Ah, flavour. I finally got around to watching Ratatouille last night, after people have been recommending it to me for years. It is good, there's some great visual design and vocal performances.
A lot of the characters and things in the movie, as in a few of the newer cgi movies, have this soft, dry quality like vinyl. Along with the old fashioned fairy tale look of the buildings, it made me feel like I was watching a movie that took place entirely in a Disneyland gift shop. I'm by no means complaining. Though I wonder if this stuff is going to make the movie look dated twenty years from now. Maybe then cgi movies will be making everyone look like glass or something.
I like the story about the injustice of social and professional discrimination, though I wonder if I have a valid complaint in that the rats stealing food is portrayed as wrong. What are they supposed to do, get jobs? I also still don't like the speech given by the critic voiced by Peter O'Toole. I've been seeing people quote it for years;
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defence of the new. The world is often unkind to new talents, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new; an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking, is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook". But I realize — only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
The speech seems more like someone had an axe to grind with critics. I guarantee you some of Roger Ebert's reviews of bad films are way more meaningful than the films. And personally, speaking as someone who's written more than a few critiques, I actually enjoy writing about movies I like a lot more than I enjoy writing about movies I hate. Though the point about the defence of the new being risky is certainly true.
I think my only other complaint about the movie is the phoney French accents. I don't see the point--does that mean everyone with the accent is speaking bad French? I noticed they didn't make Peter O'Toole use the accent.
In any case, Remy's a nicely conceived character, for Patton Oswalt's performance and the characterisation that suffuses the animation. I also liked Janeane Garofalo as Colette and I have to admit to fantasising about her and the rat making out. I mean, really, that's who she should have ended up with, it was the cooking that charmed her. But movie dames always gotta fall for those tall, white, bipedal guys, I guess.