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Old 07-05-2007, 04:00 PM   #128
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Directed by Brad Bird
Written by Brad Bird
Starring Will Arnett, Brian Dennehy, Janeane Garofalo, Brad Garrett, Ian Holm, Peter O'Toole, Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano and Peter Sohn

Pixar Animation Studios is one of the leader's in CGI-animated feature films. Their first feature-length production was the 1995 Academy Award winning film Toy Story, which was recently named to the top 100 movies on the American Film Institute's 10th Anniversary Edition. Pixar also received Oscar nominations for its next six productions, including A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo and last year's summer hit, Cars. This year, Pixar rolls out its eighth feature-length film Ratatouille, which ranks beside Toy Story as one of the studio's finest films.

Remy (Patton Oswalt) is a rat that has been born with a keen sense of taste and smell. Separated from his family and friends, Remy finds himself in Paris, France, and outside of the restuarant of deceased world famous chef Auguste Gusteau (Brad Garrett). Peering through the window of the restuarant and into the kitchen, Remy spots a young employee named Alfredo Linguini (Lou Romano), who is adding unneeded ingredients to the restuarant's soup. Remy decides to use his natural abilities to repair the damaged soup, which turns out to be a surprise success to those dining at the restuarant that evening.

The kitchen staff and the general public assume the great tasting dish was prepared by Linguini, so the young man with a lack of culinary talent enlists the help of Remy in order to maintain his job at Gusteau's. The two work out at a system that leads to unexpected success for the restuarant and for Linguini, who overcomes his shyness in order to date his co-worker Colette (Janeane Garofalo). But the duo soon faces a tough challenge in trying to impress renowned food critic Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole).

The best animation film since 2004's The Incredibles, Ratatouille is a visual masterpiece combined with an engaging story that is a little long and drags a bit in the second act, but never stops being entertaining. Writer and director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant) has once again restored some new vigor to the field of animated movies by taking the gorgeous computer graphics audiences have come to expect, and mixing that together with a wholesome story that will easily appeal to individuals of all ages.

Bird directs the movie with a tremendous amount of subtlety, electing only to move the camera when the action requires and when he wants to astound the viewer with the movie's amazing imagery. Otherwise, Bird lets the story do the majority of the work, and makes each of his movie's characters rich in detail. Straying far away from lame animal gags and asinine pop culture references usually found in today's crop of animated films, Bird delivers a story that isn't laugh-out-loud funny, but contains that same joyous feel you get when you read a classic children's book.

One of the other highlights of Ratatouille is the incredible original music from Michael Giacchino (Mission: Impossible III, TV's Lost). The score stands-out and feels truly connected to the story and the famed city its characters call home. The film doesn't possess a soundtrack filled with today's popular artists like most animated flicks, and Ratatouille goes to great lengths to ensure that the music is only used as a part of the narrative, and not something that has been thrown together and seems rather out of place.

An irresistible film that will leave you with a smile on your face, Ratatouille is not only a great animated movie, but it is one of the best movies of the first-half of 2007.


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