Hey folks, Harry here - I sadly can't tell you how I feel about RATATOUILLE... sniffle... I wish I could... I wish I could share with you the feeling I had watching this __________ ______ Movie!!! I mean, there was one moment in the film where I totally __________ ____ __ and ____ ________ my ___ ___!!! But, I can't. However, the regular audience members... like the folks at IMDB and the unknown heroes of AICN can share their unfettered feelings. Suffice to say, _ ____ ____ _______ _____!!!
Hey Harry, Quint, and all AICNers out there. My wife and I just came back from an amazing advance screening of Pixar's latest, Ratatouille. This was our first time, and unfortunately probably the only time we will get to visit the often hailed Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Austin, but what a great event to experience. What they say is true, The Alamo is a great film venue that oozes geek - but in a good way. And the geeks were out in force tonight. Harry's whole family, Tim League, owner of The Alamo, and Remy The Rat himself, Patton Oswalt introduced the film, with a special video introduction from Brad Bird, thanking the readers of AICN and the owners of The Alamo... what a treat. By now, everyone who reads AICN knows the story of Remy, so it isn't really important to get into spoilers of the film. It is a film that everyone will enjoy. By the end of the film, if you aren't in love with these rats, there is something wrong with you. This film is very magical in ways that not only the best of Pixar has brought us, but the best that Disney used to bring us. Great characters, fantastic animation, and a sense of love in creating a unique story for the cinema. The audience ate it up... literally - the ratatouille served upon entering the theater was quite delicious. This is what great family cinema can do... everyone in the theater from age 5 - "who knows" seemed to have a great time. Production wise, the animation was a great step forward, but yet still feels like Pixar. They have a style to their animation, that seems familiar - not so in your face as the imitators. I was drawn to the eyes of the characters, while cartoonish, there is life in them. The slight expressions from Remy can convey a whole magnitude of human characteristics, it's wonderful to watch Pixar do what they do best. Yet, that was one thing that Cars was missing. While Cars never had the lifeless expressions of The Polar Express, it was hard to connect to characters that seems a bit too Tonka-ish. The people and rodents that inhabit Ratatouille seem real in their world. Yet this is an animated film, and there is some really great cartoon fun to be had in the movement of these characters. Especially in the character of Linguini. Watching as Remy learns to take control of Linguini's body movements is hilarious to see, and reminded me of the best of Chaplin and Goofy combined. The voice talent is top notch, as you would expect. Patton Oswalt exudes the passion for food, that he obviously has. His passion brings life to the story, and when he talks about great food, it just makes you want to eat something yummy. Peter O'Toole is also fantastic as the notoriously evil food critic that could make or break our heroes' career. O'Toole has had such a great year, and in the amazing array of roles he's had over decades of film, this might be one his greatest. So nasty, yet hilarious. You can tell he was having a great time with this character.. He has a payoff at the end of the film that is one of the funniest things I have ever seen - it takes the film to classic status. Also great in her role as Chef Colette, Janeane Garofolo delivers an almost unrecognisable performance that is funny, and so French, it is hard to believe it is her. How could Linguini not fall in love with her? After a huge round of applause, we were treated to a short Q&A with both Patton Oswalt, and surprise guest, Janeane Garololo. Both seemed really excited to be there, and enjoyed taking questions from both seasoned film geeks and kids alike. Keeping answers in the "G" rating may not have been the easiest thing, but they managed to tell stories about Patton not telling his wife about having the role of Remy until she saw the trailer, to meeting Brian Dennehy in the food line and having him tell Patton "It's OK, we're character actors, we're allowed to be fat." They also gave an extraordinary account of visiting the Pixar labs, that sounds like one of the coolest places to visit... let alone work. Funnily enough, it sounds like what it might have been like to have worked at Disney back in the golden age. These people seem to know they are doing something special, and it shows. They also discussed the foods they ate while performing their characters (or no food in Janeane's case), their excitement at being in a Brad Bird Pixar movie, and their feelings about the end of The Sopranos... not happy on that note. Ratatouille comes out in two weeks, and we'll be there again. If you love animation but are turned off by the constant pop jokes that we get in so many animated films these days, this is for you. If you have a family, this is for you. If you aren't a codgy, jaded old fart - you'll love it. Hell, even if you are a codgy, jaded old fart you will probably secretly love it. Thank You to Harry, and everyone at Disney, and The Alamo Drafthouse for allowing this early screening to happen here in Austin. Special thanks to Patton and Janeane for being so classy to hang out and sign a few autographs. Everyone had a blast. If you use this, please call me The Brain Machine.