Ratatouille: Phooey

I haven’t mentioned movies lately, but I am compelled to put something on the record. I don’t care how cute the story, how brilliant the animation: an attic full of rats? No. A kitchen full of rats?

No. No. No.

Who can suspend disbelief watching a river of rats flowing out of a house? My skin crawled, my stomach turned, my physical being rebelled. I was rooting for the old lady with the shotgun. I managed to listen to the whole thing, but I rarely looked up from the sewing in my lap.

For the record: I have nothing against individual rats. The Girlchild has a friend who has a pet rat, a very intelligent little creature I have held in my hand. A very clean, calm, rodent. A single rat without five hundred if its nearest and dearest nearby.

But a rat jumping into a vat of soup in the process of seasoning it? Animated or not:

No no no no no no.

Of course the rest of the chefs walked out when they found out what was going on. I imagine my father sharing a work station with a couple rats. Or rather, I try to imagine this, but it just won’t solidify in my mind’s eye.

So that’s that. My review of Ratatouille. Call me a philistine, call me boring, call me anything you like, but I prefer my food without rodents.

[asa book]0380730359[/asa] While I’m at it, a quick review of Gone, Baby, Gone, the film version of Dennis Lehane’s novel. I have mentioned his series of novels about two private detectives in working class Boston, because I really like them. Gone, Baby, Gone is my favorite of the series, though it is very, very dark. In fact, anyone who is prone to bad dreams probably shouldn’t read the book or see the movie. The subject is kidnapping and pedophilia, and now you’re wondering why in the hell I could like such a story.

[asa book]B0010ZR160[/asa] Coupla reasons. Lehane writes about a working class neighborhood a lot like the Chicago neighborhoods I grew up in, and he captures the atmosphere and the mindset perfectly. He can tell a story and his characters are interesting and complex and often surprising. But mostly I’d have to say I admire this novel because it’s terrifically hard to address the topics raised. Lehane pulls it off with finesse. Which for me means, the horror of the subject is not trivialized nor is it used to titilate. It’s a thoughtful look at a terrible situation, well done.

Bottom line: I liked the movie, but I think that I wouldn’t have liked it if I didn’t know the novel so well. The careful layering that carries the novel along is missing from the movie. It’s just not possible to get those kind of nuances into film. So I recommend the novel, if you are interested in a well told story, and then, if you are curious, the movie.

5 Replies to “Ratatouille: Phooey”

  1. What a coincidence, last Friday while talking to my friend she told me “Robyn do not watch Ratatouille” (not that I would have, knowing the subject). I have a phobia of all rodents, I wouldn’t hold a friendly rat no matter how smart and sweet he was. I play Charlotte’s Web on the Nintendo DS and there are rats in the game and every time I hear their tale snap a part of me dies. I can go on but I think you get the picture.

    So thanks for the confirmation that I should not see this movie. Especially the part where you describe

    Who can suspend disbelief watching a river of rats flowing out of a house?

    Ugh! There goes my appetite!

  2. FINALLY! Someone who agrees with me. I was so disgusted with that movie. All those rats falling out of the attic and cooking….GROSS! Some co-workers of mine took their kids to see it and they thought it was such a cute movie. All the hairs on my arms ad neck went up at the sight. I can deal with one or two or when they look like Mickey Mouse or Jerry mouse but not realistic looking rats by the hundreds.

  3. Slightly off-topic but…a year or so ago, for our 25th anniversary, my husband asked me what I wanted and I said, “a chinchilla”. Little did he know (actually he did because I don’t wear fur) that I meant one with four legs and a cute little face and long whiskers. Anyway, it was actually for my daughter (who’d had hamsters up to this point) but it coincided with the anniversary and it’s fun saying, “I got a chinchilla for my anniversary…his name is Wicket”. Sorry…not a rat story but, at least, still in the rodent category.

  4. November 13, 2007
    I just watched Ratatouille the other night also and for the most part enjoyed it although I was appalled by the number of rats in the kitchen when they came running out and wondered if they couldn’t have somehow downsized that but I took it as entertainment. Have read the book, Gone, Baby, Gone, and enjoyed it immensely and am anxious to see the movie…..99% of the time I prefer to read the book before I watch a movie that is based on the book because the movie doesn’t always come out the same as the book and that is irritating to me. Just finished reading the book Heart Sick by Chelsea Caine and loved it, while it was very dark in parts, it really kept me glued to the book. I hope others will try it also. Thank you for the chance. I got my copy of Pajama Girls reserved and that is the way I get most of my books anymore as I am not able to get out more than just a few times a year to go shopping but have gotten some good bargains off the internet.

    Carol Vaughn

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