Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ratatouille a sensual, artful pot au feu from Brad Bird and Pixar

Ratatouille - T-0
Originally uploaded by sebatl
Ratatouille is an audacious story. About an artful rat named Remy, it stretches beyond the safe zone in which you find most Disney productions.

Indirectly, it accuses the non-gourmet world of being garbage eaters. I think that might include the majority of Americans. So, how is Disney going to sell a tale of such lofty integrity?

Curiously, "Anyone can cook," is one of the movie's messages. I know this is true, because as a social studies teacher I have seen many international dishes brought to class by students who were first-timers. I think many Americans might modify that rule to "Anyone can cook who doesn't have the money to stop by the deli or phone a decent restaurant for take-out."

Remy, the little chef, is a super hero only intermittently. He is mostly a quiet lad hampered by existential doubt. And most of the figures in his world, like his rodent family members, are ambiguous: they are both good and bad.

The equally-conflicted human hero, Alfredo, becomes a puppet of the prescient rat so that they can be a cooking team. Alfredo becomes a royal spastic reminiscent of a Charlie Chaplin figure.

Ratatouille's an hour and fifty minutes of subtle fun. Please see it and tell me what you think.

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