Paul Cook 31/10/2007

Rating: 5/5

It's been over a decade since the birth of wholly CGI animation feature films and almost as if to celebrate this landmark in filmmaking the animation dynamite team of Disney-Pixar has created something truly worthy of this commemoration. 'Ratatouille' neither tries too hard to be as fantastic as it is, nor falls back on the security of the animation cash-cow. Comedy comes in small bursts, each and every time pleasurable to both the younger and the older viewer and sharp observations of everyday life are made in almost every scene, showcasing the firmly established talent of Brad Bird as an animation auteur.

Having already tripled its $150 million budget, Ratatouille's success lies in it's recognition of the fact that audiences no longer want to see a group of talking animals. Of course it has them just to be on the safe side, but like Toy Story did, Ratatouille blends real-life with fantasy and in doing so creates an intelligent, on-the-nose film appealing to every type of audience. Even at nearly two hours long, Ratatouille is neither too long nor too short and at times you become so wrapped up in the entertaining, endearing storyline you forget it is an animation. The intelligence of the Toy Story films is blended with the advances in animation from Monsters inc. producing a fantastical realism.

Ratatouille tells the story of Linguini, the heir to TV-chef-superstar Auguste Gusteau, rising to the ranks of head chef of the once infamous Gusteau's. However, 'Linguini' has no talent for cooking and orphaned, super-chef rat Remy aids him in his cooking. Along the way Linguini and Remy infuriate the evil, greedy sous-chef Skinner, who attempts to overthrow the heir and take the business for himself. The film is full of believably full-on characters and its energy and clever script come together to create an enthralling feature-length animation.

The film's strengths are in abundance and every aspect can be seen as the crème-de-la-crème of the animation world. The use of relative unknowns and abandonment of A-list voices give the film a very credible, real quality that allow you to become immersed in the film without ever reminding you it's all unreal. Without reservation Ratatouille will become a classic animation, equalling the likes of Toy Story and The Jungle Book and most likely setting a benchmark for all animations to come. Undoubtedly one of the best animations to grace the silver screen, Ratatouille is a much belated summer blockbuster, truly unmissable.