"Ratatouille": simply delightful

I’ve never eaten the meal, but the film is an utter joy to behold, the first great film I’ve seen in theaters this summer (granted, I’ve only seen one other, the decent enough "Spider-Man 3"). Without divulging important story details, I will say that director Brad Bird (whose "The Iron Giant" was very good, and "The Incredibles" was, well, incredible) has served notice to all the other animation studios—including his bosses at Disney—that the pop culture-ish, star-powered, sex-and-scatological humor-driven claptrap they’ve served us in the past ("Happy Feet," "Surf’s Up," "Flushed Away," "Madagascar," etc., etc.), like the garbage indiscriminately eaten by the rat characters in the film, just doesn’t cut it anymore.

No, scratch that. Make that every studio, every filmmaker in existence. Y’all just got schooled, so take note.

Here is a film where—finally!—the story takes center stage. And what a wonderfully engaging story it is. Where most movies would end turns out to be merely the midpoint of the film. And just when you think the movie’s ready to wrap everything up with a tidy red bow, with just a few words everything changes entirely, making the ultimate ending that much more satisfying.

The visual look of the film alone is absolutely astounding. (A notice at the end of the credit reel states that the movie is "100% Genuine Animation—no motion capture or other performance shortcuts were utilized.") The little details are everywhere: chipped, gouged, and weathered wood; burnished copper kettles with scratches from repeated use; the magnificent Parisian cityscape; and the food! Everything has the perfect level of texture, transparency, and "presence" to make you believe that you’re looking at grapes or onions or carrots or cheese.

And the bread! Oh my heavens, they got bread right. You will be knocked off your feet.

Well, I could go on. "Ratatouille" may not have the same excitement and "cool" factor as "The Incredibles," but what a wonderfully satisfying movie it is. I savored every moment of it (as did Cassia), and happily anticipate revisiting it again and again on DVD.

(Tip: Find a digital cinema [sometimes called "DLP"] near you for the best possible visual experience. Most of the Carmike Cinemas have completely converted over to digital projection, and several newer theaters have digital auditoriums as well. Your eyes will not stop thanking you.)

As for Bird . . . well, he could make a movie about the phone book and I’d be one of the first people in line.

10/10

One Response to “"Ratatouille": simply delightful”

  1. We’re excited to see it!

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