Ratatouille is an animated comedy film which is directed by Brad Bird and was produced by Pixar. Released on 22nd June 2007, the film features Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Janeane Garofalo, and Peter O’Toole as the main voice cast. The film brings us the story of a rat named Remy who, gifted with an extraordinary sense of smell and taste, is forced to leave his home after the death of his favorite chef, Auguste Gusteau.
Remy now settles at a restaurant which is run by Gusteau’s former second in command, Skinner. By making friends with a garbage boy named Alfredo Linguini, Remy tries to emulate his idol Gusteau until one day, France’s highest-rated critic, Anton Ego, decides to review Skinner’s restaurant. Remy, whose idol’s death was caused due to the criticism by Ego, must now confront and force Ego to change his mind about his idol’s cooking.
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Ratatouille’s performance at the box office was mind-boggling as it grossed over $620 million, taking over the world cinemas by storm. The film also won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as being declared as one of the top 100 motion pictures of the 21st century through a poll conducted by BBC.
One of Pixar’s main concerns for this film, apart from animating humans and rats, was designing the gourmet dishes presented in the film. The filmmakers took this concept as a challenge to portray animated dishes which were just as compelling as in real life. Hence, for this purpose, numerous chefs were consulted in both the United States and France to determine the visual quality of the dishes that were designed. Animators even went as far as taking official cooking classes from different schools just to learn about how a commercial kitchen works and the tools involved in making mouth-watering dishes.
As far as the locations are concerned, according to the official Pixar website, Production Designer Harley Jessup stated that they wanted this film to be extravagant at the time, and hence, they personally went to visit the Paris sewers in order to observe the overall layout and the aspects which can be transformed in the film.
Moving on to the theme song, Ratatouille received an academy award nomination for Best Original Score. The credit for the theme song mainly goes to the artist, Michael Giacchino, who also wrote two different themes for the character of Remy as well.
Despite its commercial success, parents have shown deep concern over a couple of scenes which include a couple arguing and then physically forcing each other to become intimate, and another where an old lady is seen holding and shooting a gun. Parents have criticized that there was no need to display such controversial scenes in a children’s film as such acts of domestic and sexual violence can end up influencing a child in a negative manner.
Overall, Ratatouille is a film which not only has great animation but, as per Pixar’s tradition, a great storyline as well. Unarguably one of the best films of its year, Pixar made sure that Ratatouille becomes the type of film that families can get together and watch it over and over again.