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Starring: The voices of Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo
There’s something about mice, rats, and other rodents that either touches your heart or crawls up your skin. Movies seem to idolize these little creatures. From Fievel of An American Tail (1986) to Stuart Little, to that cute little pest in The Green Mile (1999), they represent man’s other best friend, seeking truth and dignity with furry coats and little pink noses.
Remy, our new vermin hero of Ratatouille, is probably the least wanted guest in the kitchen, but, boy, does he cook up a fine omelet. Voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt, this rat has the culinary talent to help his human friend, Linguini, achieve the five-star status of a fine Parisian restaurant.
It’s a rat and human duo up against the city’s most feared food critic, Anton Ego (grievously voiced by Peter O’Toole), and the tyrannical head chef, Skinner (Ian Holm), who is suspicious of Linguini’s expert cooking skills. On top of that, Linguini wants to win the admiration of Colette (Janeane Garofalo), the tough and haughty only-female in the kitchen.
Pixar pioneer, Brad Bird of The Incredibles (2004) and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), somehow manages to suspend disbelief in both kids and adults alike. With a dash of old-fashioned Disney humor and an array of absolutely stunning digital animation, it is nearly impossible not to be entertained.
I say old fashioned humor because you will notice that this Disney family film never pushes political buttons, never resorts to vulgarity for laughs, and never deceives the ideal of dignity in a hero.
I laugh as I write this review because our hero is a rat.
Everything this little guy does is out of the kindness of his heart, and his cuisine must be out of this world.
The lesson to be learned is that Linguini has to be himself, and he mustn’t take credit for the edible achievements made by his friend, Remy. To be true to yourself is always a proper lesson in family films.
Now, if I could only get Remy to cook dinner tonight…