Travel, Etc. --> Ratatouille
A movie review from The Wine Guy and Linda
You may have already read all of the reviews of the new Pixar movie, Ratatouille. Okay…it’s an animated movie about a rat that wants to be a chef, which is kind of hard to take seriously initially, until the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal write rave reviews about it. On June 13, in the food section of the Wednesday Times there was an article featuring Chef Thomas Keller of the French Laundry who was an advisor on the movie, that even included his recipe for the ratatouille served in the movie. If you enjoy cooking, and if food and wine are a passion, this is a “must see” movie! This is an animated film that takes the cooking seriously, and while kids will enjoy the action, it is for really for adults.
The hero is Remy, a young rat with a great nose and passion for food. His intense deliberation of aromas and flavors reminded us of reviewing wine. His passion lands him in Paris where he is led by the spirit of the famous deceased Chef August Gusteau (depicted as a rotund, but helpful ghost) to his restaurant, now in decline. Remy, through an ingenious and hilarious relationship with the new garbage boy, aptly named Linguine, manages to restore the restaurant’s reputation.
One of the best characters of the movie is the dour restaurant reviewer, Anton Ego, arrogantly voiced by Peter O’Toole. His soliloquy, a review toward the end of the movie, is both poignant and revealing as he embraces Chef Gusteau’s motto, “anyone can cook.” Like most Disney movies, this is a morality play…with Remy torn between family “obligations” and his ambitions, and the overall need to be honest, which is apparently difficult whether you are a rat or a human.
Without giving away the story, this film is really about the details of cooking and the reality of the environment in the kitchen of a fine restaurant. No detail is spared, from the role of the sous chefs to the mastery of chopping. The detail is incredible…from the lighting of the Paris background, the creases in aprons, the scratches in the copper pots to the glistening wet rat fur. Needless to say, Linguine gets the girl, a prickly feminist chef, and Remy gets to cook. However, getting from point A to point B is a hilarious culinary adventure that is not to be missed. Go see the movie!
July 11, 2007