Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Brad Garrett, Peter O'Toole, Brian Dennehy
For just over a decade, Pixar has been a pioneering force in big screen animated features. The studio's focus on real human emotion and sharp storytelling has helped it become the computer generated successor to Walt Disney Animation, which had been the Capo of the cartoon world for the better part of a century. And in 2007, the studio put out one of its finest pieces of work: Ratatouille. Focusing on an anthropomorphic rat who dreams of being a great chef, this movie is the perfect example of how the studio can find success with almost any set of characters or genre.
The story itself is a study on fulfilling dreams and becoming something more than what others think you can be. These are universal feelings and Pixar taps into them beautifully, while also keeping an eye on pure entertainment. A movie is truly a success only when it can be viewed on multiple levels, and Ratatouille proves that an animated flick can do just that. For instance, anyone who writes criticism for a living should find the final monologue from Peter O'Toole so moving, it's not even fair. —JS