I caught Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille last night with Jarren and my mom (because, yknow, it’s a family film). They are pre-screening the hell out of this movie (it opens June 29), which is typically a sign of confidence. In this case, a very justified sign of confidence for one of Disney/Pixar’s best films. Brad Bird has done it again, after the impressive one-two punch of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. In a way, he’s done what many thought would be impossible: make a terrific animated feature with Hollywood actors playing French, with only one anthropomorphic lead character, with a humans-in-love subplot, and with just as much dialogue about food and wine as there is slapstick (animated food never looked so good). Brad Bird did it. And, if the screening we attended means anything, the kids are gonna love it even more than the grown-ups.
Brad Bird’s latest animation classic is so warm and enjoyable, it reminded me of pre-Pixar Disney features like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. What I mean to say is, for the first time in years, Disney has made an old-fashioned fairy tale of sorts. And like Bird’s last two features, Ratatouille could have almost as easily been a live-action film, but he uses the animation medium to offer a wonderfully diverse array of visual feasts and gags.
I won’t say much about the film’s plot points or characters, but there is an entertaining assortment of both on display here. All you need to know, though, is that Ratatouille is unlike any other Pixar feature before it, yet embodies the distinct tone and spirit that has made them an animation powerhouse.