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Ratatouille 

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: G

Running Time: 111 minutes

Starring the voices of: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo

Screenplay by: Brad Bird
Original Story by: Jan Pinkava, Jim Capoblanco, Brad Bird

Directed by: Brad Bird

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Fine Food & Film, Deleted Scenes, "Your Friend The Rat" Short, "Lifted" Short

Specs: 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Scene Selection (31 Scenes)

Released: November 6th, 2007

 

 

"Ratatouille" is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, and boy, what a scrumptious transfer this is. There's so much to take in here: be it the gorgeous computer generated cityscapes of Paris, or the reds of Gustaeu's restaurant. Detail is very fine and quite eqsqusite (just look at the hair on those rodents), and color saturation is bold and full: everything here truly pops right at you. If there's a downside or two though, it is that there is very slight edge enhancement on the transfer, and there is some noise and edge halos (contrast seems to be up too much in some scenes). Despite those little flaws though, this is a pristine and sparkling image.

 

"Ratatouille" is given the Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment, and this is a glorious sound mix. Fidelity is high, subwoofer use is quite good and dynamic range is boisterious. All of the sound elements are filled with texture, and thankfully, don't overpower one another. Dialogue is crystal clear and always easy to hear, and Michael Giacchino's lovely and dreamy score is brought to full life through all the channels - so much so that it can be a bit intoxicating. Surround sounds, as you'd imagine, are plentiful and very discrete. There's a smorgasbord of moments that will show off your home theater well: the cooking in Gustaeu's kitchen, heavy rainfall, rats scurrying around and a fantastic chase involving man and rodent on the streets of Paris. Even the smaller sound effects, like doors swinging open and pans rattling make a mighty large impression. This is a fantastic 5.1 track that really does justice to the material. (But come on, would you expect anything less from Pixar?)

An English Dolby Surround track is also included, as well as English subtitles.

 

Fine Food and Film is a great 14 minute featurette that compares and contrasts the creative processes of "Ratatouille"'s brilliant director, Brad Bird and world renowned chef Thomas Keller. Filmmakers and chef are two different kinds of artists, but you might be surprised how much they have in common. Bird gives a lot of insight about his storytelling instincts, and we learn about Keller's artistry and background. I think the older viewers of "Ratatouille" will enjoy this more than the younger ones, but no matter - this is an exceptional look at two different men and their hard work, and it was a very smart idea to link both of them.

Three Deleted Scenes are also on the disc, complete with thoughts from Mr. Bird (plus a few words from producer Brad Lewis and Jim Capobianco, who worked on the film's story, for the scene "First Day"). The material in total lasts about 15 minutes, and are mainly presented as animatics. The filmmakers give very direct thoughts about why these scenes got the ax, but are still definitely of interest, particuarly to see how key components of the story were streamlined.

Finally, what kind of Pixar DVD would this be without a short? We get not one, but two Shorts: the hilarious "Lifted," written and directed by sound impersario Gary Rydstrom (shown in theaters before "Ratatouille); and made just for this DVD release, Your Friend the Rat (written and directed by Jim Capobianco). The latter short is quite interesting, in that it's mainly a 2-D throwback to educational films of yesteryear. It's an amusing (and educational!) history of rats, hosted by Remy and Emile. Adults should enjoy the references that'll go over the heads of the wee ones, while those very same wee ones should find it rather cute. Both shorts are in anamorphic widescreen, and Dolby Digital 5.1.

 

"Ratatouille" has my vote as one of the best films of 2007, and certainly lives up to the high bar of every other Pixar film (and in my opinion, just might be the studio's most mature film to date). The film looks and sounds spectacular on DVD, and while the extras are a bit sparse, they do complement the film nicely. This is a must own for any library, so bon appetit!