Go see the new animated smash hit Kung Fu Panda 2 at Regal Governor’s Square Stadium 12 or AMC Tallahassee Mall 20!
We’re only one week into to our celebration and we’re talking about Pixar again! All jokes aside, the reoccurring inclusion of Pixar in this ongoing conversation about great animated movies is unavoidable (In fact, as the month goes on I’m sure the constantly changing crown-bearer of superiority will change back and forth between Pixar and Miyazaki like the 21st-Century version of Faulkner versus Hemingway.) One of my favorite things about Pixar is how surprising its movies are. Since 1995, the company has made twelve feature length films with two more currently in the works, and worlds they’ve created range from a bug’s eye view, an imaginary monster community, the Great Barrier Reef, talking cars, outer space, flying houses, and soon to be the highlands of Great Britain. But one of my favorites is certainly the Paris and restaurant universe of Ratatouille.
Remy has high hopes and big dreams of becoming a fantastic French chef and restaurateur, but there’s one problem: he’s a rat. After a sad turn of fate, Remy finds himself floating through the sewers of Paris, eventually arriving at the restaurant of his culinary idol Chef Gusteau. After helping hapless garbage-boy Linguini out a soup snafu, rat and human make a mutually beneficial arrangement: Linguini will be the hands and Remy will be the brain. Events continue to be serendipitous when Remy discovers he control Linguini like a marionette by pulling on the man’s hair as he hides underneath his toque. The pair begins to get famous for Remy’s culinary genius, yet never escaping the suspicions of conniving head Chef Skinner. Remy’s food soon catches the attention of infamous, hard-nosed food critic Anton Ego. So Remy and Linguini have to deal with pressure from every side and hope to the restaurant gods that they aren’t discovered.
Only Pixar could make such a farfetched story so enjoyable or tolerable for that fact. In lesser hands a movie about a rat controlling a man like a puppet by his hair to be a French chef would be laughed at, and not in a good way. But with the enthusiasm that Pixar seems to have an endless supply of, Pixar tackled it and came out the other side with a dazzling and award-winning dish. The beauty of it is in the details; all of the dishes in the movie were inspired by the real life creations of Chef Thomas Keller; the animators meant through famously meticulous preparation, from spending time in Paris, to having a rat vivarium in the studio for reference, to jumping in swimming pools fully clothed. Truthfully, as long as it’s legal, I hope the folks at Pixar keep up whatever they’ve been doing to make such great films, and for a long time to come, too.
Tomorrow’s Feature: The Lion King