring Brad Bird leading his story team through various meetings about a particular scene. Each runs between 3 and 5 minutes, and combine to make this is a very tight but comprehensive hour-long documentary.
Documentary Shorts: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of 'RATATOUILLE.'
Deleted Scenes: Early story explanations in scenes that were deleted from the final film. They are Chez Gusteau, First Day and Meet Gusteau.
Deleted Shots R.I.P.: A tribute to shots cut from the final film sequences left on the cutting room floor. Actually, this extra is a bit of a trick 'n' treat, but I won't spoil the surprise, just watch it on your own and have a chuckle.
Gusteau's Gourment Game: Anyone can cook, but are you talented enough to run Gusteau's kitchen? I personally gave up on this, as it was far too complicated and they should of made it so much clearer on how to set up a meal?
Special Feature: Extras:
The Will: Here is short 3 minute vignette with composer Michael Giacchino, who offers the opportunity to see a scene with two different scores, the one that appears in the final version, and an alternate that was shelved.
Remembering Dan Lee: A very sweet 3 minute tribute to a young PIXAR animator who passed away during the making of 'RATATOUILLE.' Whose untimely death from cancer, which cut short a really wonderful talented career.
Finally, 'RATATOUILLE' 3D stands tall among the tallest of PIXAR animation accomplishments. It's adventurous, witty, visually captivating and utterly charming. This Blu-ray release has now been brought to us in a stunning 3D presentation that is now even more fantastic, boasting absolutely stunning perfect 3D image and stunning audio, plus a great package of beautiful extras. As you will of seen I have reviewed loads of next-gen 3D and 2D Blu-ray discs over the last year and a half, and most of them have received a perfect five star rating overall, but I'm happy to report that 'Ratatouille' 3D has been added to my list of other stunning 3D Blu-ray presentations for me and of course PIXAR goes to the top of the list. This is a definite must-own disc that no Blu-ray Collection should be without. And as you will have read I had the stunning 'RATATOUILLE' 2D Limited Edition SteelBook, which has now disappeared and I now have upgraded to the ultimate 'RATATOUILLE' 3D version, that has exceeded my expectations in having the ultimate version and as usual PIXAR have done a very professional presentation and is up there on par with my PIXAR animation 'UP' Limited Edition SteelBook 3D Blu-ray and I can assure you that 'RATATOUILLE' 3D is totally stunning, and I cannot praise it enough, as it has awesome 3D images that will blow you away and it is such an honour to have another stunning PIXAR animation added to my ever increasing PIXAR Animation Studios Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller ' Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom