I am hereby declaring the following decree that should be followed by all analysts, all critics, all viewers, and all bloggers like myself. In light of the fabulous Pixar creation ‘Ratatouille’, I want to make something incredibly clear:
From this point forward, the success of a Pixar film shall never be measured by its box office results, but rather by its quality. Both Variety (Noting it could be a harder sell) and The Hollywood Reporter (predicting it would struggle to meet box office receipts) prefaced their reviews with a statement proclaiming that this might finally be the Pixar film that doesn’t live up to the rest financially. And, well, I don’t give a rat’s ass (Oooh, I know, bad pun). The fact of the matter is that this is one of Pixar’s finest films, in a league of its own, and its box office results don’t particularly matter. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter agree with my assessment of the film’s quality, but this need to address the pessimists shouldn’t be necessary. Pixar is making great films, and until they stop doing so “The End of Pixar” will be the last thing that enters my mind.
With this said, I invite all of you to peruse the following review to discover why Ratatouille is worth sampling when it opens in two weeks time on June 29th…or, that is what I would say if I didn’t realize that I am quite unprepared to right a review at this stage of the game.
You see, Ratatouille is a film that I’m having a hard time criticizing. Every time I attempt to do so, I find myself writing sentences and sentences on one of its many fantastic elements. And so, over the next two weeks (Yep, I’m milking this one for all its worth), I intend on highlighting The Ten Reasons You Should See ‘Ratatouille’. Now, you might claim this to be some sort of viral marketing attempt, and it really isn’t. I might well be critical within these sections, but only in small quantities: admittedly, this is a film I loved and I am not afraid to say so.
However, in short, I will say this:
I believe that Ratatouille is perhaps the best example of a purely Pixar film since Toy Story. It is a film that engrosses itself in its setting, its characters, its universe more than any of their films in between. It has most of The Incredibles’ fantastic qualities (I want to marry Michael Giacchino right now), but does so within a more traditionally Pixar story…and that combination is hard to beat.
As the studio prepares to release a mostly silent film starring a trash compacting robot (Wall-E, 2008) and one about a park ranger and an old man fighting beasts and villains (Up, 2009), the time has come to appreciate Pixar just like you would any other movie studio: by the quality of their work. And this is a work of sheer quality.
And so, without further adieu, I introduce Reason #10 Why You Should See ‘Ratatouille’.
Reason #10 – The Story
SPOILER WARNING: While I will not ruin any of the best moments of the film, I am likely to allude to them in some shape or form, and this might not be in your interest. However, I will be as spoiler-free as physically possible.
The smallish theatre designated to this evening’s special sneak preview was pretty well to capacity, with nary a single seat left in the auditorium. The audience was varied: I attended with my parents, there was a twenty-something couple to one side of us, there was an older woman by herself to our right, and there were of course kids all around us. This was a diverse audience, which I presume will be a positive sign for the data collectors when they get this information. Because, even with an audience this diverse, they absolutely loved Ratatouille. And a lot of that has to do with its rich story. It is not number 10 because it is the least important, but simply because it is the one thing leaping out at me as I react to viewing the film for the first time.
The story isn’t original on paper, per se: a country rat ending up in the big city and having to come to terms with his two lives is treading on familiar territory. However, what needs to be made clear is that the story does not stop and end with that moment. Like Brad Bird’s other stories, such as The Incredibles, this is a multi-faceted, multi-layered story that spans species, generations, and professions to become something truly memorable.