Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 05 Jul 2007

Talk to me for more than a few minutes (or just glance at this blog) and you’ll find out that I know and enjoy food.

Talk to me for a little while longer (or go walking down any street with me) and you’ll find out that I like animals.

Get to know me a bit better and you’ll learn that I love ratties, have had three as pets and would still have them if I hadn’t developed a very unfortunate asthmatic allergy to many things small, cute and rodential.

So when I heard that Pixar was coming out with a movie about a rat that wants to be a gourmet chef you just know that I wasn’t going to miss it for the world. And you’d be right, as part of my mini-vacation involved going down the street to take in this movie.

I won’t have any spoilers, but don’t click to Read More if you don’t want to be at all tainted by someone else’s opinion of the movie…

Pixar has made some good movies. The Toy Stories were enjoyable. The Incredibles was a very good time. Other than that, I have to admit not much liking their feature-length work. Yes, they are brilliantly animated but the scripts aren’t interesting if you’re above the age of nine or so. My head can be turned by a pretty bit of animation as much as the next person but if there’s no substance about it then please refund my money and see what you can do about getting me back those ninety minutes of my life, would you?

Thus I was in two minds when I entered the theatre. On the one hand I was flinching inside, anticipating another insipid childish shiny toy of a movie. On the other hand I couldn’t wait to see the rat who cooks.

The Monday before the 4th of July, all the kids out of school, yet most of the audience was well above the age of 40. I actually felt young sitting there. Young and irresponsible since I was still getting over the fact that it was a weekday and I wasn’t at the office.

A throwback to halcyon days of movie-houses when before a flick they’d show you cartoons and newsreels instead of dreadful ads for Coca Cola and Twizzlers, all Pixar movies are preceded by an animated short. In years past these have been very interesting. Not quite so much this time, not to critical little ol’ me. There were a couple of amusing bits in there but for the most part it didn’t seem to live up to the standard of Pixar shorts of old.

The movie finally started and it took me a while to get into it. I did in time and it was all down hill from there for me.

As it turns out, one of the things which most drew me into the movie and which I keep mentioning in my reviews to people is the thing which most repulsed everyone else I know who’s seen it: the ratties move remarkably like real rats. It’s really incredible how well the animators were able to mimic the adorable little bouncing butt and balanced tail of a rat out for a jog across a counter top. Between that and the highly-detailed fur at times it was hard to believe that these weren’t real little ratties. The others I know who’ve seen the movie were completely creeped out by this accuracy. I thought it was adorable and it made me miss my rats Amanda, Machiavelli and Spenser terribly.

I won’t go into details about the plot or events which happen in the movie as I don’t wish to ruin anything for folks. Suffice it to say that by the end of the movie I was thoroughly entertained. The culinary details were more sparse than I would have liked (though there were plenty of visual clues) but I understand that these things would have bored most of the audience. Leaving these things out was the right choice. The “chase scene” was a lot of fun and I found myself gasping at the appropriate moments, proving that I’d let myself get into the movie enough to care about the characters. The sub-plot and ending had a very soap opera-ish feel to them, but this didn’t bother me too much while I was in the theatre. Mostly I just wanted the rattie to end well. I won’t tell you whether he does. You’ll have to go see it.

The bottom line is that I very much enjoyed this movie. People who do not like rats might not enjoy it nearly as much, but in my mind these are people who need to open up to the potential of ratties anyway and who are therefore the ones who ought most see it. I buy very few movies but this one might be a candidate for purchase for me.