“Ratatouille” is delicious.  There, I said it.

Disney and Pixar’s latest film isn’t just good fun for the whole family; it’s an absolute triumph.

Written and directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles), “Ratatouille” is the charming story of two outcasts (one a rat, one a man) who dare to
dream for something more; becoming a chef in Paris.

With lovable characters, a great sense of humor, and even some dizzyingly brilliant action sequences, “Ratatouille” excels at just about
everything it sets out to do.

Despite two main characters with their own unique storylines, Bird does a fantastic job of balancing drama with comedy and action.  

Pixar films have always been praised for their ability to keep things simple and “Ratatouille” is no different.  Where many animated films
would have broken off into unnecessary action sequences or over-the-top toilet humor (I’m looking at you, Dreamworks!), Bird keeps the
focus on our two main characters to the very end.

The entire cast of voice actors is uniformly strong with excellent performances by the two main characters (Patton Oswalt and Lou Romano),
a surprisingly convincing Janeane Garofalo (as a French chef), and a scenery chewing Peter O’Toole as the evil food critic.

“Ratatouille” really is a classic underdog story with two people (well, one is a rat, but you get the idea) becoming more than they could ever
be individually by working together.

The film gracefully builds to a climax that is a wonder of fantastic animation (rats in the kitchen have never been so cute) and even packs a
couple poignant monologues.

Bird’s fluid direction and pacing set “Ratatouille” heads and tails (pun fully intended) above most films, not to mention his brilliant script.  
He does a great job of capturing that Paris atmosphere, even though he gives into the cliché of the Eiffel Tower being visible out of every
window and in the background of just about every exterior shot.

Michael Giacchino’s score is also excellent, exhibiting the same perfect blend of charm and excitement the rest of the film does.

“Ratatouille” is just as good as Bird’s “The Incredibles,” and easily earns a spot among the best films Pixar has released.  It’s a wonderful
melding of modern and classical styles, and I’ll certainly be going back for a second helping.

* * * *
(out of four)
RATATOUILLE

Directed by: Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava

Written by: Brad Bird & Jim Capobianco

Starring: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian
Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett,
Janeane Garafalo, Will Arnett

Music by: Michael Giacchino

Released: June 29, 2007; 111 Minutes