Would you like to be a movie that won an Oscar for best movie – or one that didn’t win any – but instead created a whole new category so that Oscars could be awarded to films like yours?
Ratatouille is exactly that movie – and what a wonderful movie, one that continues to warm its viewers with each viewing and bring hope and inspiration to everyone.
I actually am not a big fan of cartoon or animation films, or movies that derive so much on CGI and special effects. A lot of the new wave of animation movies would be exactly that. And you get a feeling of ‘seen that already’ (Kinda like the new James bond movies where there are even more CGI characters and special effects than the human actors – not even a patch on the earlier james bond movies of yore when these effects were minimal).
But then you get a movie like Ratatouille which shows its different, and its possible to make an animation film that taps into humans and human emotions using CGI characters and doesn’t have to bog you down like other films (UP and Avatar were depressing!)
At the heart of the movie is the story built on this wonderful premise that anyone can cook - and boy does the story prove that! This to me (a struggling cook) is what moves me each time I view the film.
And then the French angle. The French take great pride in gastronomy and the involvement levels are huge. (I haven’t been to France yet. Someday…). But then that setting has its own romance – from Paris to its cafes, you’ve got us sold already.
And when it comes to the French, there is this rather human realism that I see in French films, that is both comical and ironical. The mannerisms can be so real, one would consider them an exaggeration (see Amelie – I am sure we’d see people as real as the characters shown in the movie)
The combination is this wonderful mélange of fun, warm gooey feelings, inspiration and the romance and enigma that a French setting brings (Ronin had it).
So as I watch this from the nth time – and I start watching this at some mid point when I am scanning TV channels, I am hooked instantly and start feeling this warm gooeyness all over.
In Penang when I was buying DVDs (without pleading the fifth – the store claimed they were authentic!) I bumped into this Arab who was also asking this knowledgeable Chinese guy for films that he wanted. The displays had mostly mediocre films, but if you put in a request, this guy would get the DVD for you. Ratatouille had come to the screens and I wanted to have a DVD for myself. And I ask him for it, and immediately the Arab was thrilled, and exclaimed “Ratatouille – what a wonderful movie – don’t you absolutely love it!?”. He too asked for it. It was a small bonding and human connection that the movie provided.
But I remember this when I watch the movie – there are so many many many special moments in this film, they cant be listed- it just needs to be seen. And what each one do, is provide that human connection that very very few films do. That it happens to be an animated film, shouldn’t be held against it.
Watch it, again and yet again, and curl up to the warmth it provides. Mmmmmm…