Ratatouille is pretty. In the stolen words of Eddie Murphy, "It's prettah! It's SO-O-O prettah." Damn right. It doesn't try to push the limits of human modeling and tumble into the uncanny valley; it picks a style taken straight from recognizable caricature and drags it into modern 3D. Anyone who has read one of the Madeleine books will recognize the facial structures, which is appropriate since the thing is set in Paris.
We won't ask why the rats have American accents. Hey, at least most of the non-evil humans do too.
The plot is just long enough (not complex, long) to keep me exactly the right amount of interested in what's-gonna-happen. The imagery - unbelievable. I saw this movie the day after seeing Transformers, and it's like being served the two ends of the spectrum of modern effects and animation. Two entirely different but completely believable (believable as in visually consistent and convincing) worlds that pull you in. Personally, I think Ratatouille had it somewhat harder, because (as the cute sigil said at the end of the credits) it was 100% animated; no motion capture, no live action. They had to make all that not just funny but buyable strictly using what was in their noggins, and get it down onto film via electrons with rendering times in the hours-per-frame for the final product.
Damn, I'm glad that our economy, fucked as it is, presently supports that sort of activity.
I won't tell you what it's about, save to confirm that yes, it's entirely kid-friendly. There's some teensy violence (some people get tied up, albeit entirely offscreen in true cartoon fashion) and there's some scary-ride type stuff. Threatening gestures? Sure, from silly-looking people, but mostly...chases. Good ol' fashioned cartoon chases. Looney Tunes are way more violent than this.
And good God, they got Peter O'Toole to voice the food critic. SALUD!
Two paws up.
(The usual Pixar short beforehand, 'Lifted', was hilarious.)
Posted by jbz at July 10, 2007 11:02 PM