Brad Bird’s first film was the brilliant science fiction animation The Iron Giant and Ratatouille shows that he is just getting better. It is marketed to children, but is so smart and multi-layered that it is most undoubtedly adult entertainment as well. This film really invokes all sorts of work, some light hearted like The Ugly Duckling and Dumbo, but some very dark like George Orwell’s Down and Out in London and Paris and China Miéville’s King Rat. Ratatouille pulls the most out of a very simple story.
The main premise is about a rat named Remy, who has the gift to cook. A connoisseur of fine food, Remy manages to help a bumbling garbage boy with no self confidence, Linguini, become the talk of Paris, by using him as his avatar to cook Paris’ finest cuisine. However Remy has a dilemma – now that he has risen to stardom, his family try to bring him back to the colony because of their distrust for humans, and Linguini begins to let the fame and fortune go to his head. It all heads to a hilarious, poignant and insightful climax.
Everything in this film is pretty much spot on. The animation is totally cutting edge. The voice actors are all perfect – Patton Oswalt and Lou Romano should be heading for big things after this film. A film that is about rats – something that humans instinctually fear, and cooking – something that humans instinctually love, should be pretty hard to pull off, but the brilliance of Brad Bird and the team at Pixar bring it together, and it really works.