Saturday, February 16, 2008

Year Of The Rat

Finally had a chance to watch "Ratatouille"--
viewed the first half on Blu-Ray at my brother
and sister-in-law's, and the second half on
Standard Definition DVD at home. On BD,
you can see a tiny Maynard Krebbs-ish
stubble on Linguini's chin, and also minute
details such as uneven matting of rat fur
and complex reflections in sloshing water.

It contains some ambitious animation, and
some interesting twists and turns. There
are also some "old school" humor sections,
relying on vaudeville-type slapstick,
versus the brain melting content of programs
on the Disney Channel (Why does every line
seem like it's shouted on those TV shows?
What's with the mugging, the guffawing?
It's like "Hee Haw" with more obliviousness
and less banjos. If Clark Kent just changed
his hair color to become Superman, I'm sure
Lois Lane would have caught on faster than
a concert could sell out of tickets).

Some lessons:
*"Anyone can cook!"
Always wash your hands (or paws) before
preparing food (this probably would have
helped during The Black Plague)
*Not all food comes from behind a counter
wrapped in festive packaging, in various
*Your hair follicles are linked to your
motor skills--maybe not
*For some reason the US cut The Dixie Chicks
slack for hating on Bush and the war.
How about some warmed-up leftover love for
the French? The movie avoids jokes about
mimes and body odor, which is refreshing.

I still enjoy Brad Bird's "The Incredibles"
more, but "Ratatouille" definitely deserves
the Academy Award this year.

I remember seeing a Disney animated short
called "Ben and Me" (1953) when I was a kid.
It involved a mouse's influence on Benjamin
Franklin during some of history's most
momentous events (and it sat under his hat!).
I don't think I read any national reviews for
"Ratatouille" that cited this appetizer to
the main course.

Look for a hilarious short on the DVD
that defends rats--including why the
Bubonic Plague was not all their fault!

Some other famous Rats:
Mozart, Winston Churchill, George Washington,
Truman Capote


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