It’s not often I watch a movie and smile to be honest. I’ve seen so many movies it takes a very good one to move me at all. Having an interest in movie effects, I often find myself distracted by the effects work. Animated movies in particular, tho a lot of fun, often lack any real depth, the emotion is skin deep. And that’s coming from someone who loves animation. They’re fluff movies, you enjoy and forget. Luckily Pixar has raised the bar with each new movie they release. The storylines have depth – but the animation, although brilliant, has still left me missing the depth and detail of live action. It’s still brilliant fluff.
With ‘Ratatouille’ however, Pixar has taken animation to a level that is beautiful, emotive and stunning. Animation is the tool, not the show. Yes the opening sequence I was wondering what renderer they used and how they got the rich colours and soft beautiful depth to the scenes. I wondered at the amazing rigs they must have created to animate the fluid fast paced rats, the water, the light. I smiled right through the movie at the incredible level of creativity and imagination.
But there is more to Ratatouille than the visual excellence and execution. There is a multi-dimensional story handled with finesse. The facial animation is rich and detailed. The caricatures are great and that has been the strength of animation. But Ratatouille almost made me wish there was less exageration, that it was almost a distraction from the excellent acting. On a simple level, Ratatouille is an uplifting feel good movie that leaves you smiling and nostalgic. I laughed. I never laugh.
On a technical and creative level, Ratatouille is a landmark piece that breaks out of the ‘animated movie’ tag and uses the medium to tell a great story. It’s the first time I would consider the story has transcended the medium. Brilliant, well done Pixar.