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As good a film as Pixar has ever put out, Ratatouille is a frantic, innovative movie, boasting some of the finest quality animation ever put on the screen. The film tells the story of wannabe-chef Remy The Rat, who becomes drawn into the mantra of legendary cook Gusteau, that anyone can cook. The deceased Gusteaus ghostly image appears to Remy and guides him to his restaurant, whose standards have been slipping since his death. Remy, through the manipulation of a lowly restaurant worker called Linguini, soon starts secretly cooking the food, and this unusual set-up proves to be a trove of treasures that Pixar carefully picks through.
Ratatouilles trick is to tie its cutting edge animation techniques to old-school essentials. At times harking back to the frenetic style youd expect of Chuck Jones, it threads an original narrative through its story, which itself is packed with memorable characters (none more so than Peter OTooles superbly-voiced restaurant critic). It perhaps runs a little too long, but its so well-written and so lavishly entertaining that its a churlish complaint to have.For in an era of cynically-produced family movies, Ratatouille is really something special. With an appeal that spreads across generations, and a quality that puts it right up there with Pixars finest, its an outstanding piece of cinema, and one set to be enjoyed for many, many years. Unmissable. --Simon Brew
Pixar's unprecedented string of hit animated features was built on the short films in this collection. John Lasseter and Ed Catmull used these cartoons the way Walt Disney used the "Silly Symphonies" during the 1930s: as a training ground for artists and a way to explore the potential of a new medium. Although it's only 90 seconds long, "Luxo, Jr." (1986) ranks as the "Steamboat Willie" of computer animation: For the first time, audiences believed CG characters could think and feel. (It was also the first CGI film to make audiences laugh.)
When the artists began work on Toy Story, they had learned so much from the shorts, they were ready to undertake that landmark creation. In the later shorts, the viewer can see the artists continuing to experiment: with a more realistic human figure in "Geri's Game" and with new ways of suggesting atmospheric effects in "Boundin'." Some of the more recent shorts continue the adventures of the characters from the features. "Jack-Jack Attack" reveals what happened to the hapless baby-sitter while The Incredibles were off fighting Syndrome, while "Mater and the Ghost Light" shows that life goes on for the inhabitants of Radiator Springs. When Sully from Monsters, Inc. tries to adjust his seat in "Mike's New Car," the animators prolong the moment to wring every drop of humour from the situation--just as an earlier generation of animators milked Wile E. Coyote's antics for all they were worth. The long-unseen films for Sesame Street are an unexpected bonus. A delightful collection of entertaining shorts, and a significant chronicle of the growth of computer animation. --Charles Solomon
A rat named Remy lives in Paris with a dream (and the talent) to be a chef. Opting to raid the kitchens of Paris rather than the garbage cans and sewers of the city with his family, Remy is inspired by the philosophy of one of the city's most legendary chefs, the late Gusteau. One night, Remy can't resist practicing his skill in Gusteau's restaurant. While his guard is down, Remy is discovered by a klutzy young man, Linguini, who cleans the kitchen. Together Remi and Linguini become a culinary duo, with Remy playing puppeteer by concealing himself under Linguini's chef's hat. Remy pulls Linguini's hair to direct his hands, helping to bring Remy's creations to life. Soon Gusteau's restaurant becomes the talk of the town--but would it still be the toast of Paris if everyone knew a rat was running the show?
Also includes a collection of Pixar's short films.