The best movie so far this year, a must-have for every movie-lover

November 07, 2007 06:00 PM

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Voices: Patton Oswalt, Ian Hola, Lou Romano, Peter O’Toole, Janeane Garofalo

Directors: Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava

Script: Brad Bird

Movie Genre: Animation, comedy, family

Rated: G

Grade: A

There have been some great animated films: from classic Disney movies (Cinderella), hits from the Disney renaissance (Beauty & the Beast), modern creations from Pixar (Toy Story), to productions by Ghibli (Spirited Away). Fox studios brought us a great one with Ice Age, as did Aardman and Dreamworks with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. All and all, there have been some fantastic films in the often-undervalued cartoon genre.

Of course, this devaluing might seem logical, since animated flicks could be considered nothing more than a feast for the eyes. But great films, the memorable ones, are those that aren’t only jaw-dropping from a visual standpoint, but also leave us feeling personally connected to a story, stories that move us, no matter what the subject matter.

While this probably seems like a mighty-long prologue for a movie review, it’s a worthwhile one, as it’s meant to introduce the first animated film from the dynamic duo Disney-Pixar that, in my opinion – and other critics agree – deserves a rarely used adjective: sublime.

Ratatouille didn’t have much going for it: a complex title, a rat for a main character, a plot centered on the culinary delights of Paris, and it hit theaters after a bunch of restaurants made headlines for having a rat infestation problem.

But Brad Bird’s script achieved the impossible. By giving human traits to Remy, the flick’s tiny and adorable protagonist who’s born to be a chef but inhibited by his species, the also director makes the audience forget that the main character is a rat, and viewers can actually identify with him.

Remy’s irresistibly cute faces are perfectly animated. He represents the dreamer in all of us as he tries to reach his near-impossible goals, never forgetting the importance of humor, friendship and passion.

If you missed it in the theaters, don’t worry: Seeing Ratatouille on DVD is even more impressive than on the big screen. Visual details as miniscule as the texture of plates and soundscapes that even include the horns honking on Paris streets are qualities that will make the movie seem even more dramatic at home.

The DVD hit stores on Tuesday, Nov. 4. It boasts a variety of bonus features, including an 11-minute documentary called Your Friend The Rat, starring Remy and his brother, which explains the relationship between rats and humans with a comedic touch.

Be sure to check out the DVD’s main menu, where you’ll find some Easter eggs that reveal the other titles the creators were considering for Ratatouille.

– “Lifted,” a short film from Pixar – a conversation between Brad Bird and Thomas Keller
– deleted scenes with commentaries
– the new animated documentary Your Friend The Rat
– trivia questions featured inside two Easter eggs
Also available on hi-def Blu Ray Disc.

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