Todd Vaziri, a compositing supervisor at ILM, has written an enlightening piece about the subtle use of the dolly zoom in a shot during Pixar’s Ratatouille. He highlights director Brad Bird’s application of the dolly zoom as “one of my favorite uses of the technique in the last decade”:
The effect is used in Ratatouille with confidence and elegant subtlety; like previously stated, most viewers do not even realize the perspective is flattening out, which is antithetical to the modern, in-your-face cliche use of the dolly zoom. The technique is generally used as punctuation (usually an exclamation point), screaming “The characters are going through something significant RIGHT NOW!” In this scene from Ratatouille, the dolly zoom is simply part of the mise-en-scène and not the focus of the shot. Like the editing, costumes, and the lighting, the dolly zoom is not meant to be seen, but felt.