ⓘ Ratatouille (film)


ⓘ Ratatouille (film)

Ratatouille is a 2007 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was the eighth film produced by Pixar, and was written and directed by Brad Bird, who took over from Jan Pinkava in 2005, and produced by Brad Lewis, from an original idea from Pinkava and Jim Capobianco. The title refers to the French dish ratatouille, which is served at the end of the film and also references the animal type of the main character, a rat. The plot follows a rat named Remy, who dreams of becoming a chef and tries to achieve his goal by forming an alliance with a Parisian restaurants garbage boy.

The film stars the voices of Patton Oswalt as Remy, an anthropomorphic rat who is interested in cooking; Lou Romano as Alfredo Linguini, a young garbage boy who befriends Remy; Ian Holm as Skinner, the head chef of Auguste Gusteaus restaurant; Janeane Garofalo as Colette Tatou, a rotisseur at Gusteaus restaurant and the staffs only female chef; Peter OToole as Anton Ego, a restaurant critic; Brian Dennehy as Django, Remys father and leader of his clan; Peter Sohn as Emile, Remys older brother; and Brad Garrett as Auguste Gusteau, a recently deceased chef.

The development of Ratatouille began in 2000 when Pinkava wrote the original concepts of the film. In 2005, following Pinkavas departure from Pixar, Bird was approached to direct the film and revise the story. Bird and some of the films crew members also visited Paris for inspiration. To create the food animation used in the film, the crew consulted chefs from both France and the United States. Lewis interned at Thomas Kellers The French Laundry restaurant, where Keller developed the confit byaldi, a dish used in the film. Michael Giacchino composed the Paris-inspired music for the film.

Ratatouille premiered on June 22, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California, with its general release June 29, 2007, in the United States. The film grossed $620.7 million and was a box office success. It received critical acclaim for Giacchinos score, voice acting, writing, and the animation. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for four more, including Best Original Screenplay. It was later voted one of the 100 greatest motion pictures of the 21st century by a 2016 poll of international critics conducted by the BBC.


1. Plot

Remy is a highly intelligent and idealistic young rat with unusually acute senses of taste and smell, who dreams of becoming a chef like his idol, the late Auguste Gusteau. However, the rest of his rat colony, including his brother Emile and his father Django, are interested in food only for sustenance. One day, when the colony is forced to flee their home because of Remy and Emiles wild encounter with the homeowner whose ceiling housed their colony, Remy is separated from the clan and eventually finds himself above the kitchen of Gusteaus Restaurant in Paris.

When Remy observes a young garbage boy named Alfredo Linguini attempt to fix a soup he has spilled, he recognizes that Linguini is unintentionally ruining it and fixes his mistakes. Linguini catches him in the act, but does not reveal him to Skinner, Gusteaus former sous-chef and new owner of the restaurant. Skinner confronts Linguini for tampering with the soup, but when the soup is accidentally served to a critic and proves to be a success, Colette Tatou, the staffs only female chef, convinces Skinner to retain Linguini. Skinner spots Remy trying to escape, and orders Linguini to kill the rat, but Linguini decides to keep Remy instead. When Linguini is ordered to replicate the soup, he is helped by Remy. Skinner, having tried the soup, decides to retain Linguini. Back in Linguinis apartment the two learn to communicate and devise a plan: Remy hides under Linguinis toque at the restaurant and guides his movements like a marionette by pulling on his hair. Skinner orders Colette to teach Linguini to be a cook.

Remy witnesses Skinners discovery that Linguini is Gusteaus illegitimate son and rightful owner of the restaurant, and gives the evidence to Linguini, who forces Skinner out. The restaurant thrives as Remys recipes become popular, though as Linguini and Colette develop a relationship, Remy begins to feel left out. He reunites with Emile and the clan, but is rejected by Django over his admiration for humans.

The dour world-renowned food critic Anton Ego, whose negative review had indirectly led to Gusteaus death, announces he will dine at the restaurant. After an argument with Linguini, Remy leads his clan to raid the restaurants pantries in revenge, but Linguini drives them out. Remy is captured by Skinner, who intends to use his talents to create a line of frozen food products, but is promptly freed by Django and Emile. Linguini apologizes to Remy, having been unable to cook without him, and reveals the truth to his staff, but they all leave in disbelief. Colette returns after recalling Gusteaus motto, "Anyone can cook."

Impressed by Remys determination, Django and the clan offer to help, and cook under Remys direction while Linguini waits tables. Skinner and a health inspector attempt to interfere, but are bound and gagged. Remy creates a variation on ratatouille which reminds Ego of his mothers cooking. Humbled and delighted by the dish, Ego asks to meet the chef, so Linguini and Colette wait until the other diners have left before introducing Remy. Ego is stunned and writes a glowing review, saying how he now understands Gusteaus famous motto, and calling Remy "nothing less than the finest chef in France."

Despite the review, they are forced to let Skinner and the health inspector go and the restaurant is shut down due to the presence of the rats, causing Ego to lose his job and credibility as a critic. However, he now funds and frequents a popular new bistro, La Ratatouille, run by Remy, Linguini, and Colette as the rat colony settles into their new home in the bistros attic.


2. Production

Jan Pinkava came up with the concept in 2000, creating the original design, sets and characters and core storyline, but he was never formally named the director of the film. By 2004, Pixar added Bob Peterson as a co-director and was given exclusive control of the story. Lacking confidence in the story development, The Incredibles director Brad Bird was approached by Pixar management to direct the film, taking over Pinkavas role in 2005 while Peterson left the film to work on Up. Bird was attracted to the film because of the outlandishness of the concept and the conflict that drove it: that rats feared kitchens, yet a rat wanted to work in one. Bird was also delighted that the film could be made a highly physical comedy, with the character of Linguini providing endless fun for the animators. Bird rewrote the story, with a change in emphasis. He killed off Gusteau, gave larger roles to Skinner and Colette, and also changed the appearance of the rats to be less anthropomorphic.

Because Ratatouille is intended to be a romantic, lush vision of Paris, giving it an identity distinct from previous Pixar films, director Brad Bird, producer Brad Lewis and some of the crew spent a week in the city to properly understand its environment, taking a motorcycle tour and eating at five top restaurants. Peter Dinklage was offered the role of Skinner, but he turned down the role. Ian Holm was cast as the character since Bird saw him on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are also many water-based sequences in the film, one of which is set in the sewers and is more complex than the blue whale scene in Finding Nemo. One scene has Linguini wet after jumping into the Seine to fetch Remy. A Pixar employee Shade/Paint department coordinator Kesten Migdal jumped into Pixars swimming pool wearing a chefs uniform and apron to see which parts of the suit stuck to his body and which became translucent from water absorption.

A challenge for the filmmakers was creating computer-generated images of food that would appear delicious. Gourmet chefs in both the U.S. and France were consulted and animators attended cooking classes at San Francisco-area culinary schools to understand the workings of a commercial kitchen. Sets/Layout department manager Michael Warch, a culinary-academy-trained professional chef before working at Pixar, helped teach and consult animators as they worked. He also prepared dishes used by the Art, Shade/Paint, Effects and Sets Modeling departments. Renowned chef Thomas Keller allowed producer Brad Lewis to intern in his French Laundry kitchen. For the films climax, Keller designed a fancy, layered version of the title dish for the rat characters to cook, which he called "confit byaldi" in honor of the original Turkish name. The same sub-surface light scattering technique that was used on the skin in The Incredibles was used on fruits and vegetables, while new programs gave an organic texture and movement to the food. Completing the illusion were music, dialogue, and abstract imagery representing the characters mental sensations while appreciating food. The visual flavor metaphors were created by animator Michel Gagne inspired by the work of Oscar Fischinger and Norman McLaren. To create a realistic compost pile, the Art Department photographed fifteen different kinds of produce, such as apples, berries, bananas, mushrooms, oranges, broccoli, and lettuce, in the process of rotting.

The cast members strove to make their French accents authentic yet understandable. John Ratzenberger notes that he often segued into an Italian accent. According to Pixar designer Jason Deamer, "Most of the characters were designed while Jan was still directing… He has a real eye for sculpture." According to Pinkava, the critic Anton Ego was designed to resemble a vulture. To save time, human characters were designed and animated without toes.

Rat expert Debbie Ducommun a.k.a. the "Rat Lady" was consulted on rat habits and characteristics. Along with Ducommuns insight a vivarium containing pet rats sat in a hallway for more than a year so animators could study the movement of the animals fur, noses, ears, paws, and tails as they ran.

Promotional material for Intel credits their platform for a 30 percent performance improvement in rendering software. They used Remy in some of their marketing materials.


3. Soundtrack

Ratatouille is the second Pixar film to be scored by Michael Giacchino after The Incredibles. It was also the second Pixar film not to be scored by Randy Newman or Thomas Newman. Giacchino had written two themes for Remy, one about his self with the rat colony and the other about his hopes and dreams. He also wrote a buddy theme for both Remy and Linguini that plays when theyre together. In addition to the score, Giacchino wrote the main theme song, "Le Festin", about Remy and his wishes to be a chef. French artist Camille was hired to perform "Le Festin" after Giacchino listened to her music and realized she was perfect for the song; as a result, the song is sung in French in all versions of the film.

The music for Ratatouille gave Giacchino his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score as well as his first Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album. Giacchino returned to Pixar to score their 2009 blockbuster Up.


4. Release

Ratatouille was originally going to be released in 2006; however, in December 2004, the date was changed to 2007. This happened because Disney/Pixar changed the release date of Cars, from November 2005 to June 2006, thus pushing Ratatouille to 2007.

Ratatouille s world premiere was on June 22, 2007, at Los Angeles Kodak Theater. The commercial release was one week later, with the short film Lifted preceding Ratatouille in theaters. Earlier in the year, it had received an Academy Award nomination. A test screening of the film was shown at the Harkins Cine Capri Theater in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 16, 2007, at which a Pixar representative was present to collect viewer feedback. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced an upcoming theatrical re-release of the film in 3D at the Disney shareholders meeting in March 2014.


4.1. Release Marketing

The trailer for Ratatouille debuted with the release of its immediate predecessor, Cars. It depicts an original scene where Remy is caught on the cheese trolley in the restaurants dining area, sampling the cheese and barely escaping the establishment, intercut with separate scenes of the rat explaining directly to the audience why he is taking such risks. Similar to most of Pixars teaser trailers, the scene was not present in the final film release.

A second trailer was released on March 23, 2007. The Ratatouille Big Cheese Tour began on May 11, 2007, with cooking demonstrations and a film preview. Voice actor Lou Romano attended the San Francisco leg of the tour for autograph signings.

Disney and Pixar were working to bring a French-produced Ratatouille -branded wine to Costco stores in August 2007, but abandoned plans because of complaints from the California Wine Institute, citing standards in labelling that restrict the use of cartoon characters to avoid attracting under-age drinkers.

In the United Kingdom, in place of releasing a theatrical trailer, a commercial featuring Remy and Emile was released in cinemas before its release to discourage obtaining unlicensed copies of films. Also, in the United Kingdom, the main characters were used for a commercial for the Nissan Note, with Remy and Emile watching an original commercial for it made for the "Surprisingly Spacious" ad campaign and also parodying it, respectively.

Disney/Pixar was concerned that audiences, particularly children, would not be familiar with the word "ratatouille" and its pronunciation. The title was, therefore, also spelled phonetically within trailers and on posters. For similar reasons, in the American release of the film, on-screen text in French was printed in English, such as the title of Gusteaus cookbook and the sign telling kitchen staff to wash their hands, though, in the British English release, these are rendered in French. In Canada, the film was released theatrically with text in English, but on DVD, the majority of the text including Gusteaus will was in French.


4.2. Release Home media

Disney released Ratatouille on high-definition Blu-ray Disc and DVD in North America on November 6, 2007. A new animated short film featuring Remy and Emile entitled A Delicious Duo was included as a special feature, in which Remy and Alfredo Linguini attempt to cook dinner for Colette Tatou because it is her birthday. The eleven-minute short uses 3D animation.

The disc also includes a CG short entitled Lifted, which screened before the film during its theatrical run. It depicts an adolescent extraterrestrial attempting to abduct a sleeping human. Throughout the sequence, he is graded by an adult extraterrestrial in a manner reminiscent of a drivers licensing exam road test. The entire short contains no dialogue, which is typical of Pixar Shorts not based on existing properties. Also included among the special features are deleted scenes, a featurette featuring Brad Bird discussing filmmaking and chef Thomas Keller discussing culinary creativity entitled "Fine Food and Film", and four easter eggs. Although the Region 1 Blu-ray edition has a French audio track, the Region 1 DVD does not, except for some copies marked as for sale only in Canada.

It was released on DVD on November 6, 2007, and earned 4.919.574 units equivalent to US$73.744.414 on its first week November 6–11, 2007 during which it topped the DVD charts. In total it sold 12.531.266 units US$189.212.532 becoming the second-best-selling animated DVD of 2007, both in units sold and sales revenue, behind Happy Feet. Ratatouille was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on September 10, 2019.


5.1. Reception Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 96% approval rating with an average rating of 8.47/10 based on 249 reviews. The sites consensus reads: "Fast-paced and stunningly animated, Ratatouille adds another delightfully entertaining entry - and a rather unlikely hero - to the Pixar canon." Metacritic, another review aggregator website which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 96 out of 100 based on 37 reviews, the highest of any Pixar film and the twenty-first highest film rating on the site.

A. O. Scott of The New York Times called Ratatouille "a nearly flawless piece of popular art, as well as one of the most persuasive portraits of an artist ever committed to film"; echoing the character Anton Ego in the film, he ended his review with a simple "thank you" to the creators of the film. Wally Hammond of Time Out gave the film five out of five stars, saying "A test for tiny tots, a mite nostalgic and as male-dominated as a modern kitchen it may be, but these are mere quibbles about this delightful addition to the Pixar pantheon." Andrea Gronvall of the Chicago Reader gave the film a positive review, saying "Brad Birds second collaboration with Pixar is more ambitious and meditative than his Oscar-winning The Incredibles." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B, saying Ratatouille has the Pixar technical magic without, somehow, the full Pixar flavor. Its Brad Birds genial dessert, not so much incredible as merely sweetly edible." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "What makes Ratatouille such a hilarious and heartfelt wonder is the way Bird contrives to let it sneak up on you. And get a load of that score from Michael Giacchino, a perfect complement to a delicious meal." James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying "For parents looking to spend time in a theater with their kids or adults who want something lighter and less testosterone-oriented than the usual summer fare, Ratatouille offers a savory main course." Christy Lemire of the Associated Press gave the film a positive review, saying Ratatouille is free of the kind of gratuitous pop-culture references that plague so many movies of the genre; it tells a story, its very much of our world but it never goes for the cheap, easy gag." Justin Chang of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying "The master chefs at Pixar have blended all the right ingredients - abundant verbal and visual wit, genius slapstick timing, a soupcon of Gallic sophistication - to produce a warm and irresistible concoction."

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film four out of four stars, saying "The film may be animated, and largely taken up with rats, but its pulse is gratifyingly human. And you have never seen a computer-animated feature with this sort of visual panache and detail." Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film three out of four stars, saying "So many computer-animated movies are brash, loud and popping with pop-culture comedy, but Ratatouille has the warm glow of a favorite book. The characters are more than the sum of their gigabyte-consuming parts – they feel handcrafted." Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave the film three out of five stars, saying "Has Pixar lost its magic recipe? Ratatouille is filled with fairly generic animated imagery, a few modest chases, a couple of good gags, not a lot of laughs." Scott Foundas of LA Weekly gave the film a positive review, saying "Bird has taken the raw ingredients of an anthropomorphic-animal kiddie matinee and whipped them into a heady brew about nothing less than the principles of artistic creation." Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film four out of four stars, saying "Its not just the computer animation that is vibrantly three-dimensional. Its also the well-rounded characters… I defy you to name another animated film so overflowing with superfluous beauty." Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "With Ratatouille, Bird once again delivers not just a great, witty story, but dazzling visuals as well." Bill Muller of The Arizona Republic gave the film four-and-a-half stars out of five, saying "Like the burbling soup that plays a key part in Ratatouille, the movie is a delectable blend of ingredients that tickles the palette and leaves you hungry for more."

Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald gave the film three out of four stars, saying Ratatouille is the most straightforward and formulaic picture to date from Pixar Animation Studios, but it is also among the most enchanting and touching." Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News gave the film four out of four stars, saying "The Pixar magic continues with Brad Birds Ratatouille, a gorgeous, wonderfully inventive computer-animated comedy." Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Fresh family fun. Although there are those slightly noxious images of rodents scampering around a kitchen, the movie doesnt stoop to kid-pandering jokes based on backtalk and bodily gases." David Ansen of Newsweek gave the film a positive review, saying "A film as rich as a sauce bearnaise, as refreshing as a raspberry sorbet, and a lot less predictable than the damn food metaphors and adjectives all us critics will churn out to describe it. OK, one more and then Ill be done: its yummy." Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film four out of four stars, saying Ratatouille never overwhelms, even though its stocked with action, romance, historical content, family drama and serious statements about the creation of art." Richard Corliss of Time gave the film a positive review, saying "From the moment Remy enters, crashing, to the final happy fadeout, Ratatouille parades the brio and depth that set Pixar apart from and above other animation studios." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars, saying "A lot of animated movies have inspired sequels, notably Shrek, but Brad Birds Ratatouille is the first one that made me positively desire one." Peter Howell of the Toronto Star gave the film four out of four stars, saying "Had Bird gone the safe route, he would have robbed us of a great new cartoon figure in Remy, who like the rest of the film is rendered with animation that is at once fanciful and life-like. Its also my pick for Pixars best."

Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave the film a positive review, saying "The characters are irresistible, the animation is astonishing and the film, a fantasy version of a foodie rhapsody, sustains a level of joyous invention that hasnt been seen in family entertainment since The Incredibles." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film four-and-a-half stars out of five, saying "Brad Birds Ratatouille is so audacious you have to fall in love with its unlikely hero." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying Ratatouille is delicious fun sure to be savored by audiences of all ages for its sumptuous visuals, clever wit and irresistibly inspiring tale." Miriam Di Nunzio of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying Ratatouille will make you wonder why animation needs to hide behind the mantle of its for children, but grownups will like it, too. This ones for Mom and Dad, and yep, the kids will like it, too." Michael Booth of The Denver Post gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "Writer and director Brad Bird keeps Ratatouille moving without resorting to the cute animal jokes or pop-culture wisecracking that ruined so many other recent animated films." Tom Long of The Detroit News gave the film an A, saying Ratatouille has the technical genius, emotional core and storytelling audacity to lift it into the ranks of Pixar films, the creme de la creme of modern animation." Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "No sketchy backgrounds here - Ratatouille s scenes feel like deep-focus camera shots. The textures, from the gleam of copper pans to the cobblestone streets, are almost palpable." Desson Thomson of The Washington Post gave the film a positive review, saying Ratatouille doesnt center on the over-familiar surfaces of contemporary life. It harks back to Disneys older era when cartoons seemed part of a more elegant world with less edgy characters."


5.2. Reception Box office

In its opening weekend in North America, Ratatouille opened in 3.940 theaters and debuted at number one with $47 million, the lowest Pixar opening since A Bugs Life. However, in France, where the film is set, the film broke the record for the biggest debut for an animated film. In the United Kingdom, the film debuted at number one with sales over £4 million. The film has grossed $206.4 million in the United States and Canada and a total of $620.7 million worldwide, making it the seventh-highest-grossing Pixar film.


5.3. Reception Accolades

Ratatouille won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 80th Academy Awards and was nominated for four others: Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Screenplay, losing to Atonement, The Bourne Ultimatum for both Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, and Juno, respectively. At the time, the film held the record for the greatest number of Oscar nominations for a computer animated feature film, breaking the previous record held by Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles at four nominations, but tied with Aladdin for any animated film. In 2008, WALL-E surpassed that record with six nominations. As of 2013, Ratatouille is tied with Up and Toy Story 3 for an animated film with the second-greatest number of Oscar nominations. Beauty and the Beast still holds the record for most Oscar nominations also 6 for an animated feature film.

Furthermore, Ratatouille was nominated for 13 Annie Awards including twice in the Best Animated Effects, where it lost to Surfs Up, and three times in the Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production for Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm, and Patton Oswalt, where Ian Holm won the award. It won the Best Animated Feature Award from multiple associations including the Chicago Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the Annie Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics, the British Academy of Film and Television BAFTA, and the Golden Globes.


6. Plagiarized film

If magazine described Ratatoing, a 2007 Brazilian computer graphics cartoon by Video Brinquedo, as a "ripoff" of Ratatouille. Marco Aurelio Canonico of the Brazilian newspaper, Folha de S.Paulo described Ratatoing as a derivative of Ratatouille. Canonico discussed whether Ratatoing was similar enough to Ratatouille to warrant a lawsuit for copyright violation. The Brazilian Ministry of Culture posted Marco Aurelio Canonicos article on its website. To date no sources have been found to indicate that Pixar took legal action.


7. Video game

The primary video game adaptation of the film, titled Ratatouille, was released for all major consoles and handhelds in 2007. A Nintendo DS exclusive game, titled Ratatouille: Food Frenzy, was released in October 2007. Ratatouille is also among the films represented in Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure, released in March 2012 for Xbox 360.

The video game based on the movie was released in 2007 for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Java ME, and mobile phones. A PlayStation 3 version was released on October 23, 2007. The other versions, however were all released on June 26, 2007.

Remy is featured in the video game Kingdom Hearts III. He appears as the head chef for Scrooge McDucks bistro and participates with Sora in cooking minigames. He is addressed only as "Little Chef" in the game.


8. Theme park attraction

A Disney theme park attraction based on the film has been constructed in Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris. Ratatouille: LAventure Totalement Toquee de Remy is based upon scenes from the film and uses trackless ride technology. In the attraction, riders "shrink down to the size of a rat". At the 2017 D23 Expo, Disney announced a similar, Ratatouille -based attraction would be built at the France Pavilion in Epcots World Showcase by 2020.

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