Ratatouille (U)

This is an archived post from Wishes on Eyelashes, a previous incarnation of this site.

With success comes inevitable criticism, as Pixar have found of late. Yes, The Incredibles didn’t have the panache of the original Toy Story, and okay Cars didn’t revel in the same detailed narrative as, say, Monster’s Inc, but we are still talking about the single greatest animation studio since the golden age of Disney.

Ratatouille has had a similarly luke warm reception from the critics, most sighting it’s lack of humour and sensible plot. Unfortunately, like the cynical and bitter restaurant reviewer in the film, Anton Ego (voiced by the superb Peter O’Toole), most of these critics seemed to have forgotten why we fell in love with Pixar in the first place.

This is a company that makes animated movies for kids. Sure, parents across the world reveled in Toy Story’s innuendo, clever humour and in-jokes, but, like the rest of Pixar’s output, it was a film initially aimed at children.

In the same breath, despite all expectations of sophisticated adult entertainment, in Ratatouille Pixar has delivered yet another movie which is essentially a masterpiece in how to make children’s animation.

The star of the show is the infinitely cute Rat, Remy, who abandons his unadventurous family to undertake a career in catering. He ends up partnering the imbecilic Alfredo Linguini, the new boy in the failing, but formerly great Gusteau’s restaurant in Paris.

This unlikely pairing comes via the medium of a rodent with impeccable tastebuds and a complicated system of pulling hair that results to Remy being able to control Linguini’s movements. So yes, the premise when laid bear is ridiculous to the average man, but of course to children, and those who have a heart big enough to find the child inside themselves again for two hours, it is simply magical.

The film also portrays all the usual textbook Disney guidance of family values and the pursuit of excellence whilst tackling those obstacles that get in your way of achieving your goals.

On the surface Ratatouille is cute and cuddly, but with some fine performances (notably from Patton Oswalt and Lou Romano) under the expert direction of Brad Bird, the film is possibly one of the best animated films to have ever graced cinema screens, reminding us of the romance in life that so many of us seem to have forgotten.