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Monday, June 18, 2007

Ratatouille: Movie Review

I was going to just relax and stay in this weekend, but a sneak preview of Ratatouille lured me out of my lair. Set in Paris, it's the story of a talented rat with great ambitions. Because he appreciates fine food, he wants to leave the nest and become a chef. Remy the rat is guided by his visions of a famous chef and recipes he's read in a cookbook. As to be expected from a Pixar film, the animation is amazing and the level of detail will blow you away, but it was the culinary detail that won me over.

It will come as no surprise that Thomas Keller and Anthony Bourdain both acted as consultants on the film. The details of the kitchen brigade, the kitchen personalities and even the cooking itself is a joy to watch. Check out the enamel stoves, the use of rasp style graters and the walk in fridge! Overblown celebrity chefs, kitchen sexism, food critics and even health inspectors are all skewered. This is the least "kid-oriented" of the Pixar films, and if the sneak preview was any indication, it will have a large adult audience.

The idea that a rat doesn't want to eat garbage and has great taste is a brilliant premise. The message behind the film, if there is any, is that credit should be given to those do the real work and not to underestimate the lowly ones in our midst. The catch phrase "anyone can cook" sounds like it came from the Food Network, but the film is way more entertaining than anything on TV. Hands down, this is my new favorite Pixar film. By the way, don't miss the short in the beginning or the terrific animation in the credits. Ratatouille opens on June 29th.