movie film review | chris tookey


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  Ratatouille Review
Tookey's Rating
9 /10
Average Rating
8.74 /10
Voices:, Remy - Patton Oswalt
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Directed by: Brad Bird
Written by: Brad Bird, Jim Capobianco, Jan Pinkava Additional story material by Emily Cook and Kathy Greenberg

Released: 2007
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 110

Hail to the celebratty chef!

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Rats have been blamed for numerous disasters, ranging from the bubonic plague to breakfast television. Rats are badmouthed for deserting sinking ships, yet no one bothers to say what happens to them afterwards. (Presumably, they drown.) Politicians have been known to rat on their principles and, heaven forbid, scavenge other parties’ policies. Max Clifford would be the first to tell rats that they have an image problem. But no more. A movie starring rats – and lots of them – is about to become one of the most popular movies of the year.

Ratatouille, which celebrates a rat called Remy as a newer, nicer, less rodent-like Gordon Ramsay, is a tremendous animated comedy. In terms of visual panache and confident story-telling, it’s second to none.

The only areas in which it falls short of perfection are that there aren’t quite enough laughs, and some sequences are allowed to drag on for too long. Maybe the film-makers were enjoying themselves too much.

With a few more gags and slightly more ruthless editing, it would have been on a par with writer-director Brad Bird’s previous masterpiece, The Incredibles. But it’s still one of the finest movie achievements of 2007, a certainty for next year’s Oscar as Best Animated Film and, whatever your age or attitude to vermin, a must-see.

Remy (charmingly voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt) is a rat with an unlikely taste for haute cuisine. His father (Brian Dennehy) warns him not to get too close to humans, and his tubby rat sibling Emile (Peter Sohn) is shocked to discover that his brother can read cookery books. “You read?” exclaims Emile. Remy is modest: “Well, not excessively.”

Arriving in Paris via sewer, thanks to some brilliantly kinetic animation, Remy falls in love with the city’s views and smells (as do we – the film finds time to be charmingly lyrical).

After being chased around a kitchen by its greedy, diminutive and disreputable chef (hilariously played by an unrecognisable Ian Holm), Remy finds an unlikely ally in Linguini (Lou Romano), an awkward lad who becomes - under guidance from Remy - a chef whose dishes wow the whole of Paris and attract the attention of a very suspicious restaurant critic named Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole masterfully recapturing the sneering majesty of George Sanders).

The well-crafted story goes through a number of delightful twists, and covers with refreshing intelligence the ideas that artistic genius can be found in the most unlikely places, that it’s tempting but wrong to take credit for others’ efforts, and – I must admit this notion was an especially pleasant surprise – that good, honest, informed criticism should be valued far more highly than it is.

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