11:08 pm, Friday, June 29th, 2007

I went to the 6:20 PM showing of Ratatouille this evening. I had pretty low expectations going in; all the previews made it look kind of schlocky. (“What’s that you’re eating?” “I don’t really know, exactly…” — tired dialogue they repeated in almost every TV spot.) I noticed that at least one preview clip wasn’t even in the movie — the bit where the brown rat is saying something about how “if you can muscle your way through the gag reflex, it’s really not that bad” or something along those lines. I’ve seen them do that with other 3D-animated movies; must be some kind of signature for the studio.

Anyway, despite my doubts I pressed on because the film had three things I like: Cooking, Patton Oswalt, and Pixar. But I was braced for disappointment — I kept waiting for that moment where they’d cave to Disney doctrine and shove in some insipid, half-baked jokes designed to appeal to the 8-14 demographic. Or an annoying character voiced by Larry the Cable Guy. But the letdown never came. In fact, I walked out of the theater as gung-ho about this movie as I was about Grindhouse. It’s very, very nearly as good as The Incredibles.

Maybe the main thing I dreaded was that they’d wedge in some lame morals about eating right, obesity, gender roles, or some dumb thing… But they stayed away from all of that. Really, the messages are pretty progressive and, with the exception of a minor “stealing is wrong” theme, subtle. There’s some really profound stuff about criticism towards the end — must have given the reviewers pause since it had a quaint meta tenor to it.

I’m still amazed at how mature the movie was. It really never dumbed itself down for kids. I think that made it a little boring for some of them, but kudos to Pixar for making something that doesn’t cater to such a, let’s face it, philistine group. All in all, a really wonderful film. I might even see it again if I can get Brett to go.

My Ratatouille movie ticket

BTW, have you seen this “soap” mouse device? What a great idea: A wireless mouse that doesn’t require a flat surface and doesn’t wear out your arm like those gyroscopic/inertial mice.

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