Starring: Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Peter O'Toole, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo, Brad Garrett
Directed by: Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava
Ah, Paris! That magical city where anything is possible. Where hunchbacks swing through bell towers, the Holy Grail lies safely hidden and Ewan McGregor sings Elton John. And, apparently, where sewer-dwelling rats can become Michelin chefs.
Remy (Patton Oswalt) is not like the other rats. While his father and brother and the rest of the colony are content to chow down on garbage, he dreams of haute cuisine. Inspired by his hero, the five star Parisian chef Gusteau, and his belief that 'anyone can cook' (an egalitarian French chef? Well, I said anything was possible), Remy longs to combine flavours and create the perfect dish.
So when he finds himself alone and abandoned in Paris, it's only natural that he gravitates towards Gusteau's restaurant, now on the rocks since the chef's demise. And when he joins forces with hapless garbage boy Linguini (Lou Romano), he finally gets a chance to try out his culinary skills, controlling the clumsy lad by tugging on his hair from beneath his chef's hat. And whaddayaknow? The result is a triumph. But will Remy be able to survive the machinations of scheming sous-chef Skinner (an apoplectic Ian Holm) or the doom-laden prophecies of cadaverous food critic Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole) aka the Grim Eater? Oh come on, it's a Disney film – go figure.
With his great big dreams and energetic work ethic, Remy the rat provides a truly inspirational role model for anyone whose aspirations rise above appearing on Big Brother. With his great big eyes and tufty blue fur, he's an appealing little hero you can't help but love. And, warm and sweet as melted chocolate, sharp as a knife and exquisitely crafted as a wedding cake, Ratatouille is a masterpiece every bit as fine as the food cooked up by its diminutive star.
The animation is, of course, top notch: brilliantly observed, utterly engaging and very, very funny - I defy you to watch the climactic set piece without laughing your furry rat's ass off. A film from Pixar is always a treat, but Ratatouille comes with curly fries and a side order of onion rings. Lap it up – it's delicious.