Monday, June 11, 2007

Some thoughts on "Ratatouille"

A couple weekends ago (June 2) I had the pleasure of seeing Ratatouille with my fellow Pixarians at its wrap party. Now, we had all had a few drinks, and the crew was pretty exhausted, so we weren't the most objective audience, but I think it turned out fantastic. I'll admit, the premise of a rat who wants to be a chef never excited me that much, but when the story is in the hands of Brad Bird, you know you're in for something special. The story was funny and entertaining, the characters memorable, and the production values are off the charts. This is by far the best looking film Pixar has ever done, and probably the best looking animated film to date. The lighting is sumptuous, and the detail in the sets and characters is downright compulsive. Then there's the animation... There is acting in this film the likes of which has never been seen before in animation (at least not since the Golden Age of Disney), and the performances are more consistent throughout the film than ever before. This is partly because the Pixar animatosrs are at the top of their game, and partly because Brad Bird has written scenes that demand great animation. This film has definitely raised the bar on all levels, from story to cinematography to animation to shading to effects. It's such a dense and layered film, too, so I look forward to seeing it again (with a REAL audience) to pick up more of the details.

I only contributed one shot to this film, so I have the more distance from it than previous films, which makes it even more special to me. I don't know if this film will make a lot of money. How do you market cooking to kids and dads, and rats to moms? I just know that if people get to the theater, they will enjoy it. I expect this movie will be very well-reviewed, and hopefully that buzz will translate into some good revenues. Not that Pixar is in danger of extinction, or that if we don't break opening day records there will be layoffs or famine in the crew. But a movie with so much love and craftsmanship doesn't come along very often, and it deserves to be enjoyed by the masses. These movies we make are gifts to the world, so help us share the gift.

If you're reading this blog then you're probably already an animation fan and were likely going to see this movie anyway. But if you like it, see if you can't drag along someone else to see it who maybe isn't a fan. Tell your mom or the guy in the Starbuck's line. I bet they'll thank you later. And so will I.


  1. I couldn't be more excited about an animated movie than Ratatouille. It will probably be the highlight of the year for me..

  2. Here here! From what I've seen in the trailers, the acting doesn't seem to read as acting for an animated movie, these characters just seem to exist.

  3. I'm so excited for Ratatouille!
    I'm going to work opening and build it and then I've already requested to be the manager to preview it the night before it comes out! (watch Ratatouille the night before and get paid to do it, heck yes!)
    I've been promoting it like crazy actually, well as best I can... basically every one of the 12 movies currently playing at my location have Ratatouille trailers on them... I wonder how that happened???
    Oh, and it was the funniest thing...
    Way back when Happily N'Ever After was out, I witnessed a father and son leaving the theater kinda disappointed. The little boy kept pulling his dad's arm and pointing at the Ratatouille poster in the hall saying "I wanna see dat one" and the dad said "don't worry we'll definitely go see it when it comes out."
    Little things like that just make my day and is why I love my job. I love observing how the audience reacts to movies, it's just so awesome!
    Maybe this information will come in handy someday when I become an animator myself, if nothing else I see a lot of interesting characters with interesting quirks that will be fun to animate someday!
    I have a feeling this movie is going to do really well, just from what I've seen so far.
    A lot of people trust Pixar!!!

  4. I'm definitely going to see Ratatouille in theaters! I'm really excited to watch it! All the trailers and podcasts have gotten me really looking forward to it!! and Remy is so adorable! From what I've seen, you guys at Pixar have put in so much detail into the movie, it's truly amazing. Amongst one of the many things I noticed, I loved how Remy's fur is so realistic and how you can see his chest moving from his heart when it's pounding!

    I'm glad that you think it's fantastic! It makes me even more excited to watch it! thanks for the post!

  5. Can't wait for it Victor. I think I may be seeing a Sneak Peak this Saturday! Congrats!

  6. Victor, hit it on the money! I just saw the movie! and WOW, I saw it through the myspace event, and I am going to see it again and again.

    I couldn't believe the acting, and much Charlie Chaplin inspired type work and the writing is just... just, great!!

    The detail in everything is ungodly I loved the textures and lighting.

    I can not, I just can't express how gorgeous this film is! Everyone must see this movie!

  7. C'est troooop beaaaauuu (litterally it's too beautiful:))
    My God,Vic, can't wait for it to get to the theaters. I've been psyched abt it ever since i saw the first trailer last year. and talking abt it:)
    ppl will start calling the psychotherapists to have me locked.hahah won't let them til i see this movie:D

    Congrats to Pixar in advance

  8. I have literally been waiting for a film like this to hit theaters ever since Monsters Inc. came out on DVD. I remember quoting to my sister, "Pixar should make a movie about rats, since they're so good at making films already....". Never thought it would happen. Alas!, look at what's coming out in theaters this June....

    Of the reviews I've heard concerning the film (yours included, Mr. Navone), it sounds as if Ratatouille is Pixar's best and funniest production yet. This thing is gonna be delicious...literally.

    Thanks for the review! I look forward to seeing the film on June 29!!

    -- Mitch

  9. Some of my favorite movies were directed by Brad Bird (namely The Iron Giant and the Incredibles). I am really looking forward to seeing it (and so is my daughter!)

  10. This is music to my ears Victor!

  11. my husband and i have been looking forward to seeing ratatouille ever since we first heard about it. so glad to hear such good buzz on it! we'll be there opening weekend and we'll probably blog about it and urge all our friends and family to go, too.

  12. I'm looking forward to Ratatouille just as much as the next animation student, so of course I'll go see it in theaters. But, besides that, I hope that someday I get the chance to be a part of a project that brings out so much in all the people who worked on the film. You said you only worked on one shot, but you seem invested in the movie, and the characters. I can only image what it would be like animating full time, and really develop a love for those characters. I love watching the behind the scenes extras and seeing how much effort and care is put into the Pixar films. It has to be an amazing experience to be a part that.


  13. Thanks for the great post victor! I was waiting for this. I really can't wait to see Ratatouille in the theaters. This is going to be great! WOOHOOOOO!!



  14. I've been waiting for this... Definitely would be worth the wait, just need to hold on a few more days before it shows here. The acting is superb based on what I have seen in the trailer and 9 mins preview. The way you guys made the food.... mouthwatering.

  15. You were so right, and then some. Definitely wasn't just the alcohol talking. I'll be sure to push as many people to the theater as I can. I seen the sneak screening with my brother and sister, and a friend of mine. All of whom loved it. It really is a special film. One that as it was rolling, I knew would be seen by kids and people of all ages for years and years to come. That's something to take pride in. That it's not just this month's box office take, but a piece of art that will be enjoyed long after that money's wasted.

  16. "It wasn't the German gin."

    'Scuze me, that alcohol line immediately reminded me of The Third Man. I'm definitely looking forward to this movie. I've been cautious about it for some time, perhaps a fear that Pixar was losing its creative spark after Cars, and the Disney merger and all that. But then I remind myself of the hideous state of American animation without Pixar, and realize my folly in being so doggone picky.

    I know the knives are out in Hollywood for Ratatouille to, ahem, "fail." So I'm doubly hopeful that this becomes a successful hit. Lasseter and company are making some bold moves at Disney, and a solid Pixar success can only cement that momentum. Goodbye, crappy video sequels! Hello, Brad Bird!

    With Ratatouille, Paprika, and Persepolis, this is shaping up to be an excellent year for quality animation. Let's be sure to do our part, people!

  17. I saw it and adored it! From the acting to the dialogue to the music, the film was très magnifique! I'm telling everyone I know to go and see it - I know it will make them as happy as it made me!

  18. I haven't seen it yet, but REALLY looking forward to it :)