Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Critiquing the Critics: Doesn't ANYONE hate Ratatouille?

Okay, okay! So I liked it. All Pixar movies are great. I can't fight it. On the other hand, there's murmurs that The Princess and The Frog are going to go Antitrust on Pixar's Oscar monopoly this year! It remains to be seen. I'll go down with the ship of my picks. Besides, I'll bet Up looked better in 3-D!
Anyway, it's been a while since I saw the Rat movie, and I must say I still don't buy it. A rat that can cook. But the film does as good a job as can be done of bringing that premise to life, with enough visceral thrills in between to compensate. I'm telling you, we're living in the Golden Age of Movie Plotting! The screenwriters themselves have become studio chiefs in and of themselves. Master chess players that can see ten, twelve moves ahead, strictly controlling the information that gets leaked to the audience over the course of eight reels. And surely, the IMDb has noticed that Auguste and Gusteau are anagrams of each other? Worse yet, you shift the letters of Auguste to the left twice with wrap-around, and you GET Gusteau! Check this out...
Oh, I think I just got my geek on, as they say. And I think it's past my bedtime. As for the acting, well, Janeane Garofalo was simply marvelous. I wish I didn't know in advance that it was her so I could be extra impressed afterwards. The schlub who gets used by Ratatouille like a giant meat puppet, well, he did his schlubby best, I suppose. And Ian Holm was pretty great as the bad guy. See also Big Night where he plays a similar role, only more British, if I recall correctly. And I coulda sworn that was Donald Sutherland as Anton Ego, the restaurant critic, but no! It was, in fact, Peter O'Toole ... doing a Donald Sutherland impression.
Yup, Brad Bird's got that magic touch. Two Oscars in a row, if you count 2004 and 2007 as being in a row. Only in Hollywood, baby! And I like to think that his tenure at The Simpsons had something to do with it, but no, it was probably his work with Spielberg in the late 80s that is the culprit. But that magic seems to have 1906 on hiatus for a while... My vocabulary escapes me at this late hour. What do they call it? On the back burner? In development? Re-writes? You get the idea. Oh, but there I go again, just getting negative all over everything. Speaking of which, didn't the water look a little too metallic to you folks at that one point where the rats are sailing away? At the beginning of the movie? I tell you, a $150 million budget doesn't go very far these days. Well, hopefully, the technology will eventually get better and cheaper as the years go on. Pixar uses Macs, right?

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

p.s. Okay, finally posted the image... damn! I was even wrong about the water.

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