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Animation and Anime

Moriarty Cooks Up His Review Of RATATOUILLE!

Sorry. I swear to god the headline will be the only example of bad cooking references in this whole review. You’ll get hit with enough of them as the positive reviews for this film keep pouring in over the next two weeks. And believe me... the vast majority of the reviews for this one are going to be glowing. Over the moon. Madly in love. And the film deserves all of that and more. In 1999, a banner year for film, and probably the single best year since I started at AICN, there were several genuine masterworks released, and my favorite of them was an underperforming animated film called THE IRON GIANT. In 2004, there were also a number of truly great films released, and my favorite of the year was again an animated movie about superheroes called THE INCREDIBLES. And now, with the year half over, the single best movie I’ve seen at this point is the animated story of a rat who wants to be a chef and the guy who helps him accomplish that dream. All three of these movies are from the same filmmaker, a fact that suggests to me that, in my opinion, Brad Bird is the best filmmaker working right now. Period. Yep. High praise, indeed. But when one of our reviewers called Bird “the American Miyazaki” yesterday, I don’t think they were wrong. This is a guy who manages to make smart, entertaining films that tackle big ideas in ways that appeal both to young viewers and adults. THE IRON GIANT is just the story of a boy and his robot on the surface, but the emotional and thematic complexity of the way Bird examines the weight of the statement “I am not a gun” in that film is what makes it an enduring classic, a film we’ll still be watching and sharing and revisiting a quarter century from now. THE INCREDIBLES is “just another superhero film” on the surface, but beneath that, it’s an examination of the notion of what makes someone special, and what that means in relation to society. And now, he’s taken his unlikeliest premise and spun it into a story about following your passions, the value of criticism, and the collaborative nature of art. Heady stuff, but if you choose to ignore all of that and simply enjoy it as a great family comedy, you can. Any film that functions on dual levels like that requires a deft touch, and that’s exactly what Bird brings to it. The film opens with Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) trying to figure out his place among his colony of rats, and it’s obvious that he doesn’t feel like he belongs with them. His sophisticated palette doesn’t allow him to indiscriminately eat garbage like his friend Emile (voiced by Peter Sohn) or his father (voiced by Brian Dennehy). But when he points out how he can smell subtle differences in things, his father puts him to work smelling all the food in the colony to check for rat poison. Remy wants more. Remy watches the world of humans and longs to be part of it. He walks on his hind legs when he’s alone so he can keep his hands clean. He learns to read. But more than anything, he longs to cook. He longs to be able to experience real food. One of my favorite early moments in the film is when Remy is eating cheese and a grape, and we see the way he experiences the tastes. Bird uses swirling abstract colors behind Remy as a way of conveying what it is that Remy is feeling, and it’s a device that reminds me of some of the old Walt Disney shorts about music. It’s also a great way to convey to kids that there are different degrees of experience. Not everything is the same. An experience like eating isn’t just about shoveling something into your mouth... it should be about all of the sensory pleasures of that experience. In our ADD-driven culture, the idea of telling people to slow down and actually savor something as simple as the taste of cheese is downright subversive, and I love the way Bird mounts his argument. When Remy’s desire to cook causes the colony to be discovered by the woman whose farmhouse they’ve been using as home, they have to run, and Remy ends up separated from his family, alone and afraid. However, he ends up in Paris, and circumstance (and a figment of his imagination) lead him to Gusteau’s, the restaurant founded by the man Remy looks up to as a hero. Gusteau (voiced by Brad Garrett) was a legend, a man whose philosophy was “Anyone can cook,” and his five-star restaurant was a phenomenon in his lifetime until a bad review by Anton Ego (voiced spectacularly by Peter O’Toole) knocked one star off the rating. This broke Gusteau’s heart, and he died soon after, which knocked another star off the rating. Remy doesn’t care, though. The opportunity to observe the kitchen of the restaurant leads him to a skylight where he spies on the activity below. And if you’ve seen the nine minutes of the film online now, you know what happens next. I don’t really want to discuss anything more of the plot of the film. Suffice it to say it does some of what you expect, then a fair amount of what you don’t. Bird doesn’t stretch things out to an unnecessary length... he dispatches some plot points fairly quickly, earlier than you’d expect. And gradually, the film reveals itself to have more on its mind than your average family animated movie. It’s in the language of the film, and even if you choose to tune a lot of it out, this works almost on a silent movie level. The animation is breathtaking, thanks in part to Sharon Calahan and Robert Anderson, the directors of photography. Bird’s always had very particular theories about great animation, and this is like a master’s class as he seems determined to push the state-of-the-art in service of truly classic storytelling. It’s not just the level of detail (although that’s pretty mind-boggling just from a tech geek point-of-view), but also in the way Bird achieves an almost photo-real quality to so much of the film, while still featuring characters who are drawn in an exaggerated animation style. It works. You find yourself persuasively pulled into the world when you’re seeing it all from rat’s-eye-level, but the human characters are all given unexpected imperfections and emotional quirk. Linguini, Colette, and even Anton Ego strike me as more human than, say, anyone in FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, because they behave like real people. They disappoint each other, they overreact, they are insecure... it’s so easy to forget that everything you’re watching was created in a computer. Which brings me to the food. Good god, the food. This is a mouthwatering film. It makes sense. Remy’s in love with food, so the film has to convey the tactile reality of what it is he loves. You can practically smell it when you’re in the kitchen scenes. What this really does is communicate just how much a passion means to the person possessed by it. In Remy’s case, it’s food. In my case, it’s film. In someone else’s case, it might be cars or airplanes or surfing or whatever... all that matters is understanding what it’s like to be really consumed by your love of something, to the point where you’d risk security and comfort in order to chase a dream. Bird’s movie is about defeating self-doubt. It’s about what we can accomplish as people... or rats, I suppose... if we follow those passions whole-heartedly, no matter what they cost. There’s a scene in the film, and I won’t spoil it, which you’ll recognize as soon as you see it. A character has a moment of realization, and Bird uses a flashback to illustrate that self-realization. It’s wordless, and I can see how many people might react to it as a joke. But it really hit me as an emotional beat, so much so that unexpected tears leapt to my eyes. Just as I responded to the notion in IRON GIANT that we all have a choice about whether or not to do harm or good as we move through this life, here I was flattened by just how well Bird illustrated the way passions are born, the pleasures we pursue as we watch films or eat great meals or listen to music or whatever it is that we do for the benefit of our souls. Brad Bird gives these characters real soul. And how often do you see that in any studio filmmaking, animated or otherwise? So often today, films are treated like product, and there’s a lot of product that I enjoy. I’m not above a spectacle for the sake of it. But every now and then, there are filmmakers who I trust to challenge me about what I believe every time they make a film, and I not only enjoy the challenge, but I think I am bettered because of it. Brad Bird’s that sort of filmmaker, and Pixar has allowed him to make two great films in a row. I hope that he returns to the studio often in the future, and I hope he continues to follow his own passion that has led him to where he is as an artist, and the same goes for all the amazing artists whose work combined to make this film so powerful. Whether it’s Michael Giacchino, whose score for the film manages to evoke classic Parisian themes, early Miles Davis, and the great lush scores of a Hollywood past, or the character design team or the invaluable contribution of the film’s original director, the great Jan Pinkava. I give RATATOUILLE my highest recommendation, and I am excited that as my son discovers films (he’s starting to assert his tastes as we let him try things off of a toddler-safe stack), there are people working like Bird, people whose work is going to do more than just entertain... it will affect, and for the better. You’ll see for yourself (and so will I, many more times this summer) when the film opens next week. I’ve still got at least two more reviews to write tonight. One for 1408, and one for EVAN ALMIGHTY. And then tomorrow I’m taking part in a very unusual set visit. But more on that as we approach the weekend...

Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • June 21, 2007, 3:21 a.m. CST


    by darshn22


  • June 21, 2007, 3:33 a.m. CST

    Dude, I sooo agree

    by Zakari Paolon

    Saw this last saturday and I'm still thinking about it on a daily basis. Bird is a great. I will see this one again at the movies once it's out.

  • June 21, 2007, 3:38 a.m. CST


    by stones_throw


  • June 21, 2007, 3:39 a.m. CST

    Mori, what did you think of FF2?

    by stones_throw

    I had a similar reaction to Harry but that might just be because I'm an FF fanboy and was surprised to see the Silver Surfer and Galactus done mostly right.

  • June 21, 2007, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Great review :)

    by giger167

    Movie cant really fail for me, as it combines my two favourite things, Pixar and cooking ! After forty years of eating junk food, a couple of years ago I discovered the simple pleasure in good home cooking, and anything that can convince a child to forgo the happy meal and experience something real and tasty and fast is ok by me. Pixar have a 100 per cent track record for me, I've loved every one of their films but this one looks like it will be right at the top the tree :) No gay food jokes by the way, I have just bought a set of Global knives lol and I my knife fu is strong so be warned hahaha :)

  • June 21, 2007, 3:54 a.m. CST

    Brad Bird should make a SOUTH PARK movie

    by zillabeast

    Could you imagine.....?

  • June 21, 2007, 3:59 a.m. CST

    I wonder if we'll get a Neil Cumpston review...?

    by Boba Fat

    I'm still wondering......still wondering.......wonder......wonder...and....I've stopped wondering.

  • June 21, 2007, 4:24 a.m. CST

    Chuck Jones...

    by keepcoolbutcare

    and the rest of the Termite Terrace would be proud. "Classical storytelling" indeed, impeccable characterization and could turn the sound off entirely and still follow the story, still giggle at the gags. Don't be put off by the premise, the film slyly and stylishly addresses your concerns.

  • June 21, 2007, 5:07 a.m. CST

    Really excited for this

    by Det. John Kimble

    And recent movies have not gotten me excited. Go PIXAR, show everyone how stories still make the movie.

  • June 21, 2007, 5:26 a.m. CST


    by AllieJamison

    Great and insightful words. The "unusual set visit" part had my heart stop for a second...

  • June 21, 2007, 5:33 a.m. CST

    I saw the sneak preview last weekend

    by darquelyte

    It was great! Pixar continues to amaze with their string of hits. The short film before the feature, called Lifted (?) was pretty funny too. Brad Bird really knows his stuff.

  • June 21, 2007, 5:52 a.m. CST

    I don't like Miyazaki. Brad Bird rules!

    by DerLanghaarige

  • June 21, 2007, 6:47 a.m. CST

    Thanks Moriarty

    by Vicenzo

    Always a pleasure -- I'll definitely see this opening night.

  • June 21, 2007, 7:10 a.m. CST

    "Brad Bird is the best filmmaker working right now"

    by newc0253

    i completely agree. kudos, sir, for a good review.

  • June 21, 2007, 7:13 a.m. CST

    HIS unlikeliest/most unlikely premise Mori?

    by half vader

    No, that'd be Jan's premise. :) Nice review though Mori - if a little redundant in that is any sane person NOT already hanging out to see it? ;) (sorry, I've got a smiley infection at the moment)

  • June 21, 2007, 7:39 a.m. CST

    i think mori said ff2 sucked badly

    by supercowbell 4 cant stop the cowbell

  • June 21, 2007, 7:46 a.m. CST

    yea mori hated it badly here are some of his quotes

    by supercowbell 4 cant stop the cowbell

    "FANTASTIC FOUR 2: RISE OF THE SILVER SUCK is more like being kicked in the balls than stabbed in the balls. Eventually, the pain will pass." go to harrys review talkback to see plenty more!

  • June 21, 2007, 8:33 a.m. CST


    by dark antifyre

    ....was dying to see this film already, as Iron Giant is one of favourites of the last 10 years....but your review just made my mouth water! Thank you!(but now I really want to grab some lunch!)

  • June 21, 2007, 8:34 a.m. CST

    a Brad Bird movie...what'd you expect?

    by just pillow talk

    I totally agree about Iron Giant & The Incredibles, own both, and they are great movies. And in this summer, this will be raised to an even higher plateau due to the summer suckage...

  • June 21, 2007, 8:50 a.m. CST

    So is this more Ayn Rand propaganda then?

    by PwnedByStallone

    I love Brad Bird. I LOVE The Iron Giant. I enjoyed The Incredibles superficially. But the themes in that movie felt a little too much like The Fountainhead for Kids. I know I sound like Massawyrm right now but it's true man and it's a bit unnerving.

  • June 21, 2007, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Suck on it Dreamworks and Sony!!!

    by Sequitur

    You will never reach the heights of Pixar!!! Stick to your CGI cartoons with big name stars while Pixar churns out great FILMS.

  • June 21, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Pixar pwnz!

    by Kragmose

    This movie is the best from their cunning hands!

  • June 21, 2007, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Good stuff Drew

    by Darth Thoth

    I can't wait for this movie. BB is the man and I expect this film to be great.

  • June 21, 2007, 10:36 a.m. CST


    by half vader

    And that is why you have no friends.

  • June 21, 2007, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Better than "The Incredibles"...

    by samuraiyao

    Saw a sneek peek as well!!!! Great animated movie, Mr. Byrd is fantastic...

  • June 21, 2007, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Mori, wasn't "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"...

    by raw_bean

    ...your fave of 2004? I'm sure I remember you saying that. It was mine. Incredibles was ace though.

  • June 21, 2007, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Shrek>Cars, A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc BUT...

    by frozenhamster

    Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, The Increrdibles, Ratatouille>Shrek. I love Shrek. It is up there as one of my favourite movies, but most of the Pixar movies are still better, and no other CG animated movie comes close to being better than a Pixar film.

  • June 21, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Iam sure i'm going to cry watching WALL-E

    by ludmir88

    RATATOUILLE.... mmmm nice review.

  • June 21, 2007, 12:51 p.m. CST

    "The American Miyazaki"? - Gimme a break.

    by LoneGun

    Brad Bird IS a major talent, but I hardly think he's the imaginitive genius that Miyazaki is. Still, this movie sounds very appealing. Nice review.

  • June 21, 2007, 1:03 p.m. CST

    dude, if you're going to watch SHREK more than once

    by Jed

    you're the one who needs the mushrooms. There's room for your Happy Meal Fart Joke Pop Song Montage franchise bilge and our, y'know, good movies.

  • June 21, 2007, 1:07 p.m. CST

    Ayn Rand Connection

    by Saluki

    The Ayn Rand connection to the Incredibles is actually quite interesting, but at the same time The Incredibles presented more balance and less preaching than you would likely find in her works. The oppressive big government man is actually a friend of the family, and they do show the dangers of super powered beings in equal fashion.

  • June 21, 2007, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Better change the review, Mori

    by That Reilly Monster

    Eli is gonna be PISSED when he sees you calling someone else the best filmmaker working today.<br><br>j/k. Can't wait to see this. Missed the sneak preview last Saturday because of my daughter's recital, damn it.

  • June 21, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Moriarty, fyi pixar is talking about this review

    by JoeyRusso1290

    I was interviewing Brad Bird and Brad Lewis this morning for the local tv program I am on and Brad Bird's assistant came out and started saying how great this review was and how ecstatic Brad was when he read it. Congrats! Thought you would like to know that. Joe @

  • June 21, 2007, 2:51 p.m. CST

    That scene you're talking about

    by coolhanderik

    I got teary eyed too. Definately going to be one of my top 10 movies, it was just so funny and smart and touching. Great Review.

  • June 21, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST

    "Toddler-safe stack"

    by chrth

    I just hope Harry didn't have any input.

  • June 21, 2007, 5:34 p.m. CST

    It truly is a masterpiece.

    by Bungion Boy

    Saw it last week and Moriarty nailed it. I loved this film so much. If you haven't seen the 9 minutes online yet, I would advise that you don't. It's one of the best sequences in the film and you should experience it for the first time on the big screen. But the whole film is wonderful.

  • June 21, 2007, 7:13 p.m. CST

    That IS 'tite', Spaz

    by half vader


  • June 21, 2007, 7:14 p.m. CST

    what's with the frakkin Ayn Rand references?

    by newc0253

    yes, the Incredibles had a message that talented individuals shouldn't be made to hide their lights underneath a bushel. But I don't see how that makes Brad Bird some rabid individualist Ayn Rand flake.

  • June 21, 2007, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Yay, can't wait to see it. Have the feeling that

    by superninja

    this is going to be a classic.

  • June 21, 2007, 8 p.m. CST

    Mori, you are dead-on.

    by pungaboy

    Especially with the "unexpected tears" moment. The following is a bit **SPOILERISH**, so do NOT read on if you haven't seen the movie yet. The flashback moment was, in my opinion the most joyfully cathartic cinema moment I've ever experienced! It's funny because at the precise moment that the character in the movie has his flashback, I felt the exact same way, except for a different reason. The flashback happened in the film, and Ego is transported back to a poignant joy of his childhood. At that precise moment, I suddenly felt like a kid watching Star Wars for the first time. It was absolutley, bizarrely exhilarating, and I realized that I was having the BEST TIME I've had at the movies in ages. **END SPOILERISH** Anyway I'd be interested to find out if it was just me, or if anybody else felt like this when they saw the movie. Long and short of it, I think that Ratatouille is stylistically and thematically Pixar's best movie to date, and that is saying a hell of a lot. I know the Academy HATES nominating animated movies outside of the "animated" catagory, but for God's sake, this is THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE SEEN THIS DECADE. Once again, a bunch of animation and computer nerds from Silicon Valley have completely put Hollywood to shame.

  • June 21, 2007, 8:08 p.m. CST

    that one moment you mentioned

    by drave117

    Yeah, I can't even remember the last time that a single moment in a movie made me laugh and cry at the same time.

  • June 21, 2007, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Great review, Mori....

    by JackIsLost

    The flashback you refer to is simply amazing in how emotional and simulataneously hilarious it is. You say this is the best movie so far...but you know damn well there won't be a better movie this year... SEE THIS AS SOON AS YOU CAN!!!!

  • June 21, 2007, 8:42 p.m. CST

    I love the Rand-ian themes of Brad Bird...

    by JackIsLost

    Shows his maturity as a film maker. FOUNTAINHEAD FOR KIDS = sounds good to me....

  • June 21, 2007, 10:18 p.m. CST

    "The Incredibles" is the best superhero movie ever made

    by Killah_Mate

    As in, in the entirety of the film medium, not just animation. I can't really imagine Ratatouille topping it, but whatever Bird makes, I'll watch. Especially with Pixar backing him. They basically had me at hello.

  • June 22, 2007, 1:02 a.m. CST

    Yeah yeah yeah

    by McClane_Corleone

    Did anyone think this movie wasn't going to get glowing reviews from the entire aicn staff? No, me neither. Eh, i'm still not all that excited about the cooking rat movie, I'll wait for the DVD.

  • June 22, 2007, 2:11 a.m. CST

    Palate, Professor Moriarity, Palate

    by quentintarantado

    I believe you are referring to Remy's sophisticated palate (A chef's palate has to be good for a chef to be successful), rather than palette (the burnished palette of The Godfather's cinematography). Palette and palate are homophones so it's a fairly common error.

  • June 22, 2007, 4:46 a.m. CST

    Busted, Tarantado...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... and it's just one of those cases where I actually thought that was the proper spelling. Consider me edumacated by a talkback.

  • June 22, 2007, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Disney and Pixar

    by BizarroJerry

    Disney's smartest business move in recent memory -- to me -- was making sure they held on to Pixar, and giving Lasseter creative control over nearly everything. The dense executives thought all it took to make a popular animated movie these days was CGI, and they could just do it themselves. Then Chicken Little came out, was a disappointment to them (I think it was, anyway) and someone realized, we need Pixar. I'm very interested to see what kind of 2D animation we'll get out of Disney in the future.

  • June 22, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Anyone worried about the Rand themes in the Incredibles

    by Cameron1

    should listen to the commentary. While there are some similarities in the ideas Bird is much more liberal and democratic and inclusive. It's actually a really nice balance that I agree with in many repscts.

  • June 23, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    remember the 1st time you saw The Matrix and T:2?

    by spanxster

    I cannot wait to see this on the widescreen. I couldn't help myself and watched the pirated dvd available here in the Philippines, which was surprisingly clear! I've never seen computer animation like this before, and most likely, neither have you. Simply put, it doesn't look like a damn CGI movie, it looks like a painting in motion...... it's years beyond Happy Feet, Madagascar, and yes, Shrek III. It will make you feel the same way you did the first time you saw Terminator 2 and The Matrix. And like those two groundbreaking films, the amazing digital effects never got in the way of the excellent stories of those movies. This is Pixar at its best, people. For fans of the ff: 1. the Indiana Jones series 2. Amelie and Casablanca 3. Toy Story 1 & 2, Monsters Inc., A Bug's Life, The Incredibles, & Cars 4. Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Iron Chef, Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali, and all the other Food Network shows.... this is YOUR movie!!!

  • June 23, 2007, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Bird needs to take Pixar to Star Wars!

    by Mandolorian

    It would make the Clone Wars look like crap!!!

  • June 23, 2007, 3:48 p.m. CST

    I'll wait for it come to the Food Channel

    by gad

    And then I'll change the channel. Rats, the French, French cooking, France - that's four strikes. I'll be surprised if it does well.

  • June 23, 2007, 8:29 p.m. CST

    This movie sounds KICKWUMP!!!

    by Oatu

    Better than Toy Story!!

  • June 24, 2007, 12:22 p.m. CST

    AICN: Home of the literal thinkers

    by half vader

    Animation thrives on unlikely situations for their possibilities and oppostites and contrast and conflict (which is drama of course) for the possibility to create something not possible or probable in live-action (and the challenge of going beyond the premise). But noooooo. "A fuckin' rat and cooking? Yeah like THAT's gonna work!" (self satisfied snigger). <p> Thank God creative and animation types aren't as myopic as your average talkbacker. Can you imagine if this was fifty years ago? It'd be "What? Rodents that TALK? WTF?" and "For fuck's sake - ANOTHER Bugs Bunny/Mickey Mouse/Droopy/Donald/Daffy Duck cartoon??? Can't these guys come up with something new instead of repeating themselves for decades? If I see another animated mouse..." <p> Or... "A puppet that wants to be a boy? WTF? Who thought THAT stupid shit up?" or "A poisoned apple? Ya gotta be kidding me - how stupid IS that chick?" or "A FLYING elephant? EVERYONE knows it's PIGS that fly (!)!" or if you want to make things a bit more analogous, "Ballerina HIPPOS? WTF? How stupid can you possibly be? That's about as far from a real dancer as you can get - what moron came up with that? And still with the animals???" <p> Are the dipsticks getting my point? Maybe I need to be a bit clearer?

  • June 25, 2007, 12:49 p.m. CST

    This was a good movie . I saw a preview .

    by majortom25

    THis movie is a good movie. ONe of the best of the summer. Also there was no mention of the cool brown overlay that most of the movie had. Made it feel like you were watching an older movie that was set in paris. The sewer scenes looked very Real. This is a pixar movie no doubt. Also props to anybody who catches the incredibles reference in 5the movie :)

  • June 25, 2007, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Miyazaki is great, but Bird is better

    by pipergates

    They have soul and storytelling abilities in common, but Myiasaki doesn't always make a lot of sense- at least from a western perspective. I love Ghibli, but not all their work is on the same level of quality. Bird's films have so far been spotless. Cant wait to see what he does next- hope he skips that one about the SF earthquake and makes something like a more adult-oriented scifi thing.

  • June 25, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Bird should do a Myazaki style fantasy

    by pipergates

    Not just to prove that he's better, or just to make something everybody wants to see. But i'm sure he's just as creative, and he could teach those japanese how to make an adventure that's coherent...something even the greatest in anime usually misses.

  • June 25, 2007, 7:14 p.m. CST

    So wait - was there a WALL-E cameo?

    by half vader

    And was there a Ratatouille cameo in Cars? You know how they put cameos of the NEXT film in their movies? And there's always that rubber ball from Red's dream in there somewhere. Anyone know? <p> As for the Mars movie, when they say it'll be live-action/animation cross (Isn't that what Wall-e is too?) do they mean just a live action flick with lots of animation (like say Phantom Menace which was jokingly referred to in-house as the 'aminated movie' having 2000 effects shots) or do they mean part live-action & photoreal and part non-photoreal/stylised like all their other movies??

  • June 25, 2007, 8:20 p.m. CST


    by NightArrows overrated. Bring on the rat!

  • June 26, 2007, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Miyazaki has edge.

    by LoneGun

    There is no comparison to be made between Miyazaki and Bird. Bird is not even in the same league. His films are fun, but I don't believe anyone goes to see them for their "heady" subject matter and "thematic complexity". Miyazaki has the balls and the visionary talent to weave huge themes with entertaining drama. Thank God for Japanese animation. Does the world really need another American CG animated flick with critters behaving like humans?

  • June 27, 2007, 1:14 a.m. CST

    "Cg animated flick with critters"...

    by half vader

    I guess I SHOULD have been clearer up there eh Lonegun?<p> You talk about complexity and simplistic American stuff then reduce things down to the 'talking animals' bonehead critique. Whatever man. Of course the answer is YES, if it's still a great story.

  • June 27, 2007, 2:18 a.m. CST

    hey moriarty

    by FrenchBastard03

    did you see where you're quoted on an ad for ratatouille on rotten tomatoes? i dont know if its anywhere else or if ya knew, but i saw "drew mcweeny, aint it cool" says ratatouille is "leaps and bounds the best film of the year!"

  • June 27, 2007, 6:53 a.m. CST

    "thematic complexity" of Miyazaki is pointless

    by pipergates

    He is best when he is at his simplest, like in Totoro. But even when his tales are super-creative and complex, all his characters act the same. His characters are a couple of different archetypes that gets recycled again and again. Being more soap-opera dramatic and dazzling with his images does not make him better than Bird. Myiazaki might have a certain timeless enchantmet that its hard to find in american movies but in the end his stories are simplistic and two-dimensional. He might so far have shown more magic, but Bird is much superior when it comes to making you believe in and identify with a variety of different creatures and personalities. And Bird's stories has coherence.

  • June 27, 2007, 12:05 p.m. CST

    brad bird is not the best filmmaker in the world

    by rajium32

    that's ridiculus! -SP- Micheal bay is the best. . . kidding. Ratatouille was not as good as Finding Nemo, or Toy Story, or The Incredibles, however it did get better as it went along. And Brad Bird is not better than Miyazaki (though who's to say who's better).

  • June 27, 2007, 12:34 p.m. CST

    oh I'm reading more comparisions on Bird and Miyazaki

    by rajium32

    Furthermore don't insult Japanese animation, because it isn't coherent. I tend to think it's because you don't recognize subtle cultural references. American cultural references are easier because we are imperialistic with it. Japanese animation (for the most part) is heady, intelligent and asks for repeat viewings. Nothing Miyazaki has done is simplistic or two-dimensional. That's insane. He goes way beyond Hollywood plot-point / character arc dramatic setup and design. Pixar is a family oriented animation company taking it's cue from Disney in the 90's. They are great at what they do and it's quality all around, but don't mistake a couple of one-liners about society or emotion as any real study on humananity, leave that to the subtle imagery of miyazaki and fellow independant companies from around the world - like the guys who made Triplets of Belville, and other smaller scale cats. Brad Bird is not better than Miyazaki, and comparing them annoys me. Don't annoy me.

  • June 27, 2007, 1:38 p.m. CST

    sure he's better, but dont let it annoy you

    by pipergates

    Sorry but i dont buy the "subtle cultural reference" argument. I'm sure there's things in anime that goes over the head of the us barbaric westerners. But that doesn't excuse this general lack of coherence in anime. Or the flat characters. Who's to say who is better indeed, but those who claim that Bird is somehow not even in the same league as Miyasaki are looking at the package and not the contents.

  • June 27, 2007, 2:16 p.m. CST

    enticing headline t.piper.gates

    by rajium32

    I am not claiming Bird is not in the same league, and America is not thoroughly Barbaric. 'I don't buy' the lack of coherence bit, as I and many others have no problems understanding Miyazaki's dramatic movements and / or structure. Nor do I buy the flat character bit. I would love to see a comparison put forth between Pixar characters and Miyazaki characters. Again looking and the package and contents, I whole heartedly disagree, in fact I feel as though I should say the exact same thing to those who believe one is better than the other. I will let certain statements annoy me, especially when they are not followed by rigorous logical evidence. Fork it over, sucka

  • June 27, 2007, 2:20 p.m. CST

    "taking 'it's' cue from Disney in the '90's'"

    by half vader

    Ease up on us with the innapropriate apostrophes dude!;) What I really wanted to ask though is don't you mean Disney in the 40s? Considering Pixar follow the original Disney method, not the 90s (they were already making feature films themselves by then) and it sure had nothing to do with Kimba - oops Lion King and Thief & the Cobb - oops Aladdin and so on. <p> As far as being coherent goes, maybe a lot of people are confusing it with ambiguity. Many cultural references can be recognised through their context in the scene even if we aren't familiar with the actual custom or reference. Ambiguity however is used differently by Japanese and western films. In American films it's acceptable to use ambiguity in relation to character traits or motivation whereas we baulk at ambiguity in plot though Japanese audiences have no problem with it. <p> Not trying to sound all wanky, I just don't know how else to say it.

  • June 27, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    I meant 90's not 40's BUT I understand that is somewhat

    by rajium32

    Insulting to Pixar, ad they are far more original. However they are not as experimental as Early Disney. They are however, much like the Disney of the 90's in terms of entertainment and production value. I give Pixar high praises compared to 90's Disney, however. I agree with your talk-back as a whole. And I'll work on the apostrophes. . .and grammer, and spelling. . .

  • June 27, 2007, 2:52 p.m. CST

    Cool mate.

    by half vader

    I was just having a go (grammar/spelling) at ya. I get you about entertainment/production value (although I'd argue the analogy is equally valid to 40s Disney).

  • June 27, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    i could see that.

    by rajium32

    I really like the 40's animation, and the production value was spectacular for that time. Still holds up well now.

  • June 27, 2007, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Cultural references in AMERICAN cartoons

    by half vader

    Continuing on with the 'subtle references we don't get' thing, I wonder about stuff like classic Warner Bros. cartoons, where the score is used as a narrative device. Although I sure didn't live back then, somehow (cartoon osmosis?) I know the title when I hear the tune and therefore get the joke as they would have back then. Even if I don't know the 40s pop-culture reference I still 'get it' because of the tone and tempo. It works both ways. <p> The thing is we're living in the age of morons whose defence is "Why should I have to know that? It's before my time!". Hey, I didn't grow up with the Beatles either but fuck me I'm not that myopic or pigheaded that I'd even try to comment on music or defend myself if I didn't even know THAT much. <p> ANYway what I'm saying is that these says lowest-common-denominator pap like Shrek can't even do the classic Warner pop reference stuff right because it seems to me that even if a young audience doesn't 'get' the song reference in a Bugs Bunny cartoon they still have the tools to inform you as to the intent of the scene. Stuff like Shrek is so ridiculously specific (to the point where only U.S. audiences will understand) with the references I don't see how it will possibly stand up for another 5 years, never mind the better part of century like Bugs. Is this unfair? Toy Story for that matter has plenty of references but they all work on both levels too. <p> I know I know I'm rambling again...

  • June 27, 2007, 3:17 p.m. CST

    These DAYS

    by half vader

    - oops. Also, inform THEM. Gah!

  • June 28, 2007, 2:24 a.m. CST

    I want to see a Miyazaki directed Pixar film.

    by polyh3dron

    Who's with me??

  • June 28, 2007, 4:19 a.m. CST


    by half vader

    I'm with you, but after that April Fool's prank last year (or the year before?) I'm once bitten twice shy. I sooooo wanted to believe it! Cruelest April fool's ever.

  • June 28, 2007, 10:14 a.m. CST

    if Miyasaki does the script and Bird the dialog

    by pipergates

    that would be perfect. would love to see that.

  • June 29, 2007, 7:10 p.m. CST


    by david19

    Saw it. Wasn't sure Id like it at first. LOVED it. My review.<P>

  • June 29, 2007, 7:11 p.m. CST


    by david19

    guess that doesn work. <P>

  • Dec. 24, 2007, 12:39 p.m. CST

    The best movie of the year

    by dtpena