Saturday, July 7, 2007

Grumpy Review: Ratatouille

Well, in a true grump's fashion, I am late to the party. I was dragged to the viewing of Ratatouille this afternoon.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't want to see it, nor that I'm not a big fan of Disney movies. It's that I hate going to the movies.....period! It has lost its appeal to me. I have a much better viewing environment in my own home. I have high quality sound and a large 61" DLP HDTV. Yeah, it's not a gigantic screen like in my local theater, but it has the best feature of annoying patrons.

So, in order to get me to pay outrageous ticket prices, the movie must be one of those kinds of films that lose something being viewed in the comforts of my own home. The Pirates of the Caribbean films are examples of this.

Regardless of my feelings on the subject, my wife didn't agree with them so off we went to the theater.

One gigantic benefit of being late to the party is that you don't have to fight the crowd. Much like how I was able to leverage off the popularity of the new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland, we were able to leverage off the popularity of the new movie about cars that transform into robots.

The theater was mostly empty which helped me focus on the movie better.

There weren't a lot of trailers which was a big disappointment to me. I look forward to the trailers of coming attractions just as much as I do the main feature. There was the trailer for WALL*E which my wife hadn't seen yet. It was nice to hear her whisper to me, "Johnny Five!" since that has been a common commentary about the resemblance of the protagonist of this new film from Pixar.

Well, I'm going to have a hard time adding anything to the mix that hasn't already been said about Pixar.

I must concur with many of the other reviewers out there that this is a movie that is very enjoyable and could very well be considered one of the best story lines put out by Pixar. I was even unable to predict the ending (which is something that annoys my wife since I like to predict the ending about halfway through the film).

I have always been a fan of CGI Animated features. Don't get me wrong, I love hand-drawn animation as much as the next guy, but the type of films Pixar makes is a totally different beast. In some ways, I feel they shouldn't be lumped together in with traditional animation when getting nominated for awards. Heck, I think there should be greater efforts to just plain differentiate them.

Having said that, I found myself really looking at the level of detail in what I was watching. I don't know how many people notice such things as that level of pitting in the metal that makes up the feet of the tables in kitchen. I also like to observe how much things like hair and water improve over time. I'm sure if you compared scenes from Toy Story to Ratatouille you'd be amazed how much some of these details have improved.

It's just an observational quirk on my part and isn't a distraction in my opinion. It's just something that I like to enjoy much like some people enjoy to appreciate the cinematography of a live action film.

What really added something to this movie for me was that I knew, thanks to Jim Hill's contribution to the June 24th Episode of the Magical Definition Podcast, that this movie was the one being created to sell to other distributors since Disney had decided to dump Pixar. It was only due to the fact that Disney bought Pixar that this movie was released by "the Mouse". Having known that going into the movie, you could really see how they were "pulling out all the stops" to make a movie some other company would just want to snatch up.

I can just see the character dining tie-ins to this movie. Heck, I'm really wondering, pending the global success of this movie, if we have a future possibility of dining at Gusteau's or Le Ratatouille within the France Pavilion in Epcot.

Don't miss this movie. If you miss it at the theater, snatch it up when it hits DVD or Blu-Ray. You'll regret having enjoyed this movie

The wife and I are looking forward to adding this to our Disney Movie Collection

On my grumpy 5 harrumph scale, I give this movie 4 1/2 harrumphs!


Unknown said...

Great review.

I thought the starring role in the movie should go to the background. The colors were amazing and the details were wonderful.

The one that sticks out in my mind: when Remy and Linguine first "discover" each other near the water (the Seine?). When Remy runs off and then comes back, there is a paver that has a "spit" mark on it. They could have just made it another paver, but they added dirt and life to it.

Andrew said...

You talk about the pitted metal and the hair as things you watch to find comparitive improvement. I always look at the water. In movies and games, water is the thing that seems hardest to recreate acurately. The 'wet' scenes in the movie were so realistic, at times I felt like they might have cheated and animated over real backgrounds. The real miracle is that they made a good movie and showed off the skills at the same time. Most visually innovative video games are fun to watch but suck to play. They did a good job of story first...

Unknown said...


I concur with your comment about water. I thought I had mentioned the wet scenes but it was something that ran very succinctly through my brain at the time.

I was really amazed by the water and more specifically those characters that got wet.

I also agree with you about visually appealing video games.

I'm more of an observer of video games than a player, but my friends who are game geeks often complain about the storyline of the games with the great graphics