By bblfish on Aug 16, 2007
Last week I saw the new Pixar/Disney animation Ratatouille in French. I was a bit reluctant going in as I like to see a film in the original version. As it turned out this cartoon worked perfectly in French, as it takes place in a beautifully rendered Paris. As I came out of the film I could think of no other way to describe it than as a masterpiece.
It is the story of a genius rat who dreams of cooking great dishes, following the advice of his hero chef whose motto is "Everyone can cook". After a near death experience in the house of a granny as he glimpses the news of the recent suicide of his hero after the vicious attack of a soulless critic makes him loose a couple of stars in the famous Michelin Guide - this really happened btw - he ends up unexpectedly in Paris in front of the restaurant of his recently deceased chef...
I don't want to say more than this, other than "go and see it". The recent reverse takeover by Pixar of Disney (a Steve Jobs signature move), has clearly breathed some amazingly fresh air in that old institution. This must be the first Disney Movie in decades that reaches the heights of creativity of the founding father. The characters are beautifully drawn and close to life. The story is clever at every level. I am told that a huge amount of research went into the cooking scenes of the great restaurant: it certainly shows. There is a new intellectual vigor for a Disney movie. And the message behind it is not schmalzy but deep. As the critic says at the end of the film: everyone can be a cook, that is true, even if not everyone will have a talent for it - but talent and genius can spring from anywhere.
This film has probably done more than any head of state could ever do for improving Franco American relations.