There is lot to love when it comes to being a parent, especially when I can go back and revisit a ton of old movies, whether it be something from my childhood like The Goonies or Rookie of the Year (“Funky Butt Lovin’” still hits) or, as in the case of a recent family movie night, Ratatouille.
Released 15 years ago this past summer, the Pixar movie starring Patton Oswalt as Remy, a culinary-obsessed rat living and working in one of the former highlights of the Parisian food scene, was never one of my favorite releases from the studio, but still one that I still saw in the theater. However, I had a new appreciation for the movie after booting up my Disney+ subscription one night so my kids could watch “that funny rat movie."
After the credits rolled and my wife and I prepared the kids for bed, I had some thoughts about the movie. But instead of letting them slowly fade away like the hours of one of those sleepless nights, I thought I should probably write them down…
The Scene Of Remy Combining The Strawberry And Cheese Is So Dang Transfixing
For the most part, Pixar movies look the same, with that iconic semi-realistic style that is technically impressive but kind of safe and overdone. The studio has made some changes as of late with with titles like Luca, which felt like a Studio Ghibli movie at times, and Turning Red, which sometimes felt like an anime. But, more than a decade before both of those movies made waves for unique spins on Pixar style, Ratatouille briefly broke new ground with the transfixing “strawberry and cheese” scene.
The way the lines of color bend, spin, contort, and combine into what looks like a firework display at Disney World is something magical and exquisitely captures the feeling that overcomes your tastebuds and emotions when you find that perfect food combination. Gets me every single time.
There Are Few Movies That Make Me Want To Cook As Much As Ratatouille
Here’s the thing… I love to cook. I always have and always will until I’m either dead or can no longer understand the concept of food. My dad is a great cook (my mom gave up after spending years cooking for three ungrateful boys), my grandmas were both wizzes in the kitchen when they were still among the living, and I’m sure it goes back generations on both sides of my family. When I’m down, I like to take an old dish, tinker with it, and just have fun. But sometimes, just sometimes, I lose my desire to cook.
I was recently in one of those funks and was just kind of going through the daily grind like the baker in the famous Dunkin’ Donuts ad, but after watching Remy construct what has to be the most appetizing animated food since the steaks in the old Tom and Jerry cartoons, I was given new life. Combing spices, vegetables, and culinary principles, I was a new man and ready to cook up whatever life put on my cutting board.
My Kids Have Started To Show An Interest In Cooking Since Watching The Movie
Until recently, my kids showed an interest in cooking only when I was making macaroni and cheese or baking a pizza. When it came to cooking (and eating anything besides the aforementioned foods), they wanted nothing to do with it. But after watching Ratatouille, all three are eager to lend a hand in the kitchen. Was the secret to having your kids help you cook dinner hidden away in a 15-year-old Pixar movie like some sacred text in an eons-old tomb? Regardless, I’m happy for a myriad of reasons.
My older daughter likes to help with the pastries and desserts, my son enjoys sautéing vegetables, and my younger daughter can stir a pot of potato soup like it’s nobody’s business. In time, I will have quite a culinary force in the home kitchen, and maybe, just maybe, I can convince them to dice shallots the next time I make coq au vin.
The Morose Imagery In Anton Ego’s Office Is So Over-The-Top
Ratatouille is full of great and memorable characters, but the most over-the-top and sensational has to be the snobby food critic Anton Ego. Voiced by the late Peter O’Toole, the character comes off like death-incarnate with his grim reaper-like appearance, fixation on ruining Auguste Gusteau’s reputation and life, and general place in society. It gets even better when we catch a glimpse of his office partway through the movie.
For starters, Anton’s office is literally shaped like a coffin. But that isn’t all, as the framed picture above his writing desk is also coffin-shaped. His typewriter? Well, it looks like a skull. The entire decorative philosophy of the room is death, and looks like a combination of an old Victorian-era funeral parlor and Dracula’s mansion with all the black, crimson, and gold accents on the floors, walls, and furniture.
Anton Ego Being Transported Back To His Childhood Is One Of My Favorite Pixar Moments
In addition to being representative of death throughout much of the movie, Anton Ego later becomes a symbol of rebirth upon tasting Remy’s Ratatouille in the film’s final act. This scene is undoubtedly one of the most emotional Pixar moments and provides for a great deal of feeling. There is just something so beautiful about watching the grim, emotionless, and downtrodden character be transformed back into a little boy looking for comfort from his mom after falling on his bike and scraping his knee.
The man becomes a boy once more by revisiting one of his core memories, which in turn allows him to see the beauty and emotion in a seemingly ordinary dish. I’m sure all of us have had similar experiences upon rediscovering a favorite meal from childhood. I know I have. It’s just a shame director Brad Bird shot down that amazing fan theory about the scene.
But Let’s Be Real…A Rat In The Kitchen Is A Great Way To Bring Back The Plague
Ratatouille is a great movie with a fun concept and even better execution, but after reading a lot about the various instances of the Black Plague, watching countless documentaries and movies, and playing video games that showcase plague-infected rodents, the idea of having rats in the middle of a working kitchen sounds like a great way to bring back all kinds of disease and death.
I know, I know! It’s a Pixar movie with a rat that can control a hapless cook and turn him into a world-renowned chef by pulling his hair. But, after living through a pandemic the past few years, maybe Jonah Skinner wasn’t all that wrong for trying to get the restaurant shut down after being fired.
All in all, I had a great time watching Ratatouille, especially with my kids. They enjoyed it and now like to help out in the kitchen, which is one step closer to having them mow the yard and clean the gutters. Only if there was a movie about that. I guess I’ll just have to go through the best Disney+ movies and see if there’s anything that can help out.
Stream Ratatouille on Disney+. (opens in new tab)
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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