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Thursday, February 07, 2008

MOVIE REVIEW: Ratatouille

In the mid 1980s, I lived in this apartment in Albany where there was a big field in the back. I suffered the most virulent mouse invasion I've ever experienced. It wasn't just mice in the low cabinets and along the floor boards. It was beasties in the upper cabinets. I remember putting a box of elbow macaroni on top of the refrigerator and discovered that a live mouse was still in it. Ultimately I set traps, usually four each night for about three weeks before the mouse hotline alerted its fellow travelers that this was not a safe house to be in.

The very premise of a movie about a rodent, a RAT, no less, preparing food was, to say the least, unappealing to me. Still, I went to the parlor of my church a couple Tuesdays ago, and saw Ratatouille with eight other adults, and no children. In fact, I may have been the youngest one there. I was totally captivated by this film. Among other things, there are scenes that are laugh-out-loud hysterical.

Establishing Remy as a sympathetic iconoclast foodie allows the rest of the story to flow, from Remy finding the once-famed Gusteau's restaurant in Paris to saving the young man Linguini from culinary disaster to what follows. There is a frantic wonder in that early kitchen scene that was breathtaking. If the movie isn't quite up to that level throughout, it's still high on my list of favorite films for the year.

This is yet another PIXAR success. In addition to the wonderful writing and direction of Brad Bird, and luscious artwork, I loved the voice actors, including Patton Oswalt as Remy and Lou Romano as Linguini, plus Ian Holm, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett, and Peter O'Toole as the food critic Anton Ego.


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