Saturday, November 17, 2007

Disney Pixar Films! Assignment: # 5

Recently, I sat down with a few of my friends and watched Disney Pixar's latest film, Ratatouille. This film follows the life of Remy the rat. Remy has been granted a special gift from the rat gods and not only has an affinity for good food amongst the garbage his rat friends consume, but Remy has a distinct sense of smell. Because of this sense of smell, his father, who is the leader of the rat clan, makes Remy the official trash sniffer after Remy undoubtedly discovers poison in some of the garbage. Sensing there is more to life than sifting through trash, Remy goes on a search through an old lady's home for delectable garnishes to spice up a piece of cheese he found. What ensues is complete chaos and the rat clan are forced to abandon their home, while Remy gets lost in the process. When Remy emerges from the sewer he is in, he finds himself in the city of love and lights: Paris.

Mike Farrar, a 23 year old graduate student at the University of New Hampshire loved this film and thought that the animators did a great job. "Pixar really pulled out all the stops for this film. The backgrounds looked almost real, from bottles of spices to the Eiffel Tower."

As he saunters throughout Paris, he stumbles upon Gusteau's restaurant, a once famous dining establishment that has gone down the hill when the evil new owner, Skinner, decided to unveil Gusteau's Frozen burritos, instead of sticking to the books. Here Remy is introduced to Linguine, the protagonist main human character of Ratatouille. Linguini's mother has just passed away and he needs work. Skinner offers him a position in the kitchen and through a clumsy move, Linguine ruins a soup being prepared for guests that night. Remy spiesLinguine attempting to make amens, but seeing that he clearly does not know how to cook, he helps him out before Linguine catches him. The guests love the soup and of course, Linguine has to take all of the credit. Skinner forces him to prepare the soup again the next day, but Linguine can only do it with the help of his "little chef" and therefore, a story and friendship are born.

"Both characters were searching for the purpose in the world. Remy could not figure out if he was meant to be a rat or chef while Linguine could not find a job that he could hold down. These problems within, would remain the primary pushing force of our characters, even through the introduction of minor villains such as Skinner, Anton, and even Django," said Mike. "Because even after the culmination of all our "villains" being defeated, the main victory was not pleasing Anton or finding approval from Django, it was figuring out who they were."

The film, obviously made for children, had very underlying adult themes. Remy was clearly an outsider, just trying to make a living and a name for himself with his talent. However, wherever he turned, he only encountered negative attitudes, from both his family and humans. His family thought his dreams were not reachable and of course the humans were prejudice against him due to his vermin qualities. These themes of struggling to become who are meant to be are apparent in all aspects of film, novel and television.

As a pixar movie in general, the film was very well made. According to Alysha Blassberg, a 22 year old Boston College graduate and now a full time employee at Liberty Mutual, said she liked the film a lot but only found it so-so compared to the other Pixar films. "I would put it in the middle of the pack compared to other Pixar movies. I really liked it but I liked Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo more than Ratatouille. Though I thought it was mediocre for a Pixar movie, I think all of the Pixar movies are better than most other movies. My favorite Pixar movie is still Toy Story. I think Toy Story is glorified in my mind because it was the first Pixar movie I saw and none of the others can top that experience."

Lauren Underhill, a 22 year old Northeastern University graduate agreed with Alysha. "It wasn't my favorite, but still held the same great elements of previous Pixar films. They are able to create a child's movie that is sought out and enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Perhaps, the subtle adult elements allow us to enjoy it by allowing us to be kids again without any second thoughts. "

Stacey Perlman, a senior journalism major at Northeastern University said she liked Ratatouille just as much as the other Pixar movies. "I have enjoyed a variety of Pixar movies and I don't think that Ratatouille was any better or worse than the others," said she. "They have all been entertaining but the one I think I enjoyed the most was Finding Nemo. I remember finding it hysterical and thinking it was a very cute story."

Mike, somewhat disagrees on his favorite Pixar film. "Pixar definitely delivered their most visually appealing movie. It is hard to say that new film is better than classics such as, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc, but Ratatouille has definitely made me question which would be listed as my favorite. Among several more viewing of this and other classic Pixar films, I would not be surprised if Ratatouille had moved to the top of an elite list."

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