Ratatouille (film)

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Ratatouille
A rat is smiling nervously as he clings to a piece of cheese while he is pinned to a door by sharp knives and forks. The film's tagline, "He's dying to become a chef", is displayed along the top. A logo with the film's title and pronunciation is shown at the bottom, with the dot on the 'i' in "Ratatouille" doubling as a rat's nose with whiskers and a chef's toque.
Original theatrical release poster
Directed byBrad Bird
Produced byBrad Lewis
Screenplay byBrad Bird
Story byJan Pinkava
Brad Bird
Jim Capobianco
Narrated byPatton Oswalt
StarringPatton Oswalt
Ian Holm
Lou Romano
Music byMichael Giacchino
CinematographySharon Calahan
Robert Anderson
Editing byDarren Holmes
Stan Webb
StudioWalt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • June 22, 2007 (2007-06-22) (Los Angeles)
  • June 29, 2007 (2007-06-29) (United States)
Running time111 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
French
Budget$150 million[1]
Box office$623,722,818[2]
 
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Ratatouille
A rat is smiling nervously as he clings to a piece of cheese while he is pinned to a door by sharp knives and forks. The film's tagline, "He's dying to become a chef", is displayed along the top. A logo with the film's title and pronunciation is shown at the bottom, with the dot on the 'i' in "Ratatouille" doubling as a rat's nose with whiskers and a chef's toque.
Original theatrical release poster
Directed byBrad Bird
Produced byBrad Lewis
Screenplay byBrad Bird
Story byJan Pinkava
Brad Bird
Jim Capobianco
Narrated byPatton Oswalt
StarringPatton Oswalt
Ian Holm
Lou Romano
Music byMichael Giacchino
CinematographySharon Calahan
Robert Anderson
Editing byDarren Holmes
Stan Webb
StudioWalt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • June 22, 2007 (2007-06-22) (Los Angeles)
  • June 29, 2007 (2007-06-29) (United States)
Running time111 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
French
Budget$150 million[1]
Box office$623,722,818[2]

Ratatouille (/rætəˈt/; French pronunciation: ​[ʁatatuj]) is a 2007 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the eighth film produced by Pixar, and was co-written and directed by Brad Bird, who took over from Jan Pinkava in 2005. The title refers to a French dish, "ratatouille", which is served at the end of the film, and is also a play on words about the species of the main character. The film stars the voices of Patton Oswalt as Remy, an anthropomorphic rat who is interested in cooking; Lou Romano as Linguini, a young garbage boy who befriends Remy; Ian Holm as Skinner, the head chef of Auguste Gusteau's restaurant; Janeane Garofalo as Colette, a rôtisseur at Gusteau's restaurant; Peter O'Toole as Anton Ego, a restaurant critic; Brian Dennehy as Django, Remy's father and leader of his clan; Peter Sohn as Emile, Remy's older brother; and Brad Garrett as Auguste Gusteau, a recently deceased chef. The plot follows Remy, who dreams of becoming a chef and tries to achieve his goal by forming an alliance with a Parisian restaurant's garbage boy.

Development of Ratatouille began in 2001 when Pinkava wrote the original concepts of the film. In 2005, Bird was approached to direct the film and revised the story. Bird and some of the film's crew members also visited Paris for inspiration. To create the food animations used in the film, the crew consulted chefs from both France and the United States. Bird also interned at Thomas Keller's French Laundry restaurant, where Keller developed the confit byaldi, a dish used in the film. Ratatouille premiered on June 22, 2007 at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California, and had its general release on June 29, 2007 in the United States. The film grossed $623.7 million at the box office and received critical acclaim. The film later won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, among other honors.

Plot[edit]

Remy is an idealistic and ambitious young rat, gifted with highly developed senses of taste and smell. Inspired by his idol, the recently deceased chef Auguste Gusteau, Remy dreams of becoming a cook himself. When a woman sees his clan, they are forced to abandon their home; Remy is separated from them as a result of the woman's gunshots. He ends up in the sewers of Paris and eventually finds himself at a skylight overlooking the kitchen of Gusteau's restaurant.

As Remy watches, a young man named Alfredo Linguini is hired as a garbage boy by Skinner, the restaurant's devious current owner and Gusteau's former sous-chef who uses Gusteau's image to woo customers into buying frozen foods from Skinner. When Linguini spills a pot of soup and attempts to recreate it with disastrous results, Remy falls into the kitchen and cooks the soup to perfection rather than escaping. Linguini catches Remy and is confronted by Skinner. As Skinner yells at Linguini, the soup is accidentally served and proves to be a success. Colette Tatou, the staff's only female chef, convinces Skinner to retain Linguini, who is assumed to be the soup's creator. After Skinner catches Remy in the act of escaping, he orders Linguini to kill him, but he cannot do it. Linguini then discovers Remy's intelligence and passion for food, so he keeps him.

Remy discovers that he can control Linguini's movements by pulling his hair.

On Linguini's first day as a chef, he and Remy find a way to communicate; Remy guides Linguini like a marionette by pulling on his hair while hidden under Linguini's toque blanche, Skinner assigns Colette to train his new cook.

Suspicious, Skinner learns that the boy is Gusteau's son and the rightful heir to the restaurant, which threatens his living to use the restaurant's reputation to establish a fast food franchise he started after Gusteau died. Remy discovers the evidence of Linguini's inheritance and, after eluding Skinner, gives it to Linguini, who removes Skinner as owner. The restaurant continues to thrive, and Linguini and Colette develop a budding romance, leaving Remy feeling left out. Meanwhile, Remy reunites with his father, Django, and his brother, Emile, who take him back to their new lair. Though thrilled that his family and clan are safe, he tells him that he cannot stay. In an attempt to rid his son from his like of humans, Django shows Remy a window display of dead rats, poison, and traps. Remy refuses to listen and leaves.

France's top restaurant critic Anton Ego, whose previous review cost Gusteau's one of its star ratings (and ultimately the heartbroken chef's life) announces he will be re-reviewing the restaurant the following evening. After an argument with Linguini, Remy leads his clan in a raid on the restaurant's pantries. Linguini catches them and throws them out. Skinner, now aware of Remy's skills, captures him in an attempt to use him to create a new line of frozen foods. However, Remy is freed by Django and Emile. He returns to the restaurant, only to find Linguini is unable to cook without him. Linguini apologizes and reveals the truth to the staff, who all walk out, believing Linguini is insane. Colette later returns after recalling Gusteau's motto, "Anyone can cook."

Django arrives with the rest of the pack, offering to help after seeing his son's determination. Remy directs the rats, while Linguini serves as waiter. For Ego (and Skinner), Remy and Colette create a variation of ratatouille, which brings back an astonished Ego memories of his mother's cooking. During the service, the rats are forced to kidnap and tie up Skinner and a health inspector to prevent them from revealing their involvement in the cooking. When Ego requests to see the chef, Linguini and Colette make him wait until the rest of the diners have left before introducing Remy. Ego is stunned and leaves the restaurant, deep in thought. He writes a glowing review for the newspaper the next day, stating that Gusteau's chef is "nothing less than the finest chef in France."

Despite the positive review, Gusteau's is closed down, since Linguini and Remy had no choice but to release Skinner and the health inspector. Ego loses all credibility as a critic but funds a popular new bistro, "La Ratatouille", created and run by Remy, Linguini, and Colette. The rats settle in their new home in the bistro's roof.

Voice cast[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Supporting Characters[edit]

Production[edit]

Jan Pinkava came up with the concept in 2001, creating the original design, sets and characters and core storyline, but he was never formally named the director of the film.[9] Lacking confidence[10] in Pinkava's story development, Pixar management replaced him with Bird in 2005.[11][12][13] 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.[3] Bird was also delighted that the film could be made a highly physical comedy,[11] with the character of Linguini providing endless fun for the animators.[14] Bird rewrote the story, with a change in emphasis. He killed off Gusteau, gave larger roles to Skinner and Colette,[15] and also changed the appearance of the rats to be less anthropomorphic.[16]

Because Ratatouille is intended to be a romantic, lush vision of Paris, giving it an identity distinct from previous Pixar films,[11] 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.[7] 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 Pixar's swimming pool wearing a chef's uniform and apron to see which parts of the suit stuck to his body and which became translucent from water absorption.[17]

The film's take on the traditional ratatouille dish was designed by gourmet chef Thomas Keller, and later came to be known as confit byaldi.

A challenge for the filmmakers was creating computer-generated food animations that would appear delicious. Gourmet chefs in both the U.S. and France were consulted[16] and animators attended cooking classes at San Francisco-area culinary schools[8] to understand the workings of a commercial kitchen. Sets/Layout department manager Michael Warch, a culinary-academy trained professional chef prior to 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.[18][19] Renowned chef Thomas Keller allowed producer Brad Lewis to intern in his French Laundry kitchen. For the film's 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.[8] The same sub-surface light scattering technique that was used on skin in The Incredibles was used on fruits and vegetables,[20] while new programs gave an organic texture and movement to the food.[21] 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 Gagné inspired by the work of Oscar Fischinger and Norman McLaren.[22] 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.[23]

According to Pixar designer Jason Deamer, "Most of the characters were designed while Jan [Pinkava] was still directing... He has a real eye for sculpture."[24] For example, according to Pinkava, the critic Anton Ego was designed to resemble a vulture.[25] Rat expert Debbie Ducommun (a.k.a. the "Rat Lady") was consulted on rat habits and characteristics.[26] 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.[20] The cast members strove to make their French accents authentic yet understandable. John Ratzenberger notes that he often segued into an Italian accent.[7]

To save time, human characters were designed and animated without toes.[27] Despite this, the movie had such high design values that the human characters were even given burn marks on their forearms, as if they had received them from the kitchen stoves.

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.[28][29]

Music[edit]

Ratatouille
Film score by Michael Giacchino
ReleasedJune 26, 2007
Recorded2005-2007
GenreClassical
Length62:23
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerMichael Giacchino
Pixar soundtrack chronology
Cars
(2006)
Ratatouille
(2007)
WALL-E
(2008)
Michael Giacchino chronology
Mission: Impossible III
(2006)
Ratatouille
(2007)
Cloverfield
(2007)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars
Empire5/5 stars
Filmtracks4/5 stars
Movie Music UK4.5/5 stars
Movie Wave4/5 stars
ScoreNotes8.5/10 stars
SoundtrackNet3.5/5 stars

Brad Bird reteamed with Michael Giacchino on the score for Ratatouille since they got along well during the scoring of The Incredibles. Giacchino had written two themes for Remy, one about his thief self and the other about his hopes and dreams. He also wrote a buddy theme for both Remy and Linguini that plays when they're together. In addition to the score, Giacchino wrote the main theme song, "Le Festin", about Remy and his wishes to be a chef. 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.

No.TitleLength
1."Le Festin" (performed by Camille)2:50
2."Welcome to Gusteau's"  0:38
3."This Is Me"  1:41
4."Granny Get Your Gun"  2:01
5."100 Rat Dash"  1:47
6."Wall Rat"  2:41
7."Cast of Cooks"  1:41
8."A Real Gourmet Kitchen"  4:18
9."Souped Up"  0:50
10."Is It Soup Yet?"  1:16
11."A New Deal"  1:56
12."Remy Drives a Linguini"  2:26
13."Colette Shows Him le Ropes"  2:56
14."Special Order"  1:58
15."Kiss & Vinegar"  1:54
16."Losing Control"  2:04
17."Heist to See You"  1:45
18."The Paper Chase"  1:44
19."Remy's Revenge"  3:24
20."Abandoning Ship"  2:55
21."Dinner Rush"  5:00
22."Anyone Can Cook"  3:13
23."End Creditouilles"  9:16
24."Ratatouille Main Theme"  2:09

Release[edit]

Ratatouille's world premiere was on June 22, 2007 at Los Angeles' Kodak Theater.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

Marketing[edit]

The trailer for Ratatouille debuted with the release of its immediate predecessor, Cars.[33] It depicts an original scene where Remy is caught on the cheese trolley in the restaurant's 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.[33] Similar to most of Pixar's teaser trailers, the scene was not present in the final film release.[33]

A second trailer was released on March 23, 2007.[34] The Ratatouille Big Cheese Tour began on May 11, 2007, with cooking demonstrations and a film preview.[35] Voice actor Lou Romano attended the San Francisco leg of the tour for autograph signings.[36]

The front label of the planned Ratatouille wine to have been promoted by Disney, Pixar, and Costco, and subsequently pulled for its use of a cartoon character.

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 labeling that restrict the use of cartoon characters to avoid attracting under-age drinkers.[37]

In the United Kingdom, in place of releasing a theatrical trailer, a theatrical commercial featuring Remy and Emile was released in cinemas prior to its release to discourage obtaining pirated films.[38] Also in the United Kingdom, the main characters were used for a theatrical 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.[39]

Disney/Pixar were 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.[40][41] For similar reasons, in the American release of the film, on-screen text in French was printed in English, such as the title of Gusteau's 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 Gusteau's will) was in French.

Home media[edit]

Ratatouille was released on high-definition Blu-ray Disc and DVD in North America on November 6, 2007.[42] A new animated short film featuring Remy and Emile entitled Your Friend the Rat was included as a special feature, in which the two rats attempt to entreat the viewer, a human, to welcome rats as their friends, demonstrating the benefits and misconceptions of rats towards humanity through several historical examples. The eleven-minute short uses 3D animation, 2D animation, live action and even stop motion animation, a first for Pixar.[43]

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 driver's 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 $73,744,414) on its first week (Nov. 6–11, 2007) during which it topped the DVD charts. In total it sold 12,531,266 units ($189,212,532) becoming the second best-selling animated DVD of 2007, both in terms of units sold and sales revenue, behind Happy Feet.[44]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend in North America, Ratatouille opened in 3,940 theaters and debuted at No.1 with $47 million,[45] the lowest Pixar opening since A Bug's Life. However, in France, where the film is set, the film broke the record for the biggest debut for an animated film.[46] In the UK, the film debuted at number one with sales over £4 million.[47] The film has grossed $206,445,654 in the United States and Canada and a total of $623,722,818 worldwide, making it the sixth highest grossing Disney·Pixar film now, just behind Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo, Monsters University, Up, and The Incredibles.[48]

Critical reception[edit]

Ratatouille received critical acclaim from critics. On film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Ratatouille has a 96% rating from a sample of 205 reviews,[49] while it has a Metacritic score of 96 based on 37 reviews indicating "universal acclaim", which in June 2009 was the seventh-highest of all scores on the website.[50]

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.[51] Richard Roeper deemed it "a very interesting film, it's working on a very different level." Both Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times (giving the movie a perfect four stars) and Jeffrey Lyons from NBC's Reel Talk said in their reviews that they loved the film so much, they are hoping for a sequel.[52][53] Reaction to the film in France was also extremely positive.[54][55] Thomas Sotinel, film critic at the daily newspaper Le Monde, hailed Ratatouille as "one of the greatest gastronomic films in the history of cinema".[56] Several reviews noted that Anton Ego's critique at the end of the movie could be taken, and at least in one case was taken (by Roger Moore, who gave the film 3/5 stars[57]) as "a slap on the wrist" for professional critics.[58][59]

Accolades[edit]

Ratatouille was nominated for five Oscars including Best Animated Feature Film, which it won.[60] 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.[60] In 2008, WALL-E surpassed that record with 6 nominations. As of 2013, Ratatouille is tied with Up and Toy Story 3 for animated film with the second greatest number of Oscar nominations.[60] Beauty and the Beast still holds the record for most Oscar nominations (also 6) for an animated feature film.[60]

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Screenplay and Best Animated Film, which it lost to Atonement, The Bourne Ultimatum (for both Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing) and Juno, respectively, winning only the last one.[61] Furthermore Ratatouille was nominated for 13 Annie Awards including twice in the Best Animated Effects, where it lost to Surf's 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 nomination.[62] It won the Best Animated Feature Award from multiple associations including the Chicago Film Critics,[63] the National Board of Review,[64] the Annie Awards,[62] the Broadcast Film Critics,[65] the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA), and the Golden Globes.[66]

Plagarized film[edit]

If magazine described Ratatoing, a 2007 Brazilian computer graphics cartoon by company Vídeo Brinquedo, as a "ripoff" of Ratatouille.[67] Marco Aurélio Canônico of Folha de S. Paulo described Ratatoing as a derivative of Ratatouille. Canônico discussed whether lawsuits from Pixar would appear. The Brazilian Ministry of Culture posted Marco Aurélio Canônico's article on its website.[68] In the end, Pixar reportedly did not seek legal action. The company primarily distributes films with concepts blatantly plagiarized from films by Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks Animation and other major studios in other countries.

Video game[edit]

A video game adaptation of the film 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.[69]

References[edit]

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