Massawyrm Passes A Love Note To RATATOUILLE!!
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Last week, at the Ratatouille premiere here in Austin, Patton Oswalt looked out over the crowd and remarked how odd it was to be in a room full of both children and Jaded Internet Hipsters. Later in the evening I leaned over to Patton, shot him a sarcastic look and said "Jaded Internet Hipsers, huh?" "Dude, take the hit," he smirked. "Because I haven't written my review yet…" "Dude, take the hit." Of course I can take the hit. I mean Internet, definitely. Hipster, maybe. But jaded? That's the joke. I'm not jaded. Am I?
Yeah. Says the man who is about to write the following statement. I am just not in love with Pixar like everybody else is. My most vivid memory of this fact was walking out of Finding Nemo remarking, "Hey, that was pretty cute," only to stare into Robogeek and Harry's blank, slack jawed expressions asking "Are you out of your fucking mind? That was incredible!" No. It was cute. It was about two fish looking for another fish. It was sweet. But I probably wouldn't sit down on my own to watch it again. No. It was incredible.
And I've faced this phenomenon several times. Friends from all over the spectrum respond the same way. They just LOVE Pixar. And I just don't. I like them. And that goes for every last one of their films EXCEPT The Incredibles, which I own in several different formats and will watch over and over again until my eyes fall out of my skull. Oh, and that one about the Rat.
That's right. This very one about the rat. Because I fucking love the hell out of Ratatouille. But that by no means was a forgone conclusion. I mean, I had an awful lot of concerns about this one. While everyone else was excited for years, I was cautious. I love Brad Bird. His previous two films are epic works of animated genius. BUT, they were also geek movies, tailor made to all of my deepest, geekiest dork fantasies. And this was about a rat in Paris.
Then there's the fact that it stars Patton Oswalt. This had me really concerned. I mean, I love Patton. I've listened to his CD's, comedy specials and bootlegs so often that I know most of the bits by heart. Sometimes when I sit down to paint a Goblin War Troll, I want to listen to someone muse over what it might be like to work at Piss Drinkers magazine or what Star Wars would sound like if Nick Nolte had played Han Solo. God damnit Chewbacca, it makes me happy. And while I am very accustomed to the sound of that voice, I also was fully aware that Pixar was not going to let Patton be Patton. He was going to be a cute, adorable character. And I was worried that he would just sound wrong or somehow out of place.
But all that worrying was for naught. Because Ratatouille is exactly the type of sweet, entertaining film that got me right in the gut. Once again. Where Bird has managed to bring tears to my eyes every god damned time that Vin Diesel belts out that final SOOOOPERMAAAAN and gives me a 10 megawatt smile every time the Incredible family dons their masks to take out the Underminer, Ratatouille gave me a case of the fuzzy warm tinglies, delivering another perfect Brad Bird ending that spoke to me in ways other films don't.
Technically speaking there's not much to say. It's a Pixar film – and love them or hate them, you have to admit their animation and character design is light years ahead of pretty much everyone else. They have a way of bringing anthropomorphized characters to life unlike anyone else. And here, they give rats personalities and allow them to emote in a way that surpasses even those of NIMH. And the way they smoothly shift back and forth between talking Remy (Oswalt) and his pure nonverbal interaction with his human counterpart really gives a great impression of two distinct worlds.
But while the visuals are fantastic, the voicework is a dream. One of my biggest issues with animated films is that having spent the better part of a decade as a video store clerk, I used to spend 8 hours a day listening to movies, so I pick out an actors voice usually a few words in. And a lot of times, the actors voice just doesn't feel right in the role. I see the actor and not the character. But here, I wasn't recognizing anyone. Every actor was immersing themselves in their character and creating something new and different – rather than the bored line reading of many animated films (see Justin Timberlake in Shrek the Third.) Hell, had Janeane Garofalo not walked onstage and recited a few of her lines in the proper accent, I might never have believed it was her. The same goes for the rest of the cast. Each character is perfectly realized and wonderfully unique.
But what really grabbed me and played with my heartstrings in particular was the subplot with the films secondary antagonist, Anton Ego, the malicious but brilliant food critic voiced magnificently by Peter O'Toole. What Brad Bird does with this character and his arc is absolute perfection. He says and accomplishes almost effortlessly everything M. Night Shyamalan fumbled painfully with in last year's Lady in the Water, but manages to find something relevant to say and never stoops to being insulting or needlessly cathartic. Perhaps it is that I not only agree with, but live by his ultimate thesis with this character, but it hit me where I live. What can I say?
The film is a riot. It's funny in all the ways the very best written of the Pixar films are and is equally delightful. While the idea isn't quite as "out there" as many of their other films, it feels a hell of a lot more original that most of their other efforts. And I simply loved it from beginning to end. I hold this right up there with The Incredibles, although I've got to say I still hold The Incredibles as Pixar's very best. Ratatouille comes Highly Recommend for anyone who loves family, animated or just plain Pixar films and will probably be one of the most agreed upon films in this very divisive summer.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.
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Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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June 21, 2007, 2:05 p.m. CST
Hasn't happened yet.
June 21, 2007, 2:07 p.m. CST
My dream cast for the Jaws Remake now being prepped by 20th Century Fox? Freddie Prinze Jr. as Chief brody. Julia Stiles as Mrs. Brody. Jimmy Fallon with a glue on beard as Hooper. Chrisian Slater as Quint. Dustin Diamond as the oldest Brody boy. Directed by Tim Story.
June 21, 2007, 2:07 p.m. CST
And this movie will be 10x better than Live Free Or Die Hard
June 21, 2007, 2:15 p.m. CST
As someone who's liked a lot of girly-ass movies and other assorted nonsense, how could you think Finding Nemo was just okay?<p>That said, I can't WAIT to see this. I missed the goddamned sneak preview showings last week, and I'm still bitter. My ass is in a seat come the morning of the 29th.
June 21, 2007, 2:18 p.m. CST
by i pwn teh suk and i pwn it well
But there's something about the title that just sounds, well, evil. Anyone else get that vibe?
June 21, 2007, 2:19 p.m. CST
'cuz getting in the last word is always better.
June 21, 2007, 2:32 p.m. CST
AND in quality. Thats just silly.
June 21, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST
Harry likes to be on top. :)
June 21, 2007, 2:44 p.m. CST
...is dying to get a Neil Cumpston review of this film? Who cares if it's utterly biased because the star IS Neil Cumpston....I'd just love to see him take on something other than a jolly-good bloodbath flick from time to time. "I LAUGHED SO HARD, MY PANCREAS POPPED OUT...ATE SOME POPCORN...WENT DOWN ON MY DATE AND BITCH-SLAPPED SOME BROTHERS WHO WERE TALKING TOO LOUDLY..."
June 21, 2007, 2:45 p.m. CST
AICN have time to write reviews when they're all taking turns sucking Brad Bird's cock all the time? Not to mention Eli Roth.
June 21, 2007, 2:46 p.m. CST
by Osmosis Jones
...but I'm eager to see Ratatoulie anyways.
June 21, 2007, 2:47 p.m. CST
Hope the movie's better than the godawful Cars or the way below par Finding Nemo. I'm not holding my breath though.
June 21, 2007, 2:50 p.m. CST
If so, Watership Down rules all animated Rat movies.
June 21, 2007, 2:51 p.m. CST
Everytime I read an article about Brad Bird, or Eli Roth, on this site I keep hearing this slurping sound.
June 21, 2007, 2:53 p.m. CST
by Rowley Birkin QC
Massawyrm, your writing style borders on incomprehensible. I say that in the nicest way possible.
June 21, 2007, 2:55 p.m. CST
Also can't wait to see this one.
June 21, 2007, 2:56 p.m. CST
Wow another glowing review. Rotten Tomatoes scale is about to be rocked.
June 21, 2007, 3:11 p.m. CST
but wtf do i know. this looks good though cant wait to see it.
June 21, 2007, 3:18 p.m. CST
Don't diss Massawyrm, he's got years of classes on film critique under his belt. [/sarcasm]
June 21, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST
and the voice acting in that *still* blows me away. Justin and Jenner...damn. "Take what you can...when you can." "Then you have learned...NOTHING." and then of course Carradine's Great Owl is nigh untouchable.
June 21, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST
After the screening, I was worried people might misjudge it, but it's getting its due deservedly so. Count me as one who plans on seeing it a second time.
June 21, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST
by The Real MiraJeff
sounds like patton's a spade fan awesome cartoon massa cant wait to see ratatouille, got shut out of last saturday's screenings id still put toy story and its sequel over incredibles though, and maybe even monsters inc. i love that one
June 21, 2007, 3:29 p.m. CST
Does whatever a SpiderPig does. I love Homer.
June 21, 2007, 3:33 p.m. CST
by Colonel Activity
June 21, 2007, 3:34 p.m. CST
are wetting themselves over this one with all the foodie details. Might just be one of those great confluences of geekdom. Die Soft? Dies hard.
June 21, 2007, 3:37 p.m. CST
What about the Scarecrow?
June 21, 2007, 3:38 p.m. CST
That was THE BEST Simpsons trailer so far. Genuinely funny and cut like an action trailer too! Oh and Pixar rule, they've given me countless quiet hours from my three-year old.
June 21, 2007, 3:42 p.m. CST
(spins propeller hat)
June 21, 2007, 3:50 p.m. CST
by Ninja Nerd
Comparing these two guys is like comparing a hot fudge sundae to a pile of shit. If Bird's body of work doesn't tell you the enormous talent he has, then you need to die, today, and hope reincarnation is for real. Sorry for the mini-rant, but there's no way ANYONE (listening, lost.rules?) can compare these two. As for Pixar films, my "watch a zillion times" choice is The Incredibles. Cars, Nemo, and the Toy Storys aren't far behind. And while it was NOT a Pixar film, The Iron Giant is a brilliant film. As well as Vin Diesel's best acting effort. <BG> Bird rules. Roth just makes me retch.
June 21, 2007, 3:53 p.m. CST
READING CAN BE FUN! YEAH!
June 21, 2007, 4:08 p.m. CST
deserves all the internet fellatio we can give him. That man is an artist. Comedy? You know those excellent seasons of the Simpsons, Brad Brid was a supervisiong producer, plus look at all the great comedy in The Iron Giant (the capachino scene gets me every time) and the Incredibles...Coming of Age stories, look at The Iron Giant, The Incrediables...Able to punch the emotional buttons, again look at the Iron Giant...oh action...The Incrediables and The Iron Giant's flight...Comic Book movie, oh yeah Incrediables...emotional, realistic family scenes, the dinner scene in...The Incrediables and hogarth's inaction with his mother. And he is able to use name actors, some not even known for their voice work, and use them in incrediable ways, Craig T Nelson, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr, Jason Lee, Vin FREAKING Disel, I mean comeon...I swear to Morgan Freeman (btw thanks Massa for that I'm so using it now everywhere) that some of you are just looking for any reason to bitch, you can be happy about anything...Morgan Freeman's son.
June 21, 2007, 4:17 p.m. CST
I just can't stand this guys reviews. Whenever I log on and read the heading "Massawyrm reviews...[insert film here]", I just roll my eyes and mumble "eh christ, not again" under my breathe. I really have something personal against the pixels on my screen that make up the letters in his reviews......Those Jew-Bastard PIXELS!! Anyways, He's a tool.
June 21, 2007, 4:22 p.m. CST
That all of the glowing reviews here are coming from AICN'ers that were treated very well by the PIXAR/Disney people? And that every opening to each of these reviews thus far... is the AICN Geek Squad saying "You all suck... and I don't because I contribute to AICN and get special privileges that you losers don't." That's okay... don't bite the hand that feeds you. I don't need PIXAR rubbing my feet to tell me if a movie is good or bad. Oh... and THE INCREDIBLES is not a great film. IRON GIANT was great. THE INCREDIBLES was a snore fest.
June 21, 2007, 4:30 p.m. CST
Its set in paris, why is the young chef who gets pally with the rat speak like a yank? And the fucking rats have american accents and they like in france.
June 21, 2007, 4:33 p.m. CST
AGAIN BECUASE OF DIE HARD 4. THE CUNTS. FUCK THEM.
June 21, 2007, 4:38 p.m. CST
June 21, 2007, 5:06 p.m. CST
FUCK THIS SHIT. BRUCE WILLIS IS A CUNT. Why does this site get such a hard-on for films like this.They are designed for children. I mean I sae a fantastic film the other day called Other Peoples Lives which I paid to see.
June 21, 2007, 5:07 p.m. CST
Thats it. bruce willis is a cocksuckers.
June 21, 2007, 6:12 p.m. CST
You know it to be false.
June 21, 2007, 6:14 p.m. CST
It's number 1 again!!!
June 21, 2007, 6:22 p.m. CST
by barnaby jones
The only Pixar flick i've ever truely enjoyed is Toy Story, just inspired, classic animated fare.
June 21, 2007, 6:56 p.m. CST
B<P>F<P>D<P> Those lists are crap anyway.
June 21, 2007, 6:58 p.m. CST
Citizen Kane is the best!
June 21, 2007, 9:18 p.m. CST
www.voteforhaydn.net ....what a doll. Anyway I would ignore Ratouille if not for the Brad Bird connection. Incredibles is one of the best films from the past 10 years, so I may have to check out the rat.
June 21, 2007, 9:21 p.m. CST
by No time for Haters
I was beginning to think I was the ONLY person on the planet to think that Pixar movies are just enjoyable, and not these genius works of art like everyone else seems to believe. Everyone seems to come up with these deep allegories for all his films, and I just don't buy it. I mean the other day I was watching the Star Wars special on the History Channel, and they were making these huge, sweeping comparisons of how this symbolizes that, and this relates to that. How about the fact that George was just telling a fun story? Why does it have to be any deeper than that? Now, maybe Brad Bird has interviews where he states that his movies have deeper meaning, but I just figure the guy is just telling a fun story. So with that being said, on the strength of YOUR review, I probably will go check this out now. If a non-devout Pixar fan like you say it's good- i'm willing to give it a shot.
June 21, 2007, 9:44 p.m. CST
June 21, 2007, 9:57 p.m. CST
by Toxic Frog
Iron Giant, Incredibles both rock. I'm really looking forward to this one. You know I almost dismissed Iron Giant cause the trailers made it look like a typically stupid kid's movie. When I saw it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was an animated film that respects the viewer, rather than talking to the audience as if they're fucking idots (like almost every Disney movie). One of my favorites.
June 21, 2007, 10:41 p.m. CST
Sort of like a snapshot of the fanboy psyche, drawn against the clean white background of Ratatouille. It's a sweet movie from a brilliant director and a brilliant studio, which most of the talkbackers haven't seen, and can't be authoritative about. Cue the dismissals and the outright hostility. How very interesting.
June 22, 2007, 8:46 a.m. CST
The fact that even a small handful of people thought there was a possibility that AICN was paid of to like a PIXAR movie of all things is incredible. Its like a black hole of retarded. Seriously, who doesn't like Pixar movies? Even the people in this talkback (and guys like Massa) recognized that while they might not think Pixar are godlike beings, they make good movies. And the guy who said they were sucking Brad Bird's cock can die fourteen times. Who's got a better track record than him? Maybe when Bird's made some rat-ass movies that statement might have a leg to stand on.
June 22, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST
I was pissed to hear that Dr. Zhivago didn't get back on the list this year. My personal all time favorite film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind didn't make the list unfortunately.
June 22, 2007, 9:53 a.m. CST
by supercowbell 4 cant stop the cowbell
June 22, 2007, 10:49 a.m. CST
by Robots In Das Guys
Not as much as teh Bay's Transformers, but hey. And while I haven't seen all of Pixar's films (I'm not too interested in animated films, but that's been changing with time) I'd like to think The Incredibles is Pixar's best work. Of course I don't know for sure, but such is life.
June 23, 2007, 9:36 a.m. CST
There are a lot more names you could add to the list regarding slurping noises around here. Quentin Tarantino, Alfonso Cuaron, Steven Soderbergh, etc. etc.
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