In the new animated feature by director Brad Bird (The Incredibles), a rat of rarefied palate (and exceptional olfactory ability) dreams of becoming a fine French chef, then gets his chance when he teams up with a garbage boy to restore a once-legendary Paris eatery to its former glory. While the tall, gangly Linguini appears to cook, its the squat, four-legged Remy (well-voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt) whos pulling the strings — literally, in the form of the curls atop Linguinis head — much to the consternation of the kitchen staffs dictator, Skinner, who wants to use the restaurant as a springboard for a line of frozen dinners. That farcical premise, however, is merely the appetizer before Birds main course: a consideration of the principles of artistic creation and of greatness at odds with mediocrity. That will come as little surprise to those familiar with either The Incredibles or Birds debut feature, The Iron Giant. If that sounds like heady stuff for a kids movie, it is, but Ratatouille is as much a feast for the senses as it is food for thought, from the dazzling photorealism of the animation to the delectable plates of soup and sweetbreads and, of course, the titular Provençal stew. "Anyone can cook," goes a refrain heard often throughout the film. But only Brad Bird could have made Ratatouille.
Brad BirdPatton Oswalt, Brian Dennehy, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm, Peter O'TooleBrad BirdBrad LewisDisney/Pixar