Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rodent Cuisine

There’s a rat in the kitchen…

And it is a very good thing.

A group of us went to see Pixar’s RATATOUILLE on Sunday.

Okay, I already said Pixar, so I shouldn’t have to say anything else, but I will anyway. And I will start by saying that the movie has a few major handicaps.

First, a new Pixar short shows before the movie, and it is HI-larious! Which only sets the bar really high from the get go.

Second, this is the story of a rat who ends up cooking in a restaurant. A disgusting idea.

And third… Oh, forget about the handicaps – they only work to make the experience more delightful!

Brad Bird helms the project (I know you have seen THE INCREDIBLES, so good for you; and if you haven’t seen THE IRON GIANT get over yourselves and see it now). Brad does his usual… hey, you! I said go see THE IRON GIANT now! Why are you still reading?!!!

Sorry about that (someone has to mess it up for the rest of us). As I was saying, he does his usual job of turning things on their head. A kiddie flick about superheroes that is really an adult film about family? Sure. A story about a boy and his made-as-a-weapon-ready-to-destroy-the-world robot having heart-warming depth? Why not?

Just give him your French rat in a kitchen challenge, and he and the sous-chefs of Pixar will whip it up into a soufflé so intricately light and beautiful, you will ask for more.


Funny? Oh, ho ho ho, yes.

Beautifully animated? Told with visual panache and elegance, check.

Has heart? Hey, this is Pixar – of course it has heart to spare!

And it has surprise…

The folks at the bouncing desklamp are known for spending time making their stories tight. But not just tight – surprising and tight. And I don’t mean with the big twists (the rat was dead all the time! No wait, that is a different movie…)

I mean within the basic plot. Certain things need to happen in the story, and we as an audience know they need to happen. For example, in this plot, the food critic will have to, at some point, review the restaurant.

But how it is done… ah! That is where the master cook comes in. Salt and pepper will work just fine; we have seen salt and pepper work fine before.

But the master thinks wider than salt and pepper to spices that we would never have thought of – yet once tasted we think, “but of course! Saffron is perfect!”

And it is just those touches, those dashes of unexpected perfectly chosen spice that makes RATATOUILLE quite possibly my favorite in a long line of favorite Pixar movies.

So get a comfortable table, an appropriate bottle of wine (or tub of popcorn), relax, and enjoy your meal.

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

Great movie! Also the first animated pic I have seen that included a statement in the credits like this: "Guaranteed 100% animated - no motion capture."
The craftsmanship extends to every level.


Shon Little said...

Yes, me likey too.