Thursday, September 13, 2007

Weekday Movie Review - Ratatouille


Ratatouille is a french cuisine in true sense. However, this animated movie is one of the best creations of Disney's Pixar and just goes to show that there are not "many" around to really compete with these guys when it comes to Animations and Toons.

The story is such a wonderful web of the animal world and humans, passion against survival, love against possessive feelings. All this happens in the heart of France, in Paris. Let's see how well I remember the characters in the film, there are a bunch of rats - Rémy, Émile , Django and humans in - Gusteau, Skinner , Linguini , the lady love -Colette. The main ones actually speaking and such a light hearted one too.

I am so tempted to run through the story line as well. So here we go, Rémy lives in a rat colony in the attic of a French country home with his brother Émile and father Django. Inspired by France's recently deceased top chef, Auguste Gusteau, Rémy tries to live the life of a gourmet. Not appreciating his talents, his clan puts him to work sniffing for rat poison in their food.

Rémy and the rats flee the house when the resident, an old woman, discovers the colony. Rémy, separated from the others, floats in the storm drains to Paris on a cookbook by Gusteau, following the chef's image to his namesake restaurant, now run by former sous-chef Skinner. As Rémy watches from a skylight a young man with no culinary talent, Alfredo Linguini, arrives with a letter of introduction from his recently deceased mother, and is hired on to do janitorial duties. Linguini spills a pot of soup and attempts to cover up his mistake by adding random ingredients. Upset, Rémy falls into the kitchen and attempts to fix the ruined soup rather than trying to escape. Linguini catches Rémy in the act, just as Skinner catches Linguini. In the confusion some of the soup has been served. To everyone's surprise, the soup is a success.
Rémy discovers that he can control Linguini's movements by pulling on his hair.

The kitchen's sole woman cook, Colette, convinces Skinner not to fire Linguini provided he can recreate the soup. Skinner orders him to take Rémy away, but he begins an alliance by which Rémy secretly directs Linguini in return for his protection. The two perfect a marionette-like arrangement by which Rémy tugs at Linguini's hair to control his movements and stays hidden under Linguini's toque blanche.

Skinner plies Linguini with vintage Château Latour in an unsuccessful attempt to discover the secret of his unexpected talents. The next morning, hung over and disheveled, Linguini nearly confides his secret to Colette. Desperately trying to stop Linguini, Rémy pulls his hair, making him fall on Colette, leading the two to kiss. They begin dating, leaving Rémy feeling abandoned. Meanwhile, Skinner learns after some sleuthing that, unknown to everyone, Linguini is in fact Gusteau's son and stands to inherit the restaurant. This would thwart Skinner's ambition to exploit Gusteau's image to market prepared frozen foods.

One night Rémy and his colony are reunited. While scrounging food Rémy discovers Gusteau's will which, after a chase by Skinner, he presents to Linguini. Linguini now owns the restaurant, fires Skinner, and becomes a rising star in the culinary world. After a falling out, Linguini decides he no longer needs Rémy, and Rémy retaliates by leading a kitchen raid for his rat colony. Linguini attempts to apologize to Rémy, only to discover and kick out his whole colony. Rémy feels guilty about hurting his friend, and refuses to join them in resuming the raid.

Things come to a head the night of a planned review by jaded food critic Anton Ego. Linguini, unable to cook without the rat's guidance, admits his ruse to the staff when Rémy shows up, leading them all to walk out. Colette returns after thinking through Gusteau's motto, "Anyone can cook!" Django, inspired by his son's courage, returns with the entire rat colony to cook under Rémy's direction, while Linguini, discovering his true talent, waits tables on roller skates. Colette helps Rémy prepare ratatouille; Rémy's new recipe produces a dish so good that, in the climax of the film, a bite of it leads Ego to relive childhood memories of his mother. Ego asks to meet the chef but Colette insists he must wait until the rest of the diners have left. At the end of the service, Rémy and the rats are revealed. A changed man, Ego writes a glowing review, declaring that the chef at Gusteau's is the greatest chef in all of France.

In the denouement Gusteau's is closed by a health inspector, who finds the rats after being tipped off by Skinner. Ego loses his credibility and job when the public discovers he has praised a rat-infested restaurant. Everything is for the best, however; with Ego as investor and regular patron, Linguini, Colette, and Rémy open a successful new bistro called "La Ratatouille," which includes a kitchen and dining facilities for both rats and humans.

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