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Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett, Julius Callahan, James Remar, John Ratzenberger, Teddy Newton, Tony Fucile, Jake Steinfeld, Brad Bird, Laurent Spelvogel (narrator)
Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”)
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
“A comedy with great taste.”
“I’ve always believed with hard work and a little bit of luck, it’s only a matter of time before I’m discovered!”
From Academy Award-winning director Brad Bird and Pixar Animation Studios comes RATATOUILLE. A heart warming story about being an outcast, unlikely friendships, believing in yourself and the courage to make the right choices, even when it may seem better to take the easier route. (RATATOUILLE has an incredibly talented cast of voices including Brian Dennehy, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm and Peter O’Toole.)
RATATOUILLE’s main character is a rat named Remy who idolizes celebrity chef Gusteau (Brad Garret) whose motto is “Anyone can cook.” Mysteriously, Remy was born with an incredible sense of smell which helped him develop a knack and a passion for cooking. Making Gusteau’s recipes and catching his cooking show on television seem to be what Remy lives for, going so far as to risk his life each time he attempts it.
Despite his father’s insistence to stay away from the kitchen, Remy can’t seem to stop doing the one thing he loves, and it is by his consistent disobedience that his entire family loses their home. In a dramatic scene, he is separated from them. By complete chance, Remy ends up at the late Gusteau’s restaurant in Paris. It is here that Remy unexpectedly meets Linguini, the outcast garbage boy. Together, they form, first a partnership, and then a true friendship—learning what it means to be selfless and to put others first.
Their friendship paves the way for an incredible journey for each of them. One finds love, while the other learns the true meaning of family. Perhaps the most important lessons learned, though, are the invaluable ones about being honest with yourself and not limiting yourself to where you come from by diligently following your dreams, regardless of how small you are. The very title RATATOUILLE is a metaphor of the story. We learn that ratatouille is a peasant dish which Remy dreams into something exquisitely delicious.
Ego is the food critic. As far as this story line is concerned, Ego seems to be the most “villainous” character. There is a certain amount of darkness which seems to surround him. Though he will instantly seem like the “bad guy” to most kids, the majority of “dark” implications will probably go right over their heads. He is gaunt, thin and malnourished, going so far as to admit that he spits out food that he doesn’t LOVE, which is most food. His office is shaped like a coffin; he remains clad in black and only speaks negatively about most everything and everyone.
Remy disrupts the lives of his entire family because he makes a habit out of disobeying his father. Remy’s excuse seems to be that he can’t seem to help it: He loves to cook. This is played out as a two-sided issue. He feels his father doesn’t love or accept him for who he really is—a cook. The character of his father really doesn’t accept him, and later does admit his fault in this. Redemption is also sought in a brief scene when Remy does apologize for his disobedience and what it cost his family, although guilt continues to eat at him, and he begins to make wrong choices in an effort to make it up to them.
In a scene early in the film, while Remy is running through the walls/ceiling of a building, you see a woman pointing a gun at a man and threatening to shoot him. He speaks to her in French, and she drops the gun, and they begin passionate kissing.
It is implied early in the film that the late Gusteau had a “lady friend,” and later is confirmed by the discovery that their intimate relationship produced a child.
Skinner is the head chef, and the one stood to inherit Gustaue’s restaurant after he died. Skinner cheapened everything that Gusteau himself had built into the restaurant. Throughout the movie, selfishness causes him to make some very bad decisions.
There is some violence: a scene when some of the rats are looking in at a window display of rat corpses, a scene where characters are bound and gagged. There is an attempt, by humans, to shoot/hit/capture/gas/kill rats… All of it is fairly minor, but still present.
The underlying theme of this film is, from my perspective, one of acceptance and tolerance. In every Pixar film, we are introduced to unusual characters who blossom into unexpected champions. Everyone softens at a well done story, where the little guy comes out ahead, and this film does all of that and more.
This is a great story for children to see that their opportunities are limitless, and society’s limits mean nothing if we don’t let them.
Gusteau is dead, but Remy periodically converses with him as a figment of his imagination. This is made clear. It isn’t a ghost… Gusteau was just someone Remy admired a lot, and this seems to be a way that he can speak freely with himself. Some of the most poignant realizations are revealed in this way.
It is worth mentioning Skinner again. His selfishness does produce some laughs, but never enough to make the audience feel that his selfishness is a good thing. In fact, every single act of self intent in this film has a direct natural consequence. I found this very refreshing!
In most films of the family genre, a happy ending is seen before the closing credits roll. RATATOUILLE is no exception. Because this is typically standard, I do not feel that I am giving anything away when I say that the way everything works out so beautifully (for everyone) is especially great in this film. I tend to be a metaphorical thinker, and instantly I was grateful for this particular ending. It tied in a lesson that I, as a parent, am always trying to explain to my children. God can take mistakes that we have made (even seemingly huge ones), and use them to make our lives far better than we’d ever imagined. This story is a great catapult for this, as well as many other discussions with our kids!