Ratatouille is a film that bends the mould of usual animated feature films, proving that any age can enjoy this median.
Remy - the latest Pixar protagonist - is a anthropomorphic sewer rat that was given highly developed sense of smell and taste. Due to this talent he is able to not only smell out rat poison hidden on food, but also what goes into the food that his family consume. Craving more than garbage, Remy enters into a house in search of something better to eat. Inside the house he comes across the television set, and witnesses Paris's top chef Auguste Gusteau appear on a program. Instantly idolizing this man, Remy begins to dream of becoming a chef too. Through the constant need to keep obtaining new and exciting foods, Remy keeps breaking into the house and finally is caught jeopardizing the whole family in the process. The rats flee to the sewers but in the commotion Remy is separated and alone in the sewers of Paris. In his hunger and time alone Remy begins imagining Gusteau who begins to talk and tell him to live the sewers in hopes of getting some food. Directed through his mind to the restaurant of his idol, who he has just been told is actually deceased, Remy watches as a young man named Alfredo Linguini is hired as a garbage collector. Instructed to cause no issues to the food being prepared by the current owner of the restaurant, Skinner, Linguini accidentally spills the soup being created. Panicking, he tries to correct his mistake but doing so in disastrous results. Seeing this occurring, Remy falls into the kitchen and prepares the soup in a way that makes it taste better than before. Seeing Remy's intelligence Linguini takes the rat home and prepares a way in which he can use his expertise in becoming a renowned chef. This is done through Remy using Linguini as a puppet under his hat, controlling his movement and therefore what he cooks. Together this unlikely bond between man and rat become the main talking point in French fine cuisine, they also sort out matters to do with inheritance as well as prepare food for the top critique in France, Anton Ego, who took one star away from the restaurant the last time he visited the place.
As can be seen from the brief plot description, a lot of different factors make up this films narrative with most not having been seen in animated films by Disney before. This shows the type of films that Pixar strive to release and outlines their ability to handle things out of the norm, in a manner that still means they attract many different audience members. Not ploy to dumb down animation to cater for the usual demographic of children, Pixar (and Brad Bird) have produced a film that deals with aspects of life usually kept away from this median, aspects such as cooking, death and not being accepted for who you are. Ratatouille has all these aspects and through a perfectly scripted screenplay and enough interaction between all characters, every character seems given the time and effort to create development on individual roles. A film that holds enough for all demographic audiences, Pixar has shown once again that films like this can be enjoyed by everyone.
As with all Pixar productions, Ratatouille once again showcases to the highest quality the talent and work that the studio put into produces these interesting and greatly designed movies. Character design in this film is - like most animations released today - extremely strong. Making all the rats look different from each other must have taken time and commitment but within the landscape of the film that effort really pays off as characters are easily recognizable. The human characters seem to mirror their animal counterparts and through this mirroring chemistry is easily created and developed in the plot. One thing that stands out in this film in regards to the design is the environments themselves. Each of them is creating in a stunning and realistic manner, for a factor of the film that is probably not always noticed, the dedication to creating something visually stunning really pays of as the film feels realistic and smooth throughout. One thing that should stand out is the design of moving and fading one scene into another. The use of having the characters move between one location to another, with smaller locations in between (such as pipes and gutters), instead of reverting to a black fade-out screen means that this film feels like one extra long take on a scene instead of many edited together in post. This again allows the films narrative to move along at a smooth and controlled pace which means it to become easily watchable and enjoyable.
Ratatouille is perhaps the most widely aimed film that Disney has released in many years. The use of animals interacting within a adult plot means that audiences of all ages will find something intone to the film. With a top quality animated world and voice that fit into the environment that the animators have created - Ian Holm standing out as Skinner most - Ratatouille is a film that shows the power this animation house has in its chosen genre of film.