Remy (Patton Oswalt) is a French country house rat with a super-sensitive sense of smell that can detect the ingredients in any food. His pack, led by his father Django (Brian Dennehy) don't really care about that though and just use him as the poison sniffer. Remy, on the other hand, is a food gourmet whose hero is the Parisian chef Auguste Gusteau (Brad Garrett).
When an accident makes the pack flee the house, Remy gets separted in the sewers and eventually finds himself in Paris where he is devastated to find out that Gusteau had recently died after a brutal review by food critic Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole). Lonely, Remy imagines talking with Gusteau's ghost, who guides and comforts him and when he finds Gusteau's restaurant, it has fallen on hard times and has been taken over by sous-chef, Skinner (Ian Holm), who's sold out Gusteau's image to sell his recipes as fast-food products.
Skinner reluctantly employs Gusteaus's old girlfriend's son Linguini (Lou Romano) as garbage-boy but, when Linguini has an accident with a pot of soup that is rectified behind-the-scenes by Remy, Skinner becomes deeply suspicious that Linguini is after the restaurant, a fact that could come true if Linguini proves to be Gusteau's son. Meanwhile Linguini and Remy become a team, with Remy controlling the hapless garbage-boy and cooking wonderful food. Skinner is now out for any means to get rid of Linguini and suspects a rat, literally and when remy's pack begins to turn up looking for free food, things get way out of hand.
Ratatouille is directed by Brad Bird, who also directed The Incredibles and Iron Giant, both pretty good efforts by anyone's measure. Like most animations these day, it also has a few big names doing the voices; Ian Holm plays the nasty little chef Skinner and Peter O'Toole is the thoroughly scathing food critic Anton Ego while Brian Dennehy voices Remy's father Django.
The animation is superb, from beautiful backdrops of Paris to the dankness of the sewers. You can't fault the quality of the Pixar's animation as they always do the business; it even won the Animation Of The Year award at the 2007 Hollywood Film Festival.
Ratatouille isn't flashy or action-packed but is has the soul of a classic movie and, as an animation, is up there with the best of them. That said, it probably won't appeal as much to a younger audience as most of the humour is on the subtle side. There was a family with three young kids when we were there and they left mid way through as the film just couldn't hold the children's attention at all.
However, Ratatouille is a must-see for any animation fans!
As an added bonus, there was a Pixar short showing as well. Lifted is a humourous take on alien abductions where a young alien, Stu, is in a spaceship taking an examination in abduction. He must snatch a sleeping farmer under the watchful eye of his instructor. It was pretty funny and a simple search online let me download it in Flash format.
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
My Rating: 8/10