Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ratatouille is awesome. You'd think a movie about a rat as a gourmet chef wouldn't quite work out, but there isn't a single moment in the movie where I went "hang on, now, this couldn't possibly work in real life." Not that I'm saying the plot's plausible (it's not, if you step back and think about it even for a second), but the way the story's told just draws you in for the entire two hours.

Remy, the aforementioned gourmet chef-rat blessed with an amazing sense of smell, looks very much like a rat, even if he does walk on two legs, as opposed to four (to avoid having to clean his paws every time he touches food). He's an incredibly adorable rat too. If his cute face doesn't get to you, then his expressive gestures will. When Linguini, the garbage boy of the restaurant who Remy hooks up with to help him cook, asks him if he cook, Remy shrugs in one of those uniquely Gallic shrugs which say so much. On one level, the shrug says, "eh, a little," while on another level, it says, "I'm a kitchen genius, but I'm being modest." His gestures say so much that it's entirely believable that human and rat can communicate.

This isn't just a show about passion, and how far it can take you. It's also about family, and how, sometimes, we need to put aside what we feel is right for others, and trust them to make their own decisions, and to help them along the way, even if we don't entirely agree. There's a moment in the show when Remy and his father, Django, who is innately distrustful of humans, meet, and Django tells Remy that if he's determined to choose his path (of being a chef), then the entire family will be behind him and help him do what needs to be done. I couldn't help but tear up at the moment, even though I tried really hard to hide it from my movie-watching companion.

In addition to the animation of the characters, you can tell that a lot went into the scenery as well. There're scenes when the camera pans around to reveal the Paris skyline at night - from the Eiffel Tower to the Notre Dame to who knows what else - and it is absolutely breathtaking. I have been to that city a couple of times, but nothing has ever struck me as much as the beauty of that animated skyline.

I'm not going to say much more about the movie other than "go see it!" as I'm quite short on sleep (although I will also add that you need to watch out for a funny yet touching scene towards the end when feared restaurant critic, Anton Ego, tries Remy's signature dish, ratatouille). If you don't like rats, perhaps this isn't a show for you, but even then, I'd advise you to push your fears and hatred aside and just try and catch this show.

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