by H. Thomas
**** 4 Stars
‘Filled with the fantastic mixture of comedy and inspiration that many Pixar films are known to have, this film is yet another creation in the Disney works that is heartwarming and entertaining throughout.’
Directors: Jan Pinkava & Brad Bird
Cast: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano & Brad Garrett
Ratatouille depicts the story of a young rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) with a passion for cooking who, tired of living in a colony eating human’s leftovers, escapes into the streets of Paris and finds his way into a restaurant. While trying to escape the cruel head chef Skinner’s (Ian Holm) attempts to rid him from the kitchen, he runs into Linguini (Lou Romano), an equally out-of-his-depth young man who has been hired at the restaurant as a garbage boy, but fumbles his way into cooking while trying to fix a soup he spilled. Remy assists him in cooking and fixes the soup, spurring on Skinner to force Linguini to cook it again. Desperate for help, Linguini keeps Remy and finds the rat is able to control him by tugging his hair. Hiding Remy under his hat each day at work, Linguini becomes a better cook and the two develop an unlikely friendship, finding out that Linguini is the son of the original owner of the restaurant, Gusteau (Brad Garrett) and serving a finally satisfactory meal to Paris’ harshest critic Anton Ego along the way. Remy’s success follows Gusteau’s message throughout the film: “Anyone can cook.”
Filled with the fantastic mixture of comedy and inspiration that many Pixar films are known to have, this film is yet another creation in the Disney works that is heartwarming and entertaining throughout, with audiences rooting for Remy and Linguini’s success from the start as they are established as struggling, kindhearted characters that deserve a happily-ever-after. The issues of family, insecurity, struggling for fame and love are all brought up and addressed expertly and the ending is a perfect Pixar example of things not working out exactly the way they were expected to, but still creating joy for the characters nonetheless. However, there are a few questionable things about the plot; as heartwarming as the stereotype-breaking character of Remy is, Gusteau’s message that anyone can cook may not always apply to real life, and I’m sure there have been at least a few shocked parents who have found a rat in their kitchen a lot less thrilling than Remy’s adventure. Furthermore the lack of female main characters is also striking, with Colette being the sole, scary and resilient female character with a large portion of the film dedicated to her, which may perhaps be less than inspiring to young girls watching with a passion to cook. Despite this, the film is still full of so much of what you would want in a children’s film, and for this reason the questionable segments can almost be overlooked in favour of the true moral of this wonderful story.
Ratatouille is currently available on Disney + & Sky. It was rated U by the BBFC.