(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Ratatouille. The song "La Festin" plays in the background throughout)
Doug (vo): Ratatouille, the second Pixar film directed by Brad Bird, and, funny enough, the second film to mostly star a human cast, even though the main character himself is not human.
Doug (vo): Our hero is a little rat, played by Patton Oswalt. He has an extreme fascination with the human culture, especially their food. Well, maybe not fascination, more like an obsession. He loves human food, he loves to learn how to cook, he loves to make great art out of special ingredients. But the rest of his family and his clan tell him to stay away from humans and shut up and eat his garbage. Eventually, the rat gets separated from his family and actually comes across one of his favorite restaurants. Sad news is that the chef of that restaurant recently passed away and now it’s being taken under control by a chef who isn’t really that good and, on top of that, is very power-hungry. So our hero feels he can at least go in and help out with some of the dishes, but ultimately gets caught. He’s captured by a janitor named Linguini, who everybody now thinks is the one who conjured up the dishes, which everybody seems to like. Linguini puts together very quickly that it was the rat who doctored it up, and eventually, they form a partnership. The rat finds a pretty funny way of controlling Linguini by pulling his hair and somehow controlling his arms. Much like a puppet show, the rat has total power over the chef, and makes it appear like he’s the one that’s cooking all these incredible dishes. From there, gosh, a ton of stuff happens. There’s a conspiracy about who really owns the restaurant, there’s a chef that gets fired, there’s a critic who wants to come and destroy the restaurant by giving it a bad review, there’s the reuniting the rat with his family, there’s a moral about stealing, there’s a romance, a bunch of colorful characters that are trying to be squeezed in on the side. It’s a ton.
Doug (vo): Much like The Incredibles, I really wish some parts got more focus than others. Like, I love these chefs, and I like how they all have these very unique backstories, but...they’re really rushed. I wanted more of them, I wanted to have more interaction, but it’s all sort of pushed aside for Linguini, who, honestly, I don’t think is that very interesting a character. He’s just sort of your everyday doofus, nothing really makes him stand out from any other doofus in movies. There’s a chef, played pretty well by Janeane Garofalo, who’s pretty entertaining. The critic is one of the best designs I’ve ever seen in an animated movie. Though, is it me or is he just that guy from the Sleepy Hollow cartoon?
[That guy from an animated adaptation of Sleepy Hollow is shown alongside Anton Ego; both do look similar]
Doug (vo): Either way, he looks awesome. The dead chef who used to own the restaurant comes back as a figment of the rat’s imagination, and I think that’s a frigging great idea. I think they should have done that in Hunchback with the gargoyles. It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s touching, and it’s actually sort of an interesting dive into the rat’s psyche. I thought that gave a very unique touch. But again, these are the elements I sort of wish got more focus. A lot of it is still focusing on the villain chef, who, again, is just sort of a boring villain chef, the rat family, which, again, is just sort of a boring rat family, and the relationship between the rat and Linguini, which...is okay, but I think could have been a lot stronger.
[Many of the film's background shots are shown]
Doug (vo): The movie’s saving grace, though, is its atmosphere. Every shot just looks like something out of a beautiful painting. Look at those warm colors, look at the contrast against the purple skies. Look at France, oh, God, look at France. And once again, the designs of the human characters are very Brad Bird. They looked like they were drawn first and then put into a computer, which gives a lot more personality. Speaking of personality, I will not dare give away the ending of this film. To me, it is one of the most perfect endings that can ever be given to a movie. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it’s clever, the words being said are actually pretty thought-provoking, not just for critics, but for people in general wanting to judge something. And it gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling that only something as good as Disney can give you.
Doug (vo): I think this, mixed with the atmosphere, is what makes the film especially strong. Does it have troubles? Like I said before, yeah, and I think they are some serious flaws. But, oh, man, the stuff that’s good, I can’t even say how good it is. They’re some of my favorite scenes and I can listen to that last dialogue from the critic over and over again. It’s one of my favorite moments in all cinema. So, despite its troubles, Ratatouille is a delicious delight that I’m sure to return to many times in the future.
[The film's final scene, showing the new restaurant's sign, La Ratatouille, is shown]