My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching the film is that I thoroughly enjoy it. There was a time in my life where I aspired to be a chef, and this touched that side of me. I like that they added some sort of realism to the situation instead of making it outright anthropomorphic. A lot happens in this film, and the more you pay attention, the more you enjoy it. One of Pixar’s best movies, easily.
The concept for the film was created in 2000 by Jan Pinkava, and despite creating the initial designs, characters, storyline, setting, and so on, he was booted by Pixar in 2005, to be replaced by Brad Bird. Apparently he was attracted to the film because of the outlandish premise and the conflict between the rats that came from it. He rewrote the script, which involved killing off Gustweu, giving a larger role to Skinner and Collete, making the animals look less anthropomorphic, and added more physical comedy. To save money, the animators animated the humans without toes.
Pixar’s crew went to Paris for a week to study the environment, which involved a motorcycle tour, and eating at five restaurants. An employee jumped into Pixar’s pool in a chef uniform to see what parts stuck to his body to make it more realistic for a water scene in the film. The animators went to countless cooking classes at culinary schools in San Francisco to understand the layout and workings of a commercial kitchen, producers were allowed to intern n Thomas Keller’s French Laundry kitchen, and many other gourmet chefs from France and the U.S. were consulted about the film for advice and assistance.
I talked about the controversy regarding the buildup to the Disney acquisition in the Cars review, but a lot about it, and the fate of the relationship between the two was relied on this film. While this film was still in production, the two companies created a distribution deal, and that if it fell through, the film would still be released through the distribution of Disney. In comparison to the older deal, the film would be to remain a property of Pixar, and only pay Disney a distribution film. So from what I am gathering from this is that this film could have potentially been added to the WDAS canon instead if things fell through. None of this mattered anyways, since the acquisition was completed in 2006, where Disney outright bought Pixar for $7.4 billion on May 5th, 2006.
John Lasster was promoted from Executive Vice President to Chief Officer of both WDAS and Pixar, also being the Principal Creative Adviser, which involved designing the company’s theme parks. Catmull became the president of both WDAS and Pixar, and Steve Jobs was promoted to be a part of the Board of Directors for Disney up until his passing in 2011. Apparently the idea of buying Pixar came in September of 2005, when Bob Iger (who replaced Michael Eisner) was looking at the parade in Hong Kong Disneyland, and only saw Pixar characters in it, and no characters from the last 10 years of WDAS history was involved. He returned to Burbank to commission a financial analysis, and it was confirmed that WDAS lost money regarding animation over the last decade.
The film starts with the view of a television being on, where the famous chef Auguste Gusteau (Brad Garrett) talking about his cooking, and motto about “anyone can cook”, which the food critic Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole) disagrees about quite vocally. Our main character (who is a rat) named Remy (Patton Oswalt) is obsessed with human food (especially of Gusteau), especially since he has heightened senses of taste and smell, which turns him off from the usually spoiled and lackluster food that the rats eat. He loves how humans create with food instead of just eat it for fuel, which is what his father Django (Brian Dennehy) views food as. The two consistently bicker about how they view the rat lifestyle and food in general. The clan lives in a rural house, and Remy drags his brother Emile (Peter Sohn) into the house to get some more spices for his mushroom. Long story short, the woman living in the house wakes up to see them after Remy learns Gusteau is dead, so she shoots the entire house down to see them, and they go to climb to their area, which is shot down. The house is infested with rats, and they all run out.
A young man named Linguini (Lou Romano) enters the restaurant to give them a letter from his mother, who was the former flame of Gusteau. He hopes that his mother’s connection to the kitchen will get him a job, and the staffs give him the job as a garbage man. Linguini for some odd reason tries to cook the soup and add his spices, which panics Remy (who was watching from outside the window), so when the opportunity arises, he fixes the soup. The one problem is that Linguini sees him work his magic with the food, but Remy is soon hidden when the head chef Skinner (Ian Holm) loses it on him. The soup is taken to a customer, and when he sees the customer want to speak to the waiter (who calls for Skinner), it turns out that the customer was a critic, and liked the soup.
Remy tries to escape from the kitchen, but Skinner sees him, and everyone in the kitchen tries to kill him. Linguini managed to capture him, and he is told to take the rat far away to kill it, since they would be shut down if anyone found out that a rat was in the restaurant. He rides down to the riverway, and rants about how he has to cook the soup in front of everyone. After realizing that Remy can understand him, he tries to get the rat to help him cook the soup again, but Remy bails when released. Once he sees Linguini sad and depressed, he goes back and decides to help him.
He is then paired up with Collete (Janeane Garofolo) to learn some more about cooking, and she is more than sharp. She rants and raves about how she has to work twice as hard to be in the kitchen, since she is the only woman in a male-dominated kitchen, so she will not let him screw things up for her. Skinner is trying to brand the company by creating a bunch of stupid products from other areas in the world, and he finally reads the letter Linguini’s mother sent for him, which states that Linguini is Gusteau’s son. I really do not know how this is shocking. I mean, they outright state that his mother and Gusteau WERE lovers, so 1+1 should =2. This is a problem because in Gusteau’s will, Skinner is supposed to gain ownership of not only the restaurant, but the corporation 2 years after his death, which is almost up. This means that Linguini will get all of that instead.
Colette teaches Linguini (and Remy as well) many basics regarding cooking 101, which is neat for audience members who are not familiar with it. We learn some facts about the other cooks, as they call themselves artists, pirates, people who are more than cooks. Him and Colette are assigned to cook something new for the customer, but things get conflicting when Colette and Remy have different ideas about what to cook, angering her. All of the orders that night son turn into the special order he made, angering Skinner. He has seen Linguini with Remy from time to time, but whenever he approaches him, the rat ends up gone. Skinner gets Linguini drunk with wine to get him to spill about his ulterior motives, only to be angered when there is no ulterior motive.
It is the next morning, and Colette enters the restaurant to see Linguini sleeping after cleaning the entire kitchen. Actually, Remy puts sunglasses on him, and gets him to move when asleep, which…….. no. It is hard for me to believe he can control movement of Linguini when asleep. She rants to him after he refuses to tell her about his talk with Skinner, then accusing him of using her to one-up her in the business like many others, because she….. liked him. He wakes up after she slaps him for hearing him snore, and decides that he needs to tell her the truth. Right when he is about to do it, Remy forces them to kiss. Honestly, these two’s relationship seems kind of rushed.
Emile’s dumbass runs to tell his friends about where Remy is, and they show up to get some food. This is a continuous pattern, but before we get into that, he sneaks into Skinner’s office to get the key for the fridge, and finds the DNA results (Skinner got that done), which shows that Linguini is Gusteau’s son. Skinner shows up to see that he has the results, and there is a chase, which Remy manages to give to Linguini. He owns the restaurant, is able to buy a nice house, and during a press meeting, he credits Collete for inspiration, and the fact that its in his blood. Remy is mad, but what is Linguini supposed to say? He got his inspiration from a rat? That is the entire purpose of the cover up. Colette and the other chefs are annoyed because the press meeting was supposed to end over an hour ago, so the store could open, but he is enjoying the attention way too much. Skinner observes this, and sees that the rat is the cook. Emile shows up with even more people, and because Remy is petty as hell, he tells his brother to tell their father to bring the entire clan. Linguini goes home and apologizes, only to realize that the rat is not there.
Linguini decides to give up in his office, while Remy teaches his clan how to cook and clean up after themselves. Colette almost gets ran over as she is crying too much, and not focusing on the road, but she turns around after seeing Gusteau’s “Anyone Can Cook” through a window glass. The health inspector (Tony Fucile) shows up, but the other rats tie him up in the fridge. Remy tells them to serve the critic the “peasant dish” Ratatouille, which touches the critic’s soul, since it reminds him of his mother’s cooking in rural old country, which would be the only thing that would cheer him up as a child. He wants to see the chef, but is told that he has to wait until after everyone left.
They demonstrate and explain everything to Anton, who writes a glowing review about the food and restaurant, finally understanding what Gusteau was trying to say all along. Despite the good news, the health inspector had to be released, and reported the restaurant for rat infestation, who closed the restaurant down, and Anton’s reputation as a critic was shattered completely. Things turn out well, since Anton funds and creates a new bistro called Ratatouille, which consists of Remy and Colette as the cooks, and Linguini finding his talent as a waiter (on rollerblades), while Remy and his clan have their own society and set-up in the restaurant as well. I find the ending to be very unique, inquisitive, and realistic, but what happened to Skinner? They completely forget about him, and it is somewhat dissatisfying to know that nothing happened to him, and there was no resolution to him. It would have been nice to know what happened to the other chefs, but they weren’t important, so it did not really matter.
While I like most of the characters in the film, I do have mixed feelings on them overall. A lot of the side characters were kid of just written off to never be addressed again, and the villain had a poor sendoff. Some of the characters were kind of routine, but they were done well. I think the plot for sure was a bit more interesting than the characters.
The animation in this film is amazing. The rats do look realistic, though the humans are a bit cartoony. Paris came to life in this film, and even how they designed rural France was magnificently beautiful. There are a lot of water effects in this film, and it was interesting to see how much they improved with water in comparison to A Bug’s Life. There’s a lot more motion than I was expecting.
Michael Giacchino came back from The Incredibles to work on the music, and it is amazing. The theme song titled “Le Festin” is a great theme song, and makes Paris stand out even more as the city of romance and dreams. The score is lovely, with a lot of french themes, and epic instruments being used. A lot of the characters (or character interactions) had a theme score for themselves, which was very noticeable.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on June 29, 2007, it grossed $206,445,654 domestically, and $414, 257, 297 in other territories, with a total worldwide gross of 620,702,951. It was at the time the third highest-grossing Pixar film, behind Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. It has of course lost that, since two films after this release has made over a billion dollars, and there were many others that grossed close to a billion.
It was SHOCKINGLY
not really critically praised, unlike like every other Pixar film……. except Cars. People liked that they took a character (a rat) that usually is not portrayed well in media, and made the audience root for them. People saw this as very artistic, which is not said often in animation. There are many words that are said, but artistic is a really strong word that should not be taken lightly. A huge part of it probably involves that the film takes place in Paris, but it clearly worked. I could not really find much of anything that was negatively said about the film in regards to critical reception.
Walt Disney Animated Studios was still suffering from their petrifying Post-Renaissance era, and Meet the Robsinsons was another underperformance that was added to the list. 2007 was not a great year for DreamWorks Animation as well, since Shrek The Third was a huge critical disaster (though made money), and Bee Movie was just a waste of time. Since Ratatouille was one of the only good movies of that year (out of the major studios), it rightfully savaged the awards season that year, and took most (if not all) of the awards, and is on the list for films that have received the most nominations.
Despite the huge success and popularity of the film, it is not really talked about much in recent years. Almost all of the films have received sequels (or have sequels in development) except for this film, WALL-E, Up, Brave, and A Bug’s Life, and the audience just puts more focus on other films instead of this one. It seems like it got lost in the shuffle over the years, and is a bit underrated. What I will say is that people do believe that this film started the magnum opus era of Pixar, which went all the way until 2010.
= 33/40 = 83%