Monday, March 8, 2010
A superb Disney/Pixar animated film that juxtaposes smart, innovative (art) direction with a big heart. The story centers on Remy, a rat who can cook. He learns the culinary art among other things from Gusteau, a famous French chef who returns from the grave to inspire Remy when he becomes separated from his colony and washes up under Paris, near Gusteau's once-famous restaurant. Remy sneaks into the restaurant and eventually helps Linguini transform it into the toast of the city again.
Under Brad Bird's superlative direction every scene gives way to another breath-taking one, especially those of Remy avoiding detection in the restaurant and while being chased by the dastardly de facto chef, Skinner. Bird takes us on an enthralling journey that forgoes the usual sentimental approach while maintaining a firm story. It's effective with both dramatic and comedic moments. The best scene no doubt features the self-important critic Anton Ego, brilliantly voiced by Sir Peter O'Toole, who literally gets an eye-opening meal that takes him back to warm memories. As his pen falls to the ground in slow motion, the moment is superbly documented for us to be at one with his joyous surprise