Two hours later, I left the theater mildly amused, but utterly *stumped* at the adulation heaped upon it. Have our critical faculties suffered so much? The first thing Stacy said as we were leaving was, “Well, that was about 30 minutes too long.” There was so much needless plot, and really, needless TALKING. My main issue with the film is the heavy-handedness of the themes… It’s not enough that characters embody the themes in their behavior… every single thematic point is given it’s 15 minutes in the dialogue, so that we have characters telling us about following their passions, being torn between family, friends, and ideals, that anyone can succeed if they have verve, that we should love one another for who they are, not who we want them to be, etc. etc. There’s even a somewhat bizarre monologue on the nature of criticism, which vaunts critics who defend the new, though, really, there is nothing whatsoever new about Ratatouille — you couldn’t find a film packed with hoarier cliches.
Now, I don’t mind formulas and cliches — they’re what makes Hollywood go ’round. But they ought to be handled with a defter touch.
Now, all that said, I’d probably give this movie a 3 out of 5 stars… I basically enjoyed it, and there are some amazing scenes and set pieces. When the mechanics of the film are really clicking, it’s quite thrilling. Also, and I hate saying this because I hate dwelling on a films technical traits, but the quality with which rat behavior (movement, flow) was captured was startling.
Anyway, it’s a perfectly decent film, but in no way warrants the obsequious passion it’s fostered. Finding Nemo is still my favorite Pixar film, still the best intersection of action, adventure, humor, and, most importantly, heart (the last being a quality Ratatouille pretty much lacks.). Which is why I’m very much looking forward to next summers Wall-E, written and directed by Andrew Stanton, the major creative force behind Nemo.