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Ratatouille - Preview & US reaction

Ratatouille

Preview by Jack Foley

IF THE evidence from America is anything to go by (as well as early footage), those genius folk at Pixar have done it again with Ratatouille, their latest animated romp that marks a surefire return to the winning values of Toy Story and The Incredibles.

Directed by Academy Award®-winner Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Ratatouille takes you into an entirely new and original world where the unthinkable combination of a rat and a 5-star gourmet restaurant come together for the ultimate fish-out-of-water tale.

The film follows the hilarious fortunes of a rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a great chef despite his family’s wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession.

When fate places Remy in the city of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unwanted visitor in the kitchen at one of Paris’ most exclusive restaurants, Remy forms an unlikely partnership with Linguini, the garbage boy, who inadvertently discovers Remy’s amazing talents. They strike a deal, ultimately setting into motion a hilarious and exciting chain of extraordinary events that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

Remy finds himself torn between following his dreams or returning forever to his previous existence as a rat. He learns the truth about friendship, family and having no choice but to be who he really is, a rat who wants to be a chef.

Critics in America have been raving about the film, which looked set to become the best reviewed film of the year prior to its opening on June 29 (2007).

Variety, for instance, wrote: “The master chefs at Pixar have blended all the right ingredients – abundant verbal and visual wit, genius slapstick timing, a soupcon of Gallic sophistication – to produce a warm and irresistible concoction.”

While the Hollywood Reporter declared: “Brad Bird and Pixar Animation Studios are proving to be an unbeatable combination.”

Time Magazine stated: “From the moment Remy enters, crashing, to the final happy fadeout, Ratatouille parades the brio and depth that set Pixar apart from and above other animation studios.”

And the Chicago Sun-Times raved: “Ratatouille will make you wonder why animation needs to hide behind the mantle of ‘it’s for children, but grownups will like it, too.’ This one’s for Mom and Dad, and yep, the kids will like it, too.”

The New York Times observed: “Displaying the usual meticulousness associated with the Pixar brand, Ratatouille is a nearly flawless piece of popular art.”

While The Los Angeles Times promised that “Brad Bird’s Ratatouille is so audacious you have to fall in love with its unlikely hero”.

Newsday, meanwhile, opined: “So many computer-animated movies are brash, loud and popping with pop-culture comedy, but Ratatouille has the warm glow of a favorite book. The characters are more than the sum of their gigabyte-consuming parts – they feel handcrafted.”

And Film Journal International hit the nail firmly on the head when it concluded: “An irresistible feast of comedy, imagination, intelligence and heart, Ratatouille will have audiences clamoring for seconds.”

View photos from the Paris premiere

Ratatouille opens in UK cinemas on October 5, 2007.