Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ratatouille

PG has summed up in 3 words what I will attempt in 343: “Overrated, I’m afraid

Yes, I enjoyed Ratatouille. Yes, the animation is wonderful. Yes, the messages are strong and relevant, and the characters interesting and compelling. But it suffers from a suspension of disbelief problem that I was not quite able to overcome.

The problem isn’t the gourmet-cooking rat. That’s what animation is all about, after all. If woodland creatures can’t help dress a would-be princess or dancing monkeys can’t demand the secret of fire from a boy, we may as well stop going to the movies and spend our free time doing trigonometry.

I especially enjoyed Remy using Linguini’s hair to control him, and the woman who thinks the best way to kill rats is by shotgun, and the use of a last will and testament as wings. I think I laughed the hardest when the rats tied up the health inspector and dumped him in the refrigerator. I say all this merely to provide evidence that suspension of disbelief is not normally a problem for me.

But the movie lost me when Linguini outs Remy. It spends too much time making Remy a real rat for me to believe that he can be outed without crossing some invisible human-cartoon animal barrier. Until then I was willing to believe a rat can cook. Afterward, it made me stop and think: Gee, if there was a real rat in my kitchen, I would try to kill it. Granted, I’ve never seen a rat as cute as Remy. But once that one link snaps, the plot comes tumbling down and the magic is over.

Nonetheless, the plot delivers themes that almost make it worthwhile. Combining “Anyone Can Do Stuff” with “Do What You Are Meant To Do” along with a dash of “Critics Should Advocate For What Is New and Interesting And Good” makes for a nice and tasty sauce. It’s just that the sauce is put on what I thought was going to be turkey, and turns out to be tofu.

4 comments:

eciericdad said...

Dan,
I enjoy reading your blogs...we loved this movie, but I can see your points!

Talk to you later!

Eric Springer

BMG said...

Dude, you've got to include a link for that last reference: tofurkey has it's own website.

Dan S said...

How could I not have realized that tofurkey would have a web presence?

Updating shortly...

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

I think you've got it. I knew the ending of the movie just didn't do it for me, but couldn't quite figure out why. I loved the bits in the kitchen with the other cooks and the statement of what makes great bread great? Spot on. I'm afraid I'll never enjoy bread in the states now that I know just how good it can be.