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Ratatouille


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Alan Thomas wrote:

: It's the only Pixar film that's not fundamentally a fantasy. Given the idea of talking, self-aware rodents, the rest of the film is entirely natural.

What about the hair-pulling human-puppetry?

FWIW, my fundamental problem with the film is that it drifts, wanders, and twists itself in ways that don't quite work in the middle -- that plot mechanics take the place of character dynamics.

I do like a lot of it, though. Certainly much better than Cars. (Though that might not be saying much.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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If I haven't already said this, I had to do something during Ratatouille that I NEVER do during films these days, certainly not if I'm reviewing the film: I had to go to the bathroom.

I had some sense from Peter

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Alan, your note reminds me of how much I enjoyed the character of the short chef. A stereotype, no doubt, but a very funny one that appeals to my insular American ideas about the French. :)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Good point--he was a stereotype, wasn't he? IIRC, he was also the one seen often in a beret and trench coat...

Yup. He was thoroughly despicable -- in a fun sort of way!

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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"The Art of Ratatouille" gives its readers a glimpse of the picture that Pixar Animation Studios almost made

It is one of the more intriguing aspects of the production history of Pixar's latest, "Ratatouille." The fact that this animated feature started off with one director (I.E. Jan Pinkava, who helmed this animation studio's Academy Award-winning short, "Geri's Game") and then wound up being completed by yet another director (I.E. Brad Bird, the talented writer / director behind Pixar's Oscar-winning feature, "The Incredibles"). So why exactly did that happen? More importantly, what would Jan Pinkava's version of "Ratatouille" have been like? Well, if anyone could tell us that, it would be Karen Paik. After all, as a member of Pixar's development department, Ms. Paik was one of the very first people assigned to work on this movie about a rat who wanted to be a great chef.

Jim Hill Media, June 27

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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SDG wrote:

: Fascinating analysis in a four-star review from the always provocative Walter Chaw.

There's something about the phrase "physical comedy" in a review of an all-CGI film that is just... kinda funny. :)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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There's something about the phrase "physical comedy" in a review of an all-CGI film that is just... kinda funny. :)

Ha! In my review (posting tomorrow morning), I compared Linguini's physical performance to Steve Martin in All of Me and Vincent D'Onofrio in Men in Black!

(Could I call his performance a "digital analog" to theirs? :lol: )

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Fascinating analysis in a four-star review from the always provocative Walter Chaw.

Steven, you linked to that review just so I would have to read this, didn't you?

"choice supersedes predestination" :)

Also, Slate has a review up. What gives? Is today the official opening?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Why did Disney struggle to come up with a marketing campaign for Pixar's latest picture ? Because the Mouse wasn't supposed to release "Ratatouille"

Strange but true, folks. Remember back in January of 2004 when Steve Jobs officially broke off talks with Mouse House officials about possibly extending Pixar's co-production deal with Disney Studios? Which meant that -- once "Cars" was delivered to Disney for what was then-supposed-to-be a November 2005 release date -- Pixar would then be a free agent. Free to cut a new distribution / production deal with any other company that they desired. . . .

By the late fall of 2004, the "Rats!" production team had put together a story reel to show Pixar management. And while individual elements of the film that Jan Pinkava planned on making were admittedly charming & quite entertaining, its narrative as a whole fell flat. You never really got caught up in Remy's quest to become one of the greatest chefs in France.

Recognizing that "Rats!" (at least in its current form) was not going to be the great carrot-on-a-stick that he had been hoping for, Steve Jobs bought himself a little time by pushing back "Cars" release date from November of 2005 to May of 2006. Jan & his "Rats!" story team were then sent back to their drawing boards with some very specific orders : Make the story stronger and make us really care about the characters' struggles.

In the late spring of 2005, Pinkava delivered his second set of story reels. Which -- while they had these beautifully designed characters & settings with lots of atmosphere -- Jan's movie still lacked narrative oomph. And given that "Rats!" was supposed to be the film that proved to the world that Pixar could succeed without Disney (More importantly, given that this was the project that was supposed to incite other studios to come sign a deal with this Emeryville-based operation) ... Something had to be done to fix this picture's problems. And fast. . . .

Jim Hill Media, June 28

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Ratatouille Rides Shotgun

Pixar's latest is rated G. But a violent and protracted scene at the very beginning of the story has the potential to shake up the little ones.

FilmStew.com, June 26

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Lead story in L. A. Times Business section today is on the marketing of Ratatouille. Still playing down its prospects of being a blockbuster. They have picked out a French Chardonnay to label with Ratatouille and sell at Costco starting in August.
A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Jeffrey,

I loved your allegorical analysis of Rat. At such times I wish I had the word count in the PTP format to allow such extended analysis...

But now try this on for size: do the same thing with Verbinski, Disney and At World's End that you did with Bird, Pixar/Disney and Rat -- and see if you don't find a new appreciation for World's End.

(I think it's a shame most critics reacted to World's End for what it wasn't rather than what it was.)

Greg Wright

Managing Editor, Past the Popcorn

Consulting Editor, Hollywood Jesus

Leader of the Uruk-Howdy, Orcs of the West

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Ha! Great minds!

I haven't cased all of the reviews, but my boss e-mails me Joe Morgenstern's pieces in the Wall Street Journal, and wouldn't ya know:

Their wild dance is repeated a bit too often, but it's the funniest thing of its kind since Steve Martin's body was possessed by Lily Tomlin's spirit in "All Of Me."

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Toppman (****) on the voice talent:

Pixar has a habit of finding voice talent in unexpected places, and she's just part of the shrewd casting. Oswalt and Romano make an ideal team, assertive and nervous, while the almost unrecognizable Holm spits out disgust with glee. O'Toole, who'll be 75 in five weeks, delivers the longest monologue - a paean to the art of great criticism - as if a ninth Oscar nomination were at stake. If there were justice in Hollywood, it would be.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I find it ironic that many people are complaining that the movie was too long. Myself, I felt it was a bit rushed, and could have used maybe five or ten more minutes judiciously used to beef up certain segments and help wrap up some plot points which get raised but not sufficiently closed. Certain parts felt like a bit of a tight-rope exercise.

Nevertheless, a wonderful movie. Got a richly deserved ovation from the crowd at my theater (in downtown D.C.). Lifted is a perfect intro, too.

That's just how eye roll.

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Elvis Mitchell interviewed Brad Bird on KCRW's "The Treatment" last week, which is available as a free download through iTunes. It's a good conversation. Bird talks a lot about how he took a story that wasn't working and found ways to overcome its challenges.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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