This week I had some free time so I went to my DVD collection. I realized that my fingers lingered over the animation section. Animated movies have always been a sure-fire way to de-stress and have fun. I have seen and loved all kinds of animations; traditional full animation (The Lion King, Aladdin), the slightly disorienting Rotoscoping (Waking Life), uncanny puppet animation (Coraline), almost childish claymation (Anomalisa), Cel-shaded animation (Akira), realistic Motion Capture( The Adventures of Tintin) and achingly beautiful anime (Grave of the Fireflies). But in the complete domination of the computer generated animation of the last 20 years, a fan of the artistic style of Miyazaki’s work is quite unimpressed because despite the almost real animation, they barely make any real impression.
Pixar has been an exceptional studio bringing amazing movies that just happen to be animated. And that differentiates them from the rest. To a certain extent DreamWorks has also worked well and Disney remains strong in the field that it made, but Pixar is just impeccable. So, Pixar is great but which is the best Pixar movie of them all. Everybody has their own favorites and they do keep changing as you re-watch some movies and as you grow up. A similar thing happened to me recently.
I picked up, from my DVD’s Ratatouille. I hadn’t seen it in a while so I put it in my laptop and sat to watch. For the longest time, actually ever since its release, ‘Wall E’ has been my favorite animated movie not just from Pixar but in general. And after watching ‘Ratatouille’, that had changed. I watched the movie again to make sure it wasn’t something I felt in the heat of the moment. And even 4 days from then, I stand by it.
‘Ratatouille’ is the story of a rat that has a hidden talent that may not change the entire world but it can rock somebody’s world to the core. To put it in plain terms, the rat cooks. That is quite cool and super-cute for a 10 year old to see but as an adult, the movie’s on-the-nose symbolism is underlined by its more subtle details. The best way to analyze the movie is to separate the characters.
Let’s start with the focus of the movie. No.. it’s not Remy the rat or Linguini but Anton Ego. Despite his limited screen-time, Anton Ego is what drives the film. He is Death incarnate and frankly scary-as-hole-hell for the 10 year-old I was when the movie came out. The man spends his time in his coffin-shaped room in front of a skull shaped typewriter writing reviews that kill restaurants.