Variety: Ratatouille Rave Review Variety: Ratatouille Rave Review
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Variety: Ratatouille Rave Review


Variety has posted the first trade review of Ratatouille – and it’s a rave.

“After the superhero spoof of “The Incredibles” and the auto anthropomorphism of “Cars,” the idea of yet another talking-critter toon might strike some auds as overly quaint and familiar. But the last thing “Ratatouille” wants to serve up is yet another shrill, jabbering, pop-culture-referencing menagerie. Under Bird’s careful direction, Remy, with his persuasively rat-like movements and meek nods and shrugs, delivers one of the more endearing and soulful animal “performances” in recent memory… The entire production is a captivating visual delight, as the fluid shifts between human and rodent perspective, and the camera’s sensitivity to different gradations of light and color, are nothing short of stunning.”

Thank you, Pixar – again!

(Oh, and check out Mike Barrier’s review and the WALL&#149E trailer for a taste of what’s to come).

  • I’m so pumped about seeing this. I’m getting a huge group of my family to go to this gigantic digital cinema to watch it. My finance’s mom is pretty much a chef herself, so she’s excited about the movie, and she rarely watches animation with us.

  • Esn

    Hmm… interesting review. It’s true, though, that the concept itself will likely be less appealing to Americans, who’re well-known for their dislike of the French.

    Did anyone else notice that “Variety” seems to not like using “the”?

  • I don’t CARE that this is a talking animal film! 90% of all American animation, from 1930 on, has featured cute talking animals!


    I for one, cannot wait to see Ratatouille.

  • Nice to see he gave a nod to the “performance” animation. From what I’ve seen so far the pantomime aspect and visual communication between Linguini and Remy may be the hi-lite.

    The Wall-E trailer at is amazing too…

  • kaseykockroach

    IMHO, Ratatouille looks awful. While WALL-E looks fantastic. I just hope they don’t give the main character a celebrity voice. That would completely ruin the potential of WALL-E, which looks like it might prove that CGI is more than just talking animals with attitude, and it can tell a charming tale.

  • ubik

    WallE really looks good!

  • Mr. Semaj

    I’m definitely gonna see Ratatouille. Sounds like one of the better movies coming out this summer.

    Also, I can’t wait for Wall-E! :D

  • LNG

    Note that Pixar’s entire creative and commercial output from Toy Story to Wall-E was dictated by lunchtime conversation between its artistic heads, with nary a creative executive in attendance nor on the payroll.

  • It’s my understanding that a large part of WALL-E will be done completely without dialogue – and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Pixar pull that off…

  • Wow. A rave not only about the concept, but the animator’s detail as well.

    I trust Brad Bird’s director’s instincts. I have a very good feeling about this movie.

  • tom

    They haven’t shown enough art or story for Wall-E for me to judge my opinion about it, but I’m sure it will be great. Story and characters are king at Pixar so how could it not be good?

    Ratatouille on the other hand has always looked amazing. As for the Americans dislike of the French- who are you talking about? Illiterate crackers? They weren’t going to see this anyway. They got Cars. This will be better than Cars.

  • Fidel

    I’m going to see Ratatouille tonight – the preview screening, and I can’t wait. It seemed to be a little under the radar, with the likes of bully Shrek The Third trying to grab all the Happy Meal attention, but in the end, I think Pixar (with the help of the brilliant Brad Bird) will showcase another masterpiece. Definitely think this will be better than ‘Cars’…

  • Milt

    That Wall-E trailer is the most pretentious pile of s*** I’ve seen in years. I’m sure the film will be great (I loved Nemo, Incredibles, all the Pixar films, etc.) but to open up with a shot of Hidden City cafe and the ultra-serious “we’ve cured cancer” narration makes makes me sick – give me a break. The black and white photography, the overly sensitive Newman-esque score (I feel like Robert Redford should come out and hit a home run) – come on.

    You guys are great storytellers but really, am I the only one who thinks these guys are really getting full of themselves?

  • Norman

    You have a point, Milt. What we need to see is hand held monochrome footage of top Hollywood execs snorting coke through rolled up thousand dollar bills, to reveal THEIR degree of creative passion.

  • Actually, Milt, the music learned in the Wall-E trailer is from the film “Brazil” directed by Terry Gilliam.

    And considering Pixar’s track-record, the trailer could be shots of John Lasseter in a tutu burning down an orphanage, and I’d still have faith in them.

  • Milt

    Not the music at the end you tool, the music during the opening “documentary.” You know, the part with Andrew Stanton’s beautiful flowing locks of hair.

    The music from “Brazil” bothers me even more considering it was used in the last trailer for Bee Movie. The association makes Wall-E (which I concede will be an epic masterpiece) look cheap and lame like a Dreamworks film. They should’ve gone with a different track considering the DW trailer just came out.

    And that last “Waaaaaaaallllllleeeeeeeeee” sound? I want it as my ringtone.

  • I didn’t really get why they needed to go into the lunch meeting either. I guess when you want to keep the final film under wraps and not give anything away, it’s a good way to go. They only showed a tiny bit of footage. It’s better than another “in a world” trailer.

  • Come to think of it, yeah, although I love Pixar’s movies, they really are constantly slapping themselves on the back a lot. I mean…they realease teasers 3 years ahead of a release…almost as if to say “We’re the new Disney now”. Not that they don’t make good films, they do. Wonderful films in fact. But I’m kinda getting sick of seeing John Lassateer and his little circle of cronies.

    There are lots of other talented artists at Pixar whose names may never become household names, but should.

  • Monty Cook

    What a fabulous film (saw the sneak preview this evening). Pitch-perfect down to the last little French detail, and you would expect no less out of a Brad Bird film. Each successive Pixar project is more visually arresting than the last. Imagine! Character voices in service of story instead of the typical list of Hollywood actors in the more benign animated films being released (names far more distinct than their voice work on screen). Imagine! An animated film without chase scenes and potty humor CAN actually be entertaining. Imagine! Actual story arcs, intelligent writing and character development that doesn’t condescend or patronize the audience.

  • Mr. Semaj

    I’d take into consideration what Norman said; at least the Pixar guys care enough to make themselves known to their fans.

  • Fred Sparrman

    I spent a couple of days — I think this was before The Incredibles — watching every special feature and listening to every commentary on every Pixar DVD to date. I was specifically listening for someone to say something, ANYTHING, negative about the way ANY aspect of one of the films had turned out. There was only one such comment in all of the four or five movies, from Lee Unkrich, I believe regretting that a scene had been cut.
    They do seem determined to put a Happy Happy Joy Joy face on their “behind the scenes” image, one that simply can’t be 100% true. Otherwise, the films wouldn’t be so good.
    At any rate, I look forward to Jan Pinkava’s commentary on the Ratatouille DVD…

  • Esn

    “There are lots of other talented artists at Pixar whose names may never become household names, but should.”

    Steve Purcell, creator of Sam & Max, works at Pixar. I wonder if there’s any chance of an S&M (I love that abbreviation) feature film?

    The recent S&M episodic adventure games by Telltale Games that he helped create when he wasn’t working at Pixar have writing that’s a good deal better than in most tv shows.

  • I really don’t see what the problem is as far as a trailer recounting a couple of guys having lunch and discussing future projects. Successful projects at that. This is how films are created, any collaborative effort, actually. Would people rather hear of gut-wrenching get togethers where nothing but venom fills the air?
    I think it’s uplifting for the creative community as a whole to embrace the level of teamwork that the Pixar group seems to have an exclusive hold on. I refuse to subject myself to the “Penguin” movies everyone’s been pumping out lately in an efffort to ride the crest of a trend. Pixar on the other hand consistently seems like a fresh slap in the face with their choices. I always initially react the same way to their new project announcements: A movie about fish? A rat? A garbage recycling robot?
    But then the film comes out and it all makes perfect sense.
    And the main reason is that they know how to tell a story. Plain and simple. Let’s not forget that these are guys who made an entertaining short about lamps, for goodnes sakes.
    You can sit there all smarmy, cynical and “hipper than them” and knock Pixar for being sentimental in their acknowlegements of their milestones, but you’ll never reach their level of achievements with that kind of attitude.
    I’m thinking only team players are welcome in their creative community.
    If Pixar wants to get a bit sentimental about their journey and pat themselves on the back I figure they’ve earned it with their track record.
    The way I see it you’ve got two choices:
    Sit back and enjoy their work, or create something just as fulfilling.

  • I saw it tonight. A fabulous movie! The character performances are so good, I think Pixar could undertake any sort of movie at all and come out with something fine.

    It also confirms my feeling that “Cars” was just a softball Pixar dished up to fulfill that uncomfortable contract they were in with Disney at the time, and was not an indicator of their diminishing skill.

    BTW, that “Brazil” music was a well-known song on it’s own long before Gilliam’s movie.

  • Micah

    I’m with Milt on that commercial/trailer for Wall-E. We’ll see. Robots and Stars… should be hard to mess up.

    The short “Lifted” was neat. Kinda fun. The aliens looked like extras from Monster’s Inc. The Wilhelm Scream was perfect.

    The movie was very nice. Ancient story. Boy is that plot line dry and crusty. but they manages to have the characters bring it to life. I was frankly surprised. I give the movie a B-. Good enough, Pixar.

  • Brian

    So Pixar actually shows the creative people behind the movies and you are bitching? And you talk about someone being a tool.

    Just got back from seeing Ratatouille and it definitely deserves every rave it gets. Everything about it was a step above. Can’t wait to see it again.

  • Just got back from the sneak preview screening here in Emeryville. It was incredible. Quite possibly the best Pixar film ever made, and one of the best animated films ever made. And I’m not just a fanboy – it was truly incredible. Thank you to everyone who worked on it!

  • Quiet_Desperation

    >>> I wonder if there’s any chance of an S&M (I love that abbreviation) feature film?

    Bring back the 2D cartoon. That thing rocked.

    >>> the idea of yet another talking-critter toon might strike some auds as overly quaint

    Seems like half the characters are humans.

    As for the WALL-E teaser, oh, God, please make them change the stupid “robot voice�. I *hate* those fake robot voices! My old Mac SE30 could do a better voice. Just use a normal voice, like “Robots� did. Ack! Ack! Ack!

    Sorry. Pet peeve. Same reaction to the trite “alien voice� which sounds like the robot voice.

  • Jay

    Does the Wall-E trailer strike anyone else as being a tad heavy-handed? They name three classic films and then reveal Wall-E as the ‘last one’ to come out of that legendary lunch with the late great Joe Ranft, as if this film’s the end of a classic era, the last movie to come out of the nacent early years of Pixar, the last thing Joe touched. Okay, we get it, it’ll be good.

  • I saw an advanced showing of this movie last night as well. For anyone worried about it, DON’T BE. I think its Pixar’s best film yet, and I absolutely loved it.

  • Steve Gattuso

    After seeing the movie last night, I can say that the film is yet another winner for Brad Bird and Pixar. Well done to everyone involved.

  • matt

    Fred, I get your point and they are a bit Disney that way (hmmm funny that), but they did admit they took a big wrong turn with the golf thing on TS1, had to go back to scratch when TS2 wasn’t working, and admitted the initial friction on Incredibles so that’s something I guess. If you think they’re a bit happy families, have you seen “Dream on Silly Dreamer”? Those guys were being fired left right and centre by absolute morons and they STILL can’t let go. Of course litigation shrouds everything and curbs even Pixar dirt. Let’s not be naive.;)

    Agree about the Jan thing. That woulda been hella awkward for everyone, but seeing as Jan himself has said “no comment” I doubt we’ll get it.

    Matt Sullivan, 3 years in advance? 1 sure, but which one had a teaser that far ahead?

    Monty, even though Pixar animators have had voice acting roles in the past, I think it’s great that one of the Pixar guys shares the lead (as Linguini) in this one.

  • Tom: “They haven’t shown enough art or story for Wall-E for me to judge my opinion about it.”
    Milt: “I’m sure the film will be great… but [worthy rant snipped]…”
    Add me to the skeptics, unfortunately. Discounting the Pixar name, all I see here is a seeming paean to marketers’ traditional understanding of “tapping the cute market”: a lovable little robot with lovable big, soulful eyes and a lovable happy-go-lucky name (essentially ‘Wally’), evidently trying to escape his lonely fate to find (aww!) affection or companionship. It strikes me as an extremely artificial tug at the heartstrings—and I say this as a fairly sentimental guy who gives a damn about emotions when they’re genuine.
    Anybody remember how the Jim Meddick comic strip “Monty” originated as “Robotman,” the spinoff of a 1980s marketing campaign? Before becoming a kind of android Opus under Meddick’s superior direction, the robot was born with a heart on his chest and an inside of mush…
    Greeting card manufacturers think the world needs this kind of character. It’s up to Pixar to make me care about him; good luck!

  • matt

    Why does everybody think they came up with those ideas AT the meeting? I agree it’s not completely clear but he actually said they were “knocking around a bunch of ideas” (and given we know the genesis of Nemo came from him and his relationship with his own son) so while this was the first time they’d brought their stuff to the table/out in the open and marked the start of development, they didn’t actually say what most think.

    So in that light, people like Milt being so catty to others about the saccharine tone need to go back and look again. And in their defence, I defy anyone to lose one of their best mates (who had a big hand in all those films) and not get a bit mushy when talking about stuff like that. And if Ranft didn’t have much to do with Wall-e due to his death, well all the more reason for the so-called “We’ve cured cancer” tone (which is probably closer to we miss our friend). No need to be so pissy with the name-calling, Milt. Glass houses and all that.

  • Esn: “Americans, who’re well-known for their dislike of the French”

    Dude, Americans LOVE the French.
    What the US and France have between them is more of a playful fake rivalry like you’d see in competing sports teams than anything anyone takes seriously.

  • Being a Disney licensee, I was lucky enough to see extensive footage/previews of Wall-E and I can confidently say that it will be as good if not better than the Pixar films that have preceded it. It’s a new idea/environment for them and it looks like they’re handling it perfectly.

  • Shannon

    Quote from Tom: “Illiterate crackers? They weren’t going to see this anyway. They got Cars.”

    Could we hold the judgmental, offensive comments and just talk about animation. Cars made $244,082,982 so you’re generalizing a pretty big group there.

    As for Ratatouille. Saw it last night and even though my expectations were REALLY high, the film delivered. Can’t wait to see it again!

  • Nate

    One of the best lines of “Ratatouille?”

    “Forgive us for being rude, but after all, we’re French.”

    MOvie was GREAT! Beautiful work, and a film that is VASTLY more mature and entertaining than most films out so far this year. Kudos to Pixar.

    As far as the WALLE trailer goes, I can’t wait. I suppose “milt” has a right to his opinion, But until he produces something as outstanding as Pixar’s track record, the world has the right to continue to ignore him.

  • You’ve obviously been living in california too long. People outside it DON’T like the french. Nor do they want amnesty for 12 million illegals and all their family members.

  • K. Borcz

    I went to the preview screening of Ratatouille last night and it was wonderful. The audience reactions were great. There were times DURING the movie that they started clapping, loads of laughter, and it really ran the gamut of emotions in this wonderful story…and btw, the effects alone in this movie are quite stunning. Like the first time I saw sully’s fur that same shivver down my spine, just KNOWing that what I was watching was an accomplishment. There’s lots of great comedy and acting, which you just gotta see. I don’t want to spoil it at all, because it really is something you NEED to see. So no favorite quotes from the movie from me!

    And as a warning, don’t go hungry to the show because the popcorn will seem a paltry substitute to the food they have on the screen.

    AS for the Wall-e trailer, they really didn’t give out much. Just that he talks like Stephen Hawking. But I still can’t wait to see where they go with it.

  • Nate

    “Matt Sullivan says: you’ve obviously been living in california too long. People outside it DON’T like the french. Nor do they want amnesty for 12 million illegals and all their family members.”

    Well, people outside of it should get out more. Thanks to the French, we have this country. And you may not want amnesty, but BIG BUSINESS and it’s party (the G.O.P.) DO! And guess what? They’ll win.

  • Looking VERY forward to Ratatouille! :)

    The acting appears to just be getting BETTER and BETTER
    in Pixar’s films… They are really raising the bar for the
    industry, and the industry kinda needs it! ;)

    (Sorry, I’m on a “Where is the QUALITY in animation” kick
    today!… That’s what happens when you work in TV animation
    for so long!)… heh-heh

  • Jerry’s Mom

    For all of you compaining about the new trailer… i suggest taking a look at this one: and then shutting the heck up. I saw Ratatouille last night as well and I absolutely can’t wait to see it again. Thanks Mr. Bird.

  • Fred Sparrman

    My only point is that the impression I got from those first DVDs was “Isn’t it wonderful that we always make the perfect decision at every point in the creative process?”. When I know that can’t be the way they really feel. My gosh, when I look at my own work I’m overcome with “If only”s and “I shoulda”s and “I wonder”s. I’m certain they have some of the same feelings. If not, they ARE smug and self-satisfied. But again, I don’t believe they are; I just think they don’t share their doubts with us. It’s not a very realistic view of the artistic process, and no argument about it, they are artists.
    Critiquing a “behind the scenes” feature isn’t the same as critiquing the film itself, but if they’re putting it out there, we have a right to comment on it.

  • Esn

    Ok then, let’s take a look at a poll.

    38% of Americans have a negative view of the French, and 35% have a positive view. I’ll take a gander and guess that Ratatouille will do better in blue states than in red states just because of that simple fact.

    Although funnily enough, it looks like the French hate themselves even more than the Americans (44%).

  • Sean D.

    I too saw Ratatouille last night and I place it at the top of Pixar’s list. Absolutely loved every bit of it and I can’t wait to see it again and again and again. Bird is 3 for 3!

  • I’m just saying an awful lot of Americans don’t like the french. Doesn’t mean they wont see Ratatouille or pine for the days when France was more friendly. In fact, this movie may even improve people’s attitudes about it. Animaiton is powerful storytelling man :}

  • Chuck R.

    I sorta agree with Matt S., but what do we mean by “the French” ?

    I’m from the midwest, and all my favorite artists are French (add Sylvain Chomet to the list) There’s even a French guy in my church choir who’s as friendly as anyone I’ve met. But it’s no secret that Jacques Chirac has been a terrible ally and a sub-standard global citizen. Here’s hoping President Sarko will help French-US relations a bit. And yeah, a French-themed Pixar movie can’t hurt.

  • Haven’t bothered to read all these comments, but at the risk of repeating info: iTunes has a 9 minute clip of Ratatouille, and it looks wonderful from any standard I use – originality, storytelling, technical proficiency, and entertainment.

  • John A

    Hatred of the French was concocted by the right wing back in the 1980s. before that, France was seen as one of our oldest allies. They gave us the statue of Liberty for God’s sake. The phoney tough guys on the right had to create a liberal enemy that their followers could ridicule, so they they picked the French. I’ve always found that hatred of the French is a pretty good way of gaging someone’s ignorance.

  • Floyd Norman

    C’mon, guys! It’s called marketing. We’ve been doing the same BS here at Disney for decades. No real insider believes that stuff.

    It’s like those dumb song writing sequences in movies where brilliant composers write a hit song in a few minutes.

    Still, Pixar continues head and shoulders above the rest.

  • Jay

    I have no idea why Americans hate the French, but I’ve got a few right-wing Republican friends, and if anything remotely French comes into their field of vision (baguettes, croissants, brie) or even anything they feel is enjoyed by the French (good cheese, espresso, wine), they’ll grumble and start swearing about how they HATE the razzinfrazzin French. Why? “They’re rude and elitist!” (they assume)

    French-hating Americans have never been to New York or LA, I guess.

    My worry is that people won’t go see Ratatouille not because of a bizarre anti-French bias, but because they’ll see the hard-to-pronounce title, read that it’s about a rat who wants to be a gourmet chef, and think, “nah, it’ll go over my kids’ heads” and put in the Little Mermaid DVD again.

  • Ahhh, the French are okay. Great comics, great food, nice country.
    Mike Barrier comes off like a fun-hating cynic in his review, though. Fortunately, no one outside of the industry reads his articles.

  • I ate croissants last night. Good Sweet God in heaven I love croissants…

    The right can bitch and moan about the french all they like. It’s not going to change the fact that the french really do have some of the best food and wine in all the world.

    Same goes for other cultures. I may be against mass illegal immigration coming through our southern border, but I LOVE mexican food. LOVE IT.

    Oh, and a third point. I certainly hope Ratatouille helps ease tensions between US and france. But…it doesn’t help when they have lines in the movie like “We can’t help being rude. We’re French!�

    Or…some line like that….it was in the trailer.

  • Oh, and one other thing. The hatred for America coming from France doesn’t always come from the native french.

    Recently ( if you’ve kept up with the news ) they have had numerous riots from immigrant muslims and other groups who were demending that France work harder to accomodate them. It’s part of the reason France just elected a right-wing president. He promised to restrict the influx of aggressive immigrant populations whose stated goal was to turn France into a muslim nation.

    So yeah, wherever you have large influxes of foreigners who don’t want to assimilate ( and this goes for America too ) you see these groups damanding more rights and services, whether they deserve it or not. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the massive surge in immigrants all over the world are trying to make other nations hate America for its wrongdoings ( real or not )

  • ubik

    sorry if this has been posted before, but here is a big spoiler article about the actual story of Wall-E:
    (beware, spoilers)

  • Andrew Lee

    “Hidden City” has the best breakfast scramble ever.

    If you ever get a chance to go there, give it a try, and see if they have some home made banana bread……it’s incredible.

  • I was in Paris for the first time in my life recently, girded with the expectation that given my non-existent command of french and my american accent I might deal wth what the travel books and anecdotes call rudeness.
    Nothing could have been further from the truth–in fact, I found that every single shop clerk and waiter, every person I was next to on the bus, the metro or the street beat both NYC and L.A. hands down for graceful manners and even what we like to think of as plain old “american” friendliness(the latter especially when I’d enter a boutique–a chic one–or a bookshop or department store and I’d say “bonjour”. “Bonjour”, merci” and “au revoir” along with “de rien” are the magic words).
    I always got help, and it was invariably cheerful.

    Conversely, the only times in the city that I was bugged around other people it was by–guess who? Rude AMERICANS. Also a few extremely annoying backpackers from a couple of other EU countries. I’m not a self-hating american, believe me, but the fact is that the french culture is different; they don’t tend to suffer fools gladly(although they positively drool over kids and pets), and they exhibit and expect basic manners that we just don’t use anymore in our own world. In some ways it’s kind of early 20th century, which for this tourist was a blessing. They also have a terrific sense of humor, which I found to be a little dry and puckish–the best kind. Generalisations, but borne out everywhere we went(not just to the upper-crust places, either).

  • Nate

    Ubik…jim hill’s fanboy site is filled with lies and misinformation, and can hardly be insinuated as “reliable.” On top of that, the “writing” is horrible. Call it tripe, but don’t call it “journalism.”

  • I will reserve judgement until the day the film’s released. For all we know, this story could be a plant designed to throw off spoiler-seekers :P

  • skippy

    i, too, attended a “sneak preview” of Ratatouille on Saturday night and it completely blew me away. maybe it was the crowd… maybe it was the film… but i haven’t heard the entire audience laugh so much in a long time. the enjoyment in the air was palpable! i went in with high-hopes and this film went above and beyond.

    Ratatouille is absolutely incredible.

    This is what films are supposed to do: entertain. This film is absolutely, completely enjoyable from start to finish.

    I will watch it again when it’s released. And again. And again.

  • Oh man, we have to wait until OCTOBER for this movie. Just hearing how brilliant it is is only making me more envious.

  • By October, I meant that’s when the film gets a UK release. Heh.

  • I wanna go to France for the Tour De france. i started watching that a few years back and now I’m addicted. Viva le tour!