A sewer rat working undercover at a posh restaurant is a pretty icky premise, but in Pixar's latest and possibly greatest film, you'll be rooting for the rodent. Remy (Patton Oswalt) is a rat blessed with a burning desire to cook. With the help of a kitchen boy whom he literally puppets around the kitchen, Remy can produce dishes to astound the most jaded palate. But how will diners react when they discover the rat beneath the hat?
This is a glorious return to form for Pixar following last year's disappointing Cars. The brainchild of master animator Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Ratatouille is so much more than just another CGI critter caper. It's a thriller, a frenetic comedy, and a love story in the style of Cyrano De Bergerac, as Remy guides the hapless kitchen drudge Linguini through a treacherous romance with a fiery French chefette (Janeane Garofolo). But most of all, Ratatouille is a love letter to food and cooking. Bird goes all out to infect the audience with Remy's love of flavour, using mind-bending visuals to illustrate the aroma of a piece of cheese. Complex as this celluloid dish is, the plot is mere pasta to a rich ragù of slapstick setpieces. A kitchen, as Tom and Jerry proved, is a deadly adventure playground for rodents, and Remy is forever dodging hot plates and flying meat cleavers on his quest to impress cadaverous critic Anton Ego (fruitily voiced by Peter O'Toole.)
" BASICALLY, IT'S A MASTERPIECE"
We could go on for hours about the delights of Ratatouille. The animation is superb, the vocal work flawless, the script witty, the central conflict between family ties and the pursuit of excellence subtly handled. The tasting of the eponymous ratatouille is so expertly done that it's sure to find a spot on any cinemagoer's top twenty favourite scenes. Basically, this is a masterpiece. Don't miss it.
Ratatouille is out in the UK on 12th October 2007.