Ratatouille

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Michel Gagne
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Post by Michel Gagne » Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:45 pm

Thanks Enrico, were you at the wrap party? What did you do in the film?

Hey Kazu - It's interesting to see how people can have a different reaction to the same work of art. To me Ratatouille is my favorite Pixar movie.

But then again, I'm certainly no movie critic. I like Star Wars episode 2 and 3 better than 5 and 6. Starcrash is one of my all time favorite movie. What do I know?

Good thread MG! :wink:
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Post by squirpy » Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:49 pm

I know I mostly just lurk around these forums checking stuff out, so maybe I shouldn't really get into this. But I was so surprised at that reading of the film. I really saw it as this guy who has a passion and wants the chance to pursue it. He accidently gets separated from his family - he doesn't leave them. And once he's on his own, he makes the best of the situation and finds a way to pursue his art. I don't feel like he's taking away from Linguini because Linguini doesn't want to be a chef - he just needs the job. So, I feel like the message of "anyone can cook" still stands - anyone who wants to can create art, but it's hardly fair to judge Remy for using Linguini as a puppet when Linguini actually had no interest in the artistry. Remy also never does anything to harm his family - it's seemed more like the kid who wants to be an artist and is trying to explain it to his family who beleives in working "real" jobs. As for pandering to the critics - Remy doesn't. He makes a peasant dish which no one thinks will succeed because he feels that it is the strongest dish he could make. I don't think it's pandering to admit that sometimes you need something to go well. He didn't go with a fancy dish to try to impress the critic, but of course he was nervous about it.

It's amazing how differently people can respond to the same thing, isn't it? :)

And Michel Gagne - I'm an animation student and I love your stuff - I sort of thought those parts were in your style, but totally didn't make the connection. They were great!
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Post by blackunicorn » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:53 pm

This is one of the only forums I can think of where you can have a civilized discussion about something with such vastly different opinions and keep it civilized :)

Kazu Said:
What's wrong with mere survival? There are plenty of people in America working their asses off just to survive. Serving these people this kind of message as a respite from their toils presents a severe lack of empathy with the people who support the artists' work.
I can understand that, but I think that if the resources to reach beyond survival are set before most people, they'll take 'em. In this case I'm talking about Remy's highly developed sense of smell and taste. Sure he could just be poison checker, but if he cooked for his family from fresh ingredients (which is what his ambition was before he got separated and found the restaurant) they wouldn't need to worry about poison at all, plus they get the added bonus of eating quality food instead of garbage.

Dave Said:
I got the sense that part of the message was that both your family and your passion are important…and ideally you can find a place for both or mix them together like flavors of food.
I got that sense, too.

And I also think that the quest for your true self- that mix of your roots and your unique passion, sometimes that quest has to include a selfish act or two. I'm not sure that reading of the movie would have gelled for me without this thread. And I'm dead sure it's not a universal- I can totally respect your position, Kazu, but I know that my opinion is at least partially informed by a worldview that values my own journey over my family's expectations for me.

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enrico
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Post by enrico » Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:30 pm

yes I enjoy the discussion Kazu ... no offense taken ...

But ... I still can't share or understand the fact that you are so absolute in your statements.

Obviously something struck a very wrong chord for you in this story. I can respect that and trying to understand it.
But it's harder to do it when your statements are so catastrophic and absolute. You are not leaving any space for some openess to other interpretations and impression the movies can have and give.

You're not saying: I really disliked this and that, 'cause I felt it was trying to convey this message ...
You are saying: This story has an evil message and it's attacking me and the core values of my family.

Paraphrasing here of course ... but my point is: you have your own reading of this film but you're presenting it vehemently as a fact.
I have a hard time with such strong and absolute language.

The movie and its message have abviously been received by many others (my 8 year old niece too) with positive feelings ... I don't think
many people felt such a negative message as you did.
Can you at least face that fact ?
Can you accept that other people got a good message out of it ?
I really think plenty did ... and I don't think they have been fooled ...

I guess I don't understand what you feel is so dishonest about this story ...

e

ps
And truthfully at the end of the day, I feel we are taking this whole matter too seriously ... it's a comedy we are talking about here.
Yes we make a living at this, but that doesn't mean we have loose a sense of humor about all this ...
Last edited by enrico on Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by enrico » Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:36 pm

Ah almost forgot ...
Michel- I was at the wrap party yes ... I didn't see you, but it doesn't surprise me I didn't see more than a couple of my co-workers ... very crazy crowded event ...

I was a story artist on the movie for four years. Mostly when Jan Pinkava was helming it but also a few months with Brad.

it was quite a ride ... all around ...

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Post by thirdeyeh » Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:48 am

Kazu-

I'm sorry to hear you were so unhappy with the film, especially since you seemed so excited about it. I felt much the same way the first time I saw Lady In The Water. I love M. Night (as one could see by the few threads I've started in this forum), but that movie made me mad. I felt like it was just him indulging himself instead of telling a great story. A friend of mine however convinced me to go see it again and I really enjoyed it the second time. I realized all of the things that I disliked about the film I actually kinda put in there myself, they weren't what was really happening. I'm not saying this is true of your opinion of the film, I am however saying that I've been there. Where something is really special to you and when you see it just makes you mad.

I don't agree with your thoughts on the film in two ways. SPOILERS The moto "anyone can cook" becomes clarified for us in the end. It's not that anybody can cook, but that a great cook can come from anywhere or anyone, even a rat. I think as well that the morals in the movie weren't really that ambiguous, especially on the part of stealing. Remy's stealing ended up biting him in the end. As an artist I think this is something we don't do very well, we do things that aren't right for the sake of our art. How many people out there reading this right now have illegal versions of Dreamweaver, Photoshop and so on. It's stealing no matter what the justification. So I think that's something it did very well.

I did however think that the puppet thing was a bit strange, but it was something Linguini wanted so he could keep his job. I understand why you may have taken offense to it, but maybe it needs a second viewing.
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Post by mr cow » Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:01 am

enrico wrote:And truthfully at the end of the day, I feel we are taking this whole matter too seriously ... it's a comedy we are talking about here.
haha! yes. i can't believe i actually read though this whole thread, as interesting as it was. i came out of this film loving it, still loving it, and place it next to knocked up as one of my favorite films of the summer. also thought it had kind of a miyazaki feel to it as well. and loved dave's observation about the combination of foods to art/work and family. didn't catch that. :)

but, man! people's opinions really can affect how they feel about a movie! they shouldn't, but they do. which is funny considering the critic aspect of this film. kazu- i love your film reviews. they are alway so honest and well thought out. but in this case i think that you are attacking this movie at more of a personal level then a critical one. i can't help but make comparisons to anton ego!

but yes- this might not be as family friendly a film as pixar's past. but is that really a problem with the film? maybe that's just a problem with the marketing. or not a problem at all...

and this seems like as good as time as any to finally admit to the world that i hated pan's labyrinth. gorgeous film, well executed. but i was totally tricked into thinking i was walking into a fantasy film! maybe, kazu, you felt tricked into seeing something other then what you expected from ratatouille?

regardless, this is the place for to read opinions on movies because i respect the people on this forum more than any reviewer out there. and you all seem to have great taste. :)
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Post by mr cow » Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:05 am

bah-doont chsh!
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Post by rodguen » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:53 am

8) I saw it twice .

I can't wait for next time.
I haven't been so jazzed about an animated movie in a long time.
You guys are setting the bar so high again.

Congrats to You, Enrico, Ronnie and Ted, and Michel here, and all the rest of the people who worked on it.

p.s> don't we see Ronnie's book cover next to
Gusteau's book, in the bookstore after Colette leaves the restaurant?

Oh, and all the family loved it too, despite a few people saying it wasn't for kids...

r.

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Post by Ganter » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:23 pm

Ah... I think Kazu said everything that I think about the film too, but I just have to say something about this:
i can't help but make comparisons to anton ego!
I really really don't like it when critics are criticized in a story or a movie. It always feels to me like a cop out, as if saying "if you're critical of my movie you're just like my bad critic character!" It goes against my artistic training and rubs me the wrong way. I had the same problem with Lady In The Water. Whenever there's a critic character in a story, it gives me the impression that the writer has the weight of a critic's opinion on his or her shoulders, because it obviously effects them enough to fictionalize them.

Also, the romance between Linguini and Colette kind of bugged me too. When did they fall in love, again, and why? Because Remy made him kiss her to keep his secret? There's no chemistry. What was Linguini's point anyway besides being a puppet and inheriting a restaurant? He felt less like a character and more like a plot device. That one scene where Remy was looking down on Linguini as he cooked the soup, and Gusteau said something like "anyone can cook, look it's not stopping him!" It made me think that Remy was going to teach Linguini how to cook, thus proving the theory that anyone can cook, but there wasn't even one scene where Linguini showed any interest in learning how to cook. He was just being used by Remy so he could fullfill his dreams, and the bumbling Linguini saw all kinds of success vicariously through him including a hot girlfriend and news conferences about his shining talent, which he never really had or cared to have, so it's hard for me to love him. I really didn't feel any friendship between Remy and Linguini either, it just felt like they were using each other.

Also, the statement "food will come to those who cook" just went against my concept of reality and felt a little condescending. Ach... I could go on. Really I'm just venting, I'm surprised nobody but me kazu and a handful of reviews online seem to see eye to eye. I guess in the end we just can't relate to the film, but everyone else can, and that's ok. It's completely obvious that a TON of work went into the movie, it looks absolutely gorgeous, I loved the music, the setting, the intentions, the character designs, everything but what it was actually telling me with actions. What they were saying and what was actually happening weren't quite in line for me, it made me feel conflicted, if you can't tell! ;)

Anyway I'll go now... I know it was a huge effort (four years!), and artistically speaking it's astounding. I still look up to you guys (Enrico, Michel, and others) and Pixar a lot, honestly I haven't been happy with a Pixar film since Finding Nemo so that's something you should know about me before taking anything I type to heart. :oops:
Last edited by Ganter on Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by mr cow » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:45 pm

actually, amy- those crits actually seem pretty valid! i felt linguini should have learned how to cook too- or at least wanted to (he was messing with that soup to begin with). perhaps there was too much focus on him though, being remy's story. or maybe just not enough on linguini. there were probably a number of rout the storytellers (or just brad bird?) could have taken. regardless, this is the rout we got and i was happy with it- even if it might not have been perfect. i think kazu's posts just feel a little more slanted towards stuff i don't agree with is all.

please don't think i was comparing you to ego either, kazu! i was just referring to the situation. gusteau's restaurant getting a bad review by ego = ratatouille getting a bad review by you. actually- i guess that does sound like a comparison. but i didn't mean it that way!

sheesh. all in all- we all have different opinions about this "lighthearted" film which i think is a great thing. it would be kinda ridiculous if we all felt the same about everything.
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Michel Gagne
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Post by Michel Gagne » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:58 pm

Hey Amy, I still look up to you too!! Too bad you didn't like the film much but art is very subjective, and everyone has its own interpretation.

For me, it's pretty simple, I either like, love, hate or dislike a movie and that's pretty much how far I analyse it. Ratatouille gave me a great feeling when I watched it. Even if the movie was all wrong (which I don't think it is in this case), if I get a good feeling while watching it, then it's a good movie in my book.

I love how civilized this board is!! :D :D :D
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Post by Ganter » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:09 pm

Mr Cow - hehe, well... I would've said the same things he did but it's been a couple days now since I saw the film so my opinion isn't quite as heated. But still a little smokin'... >_<

Michel - Your movie review system is very much like Becky's, too! ;)

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enrico
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Post by enrico » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:16 pm

I can imagine the heated discussions in your studio ... between some comics and wii playing ...


:)


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Post by Kazu » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:43 pm

I can completely see why people love the film, guys. For its entertainment value, it's top notch. I laughed a lot (loved the lightning-struck mushroom), and was in awe of its visuals. It is an artistic and technical marvel. When I went to the theater, I was just trying to empathize with the family audiences that would be seeing this film, and from that viewpoint, it hurt me. As an artist, it celebrated the things I loved, and I really wish it didn't come in conflict with the other side of me, which were the things I cared about outside of my art, because it spoils my love of the art itself. It's completely valid that others read it a different way.

My gripes come from the fact that I see this type of thing marring the world of comics all the time, where younger audiences are put aside for the sake of youthful grown-ups.

Personally, I think there's a difference between maturity and being an adult. What I loved about many of the previous Pixar films was that the studio had so often chosen to take the high road, realizing that family entertainment can also be sophisticated and of a higher quality, but most of all, they can be very generous. When John Lasseter talked about Toy Story 2 and said that when he and Tom Hanks were walking in a mall and saw a kid holding a Woody doll, he realized that these characters were no longer his toys any more, they were the world's. This is what that film was all about, and I, along with so many others, absolutely loved it. It wasn't the technical mastery, or the amazing animation, but it was the generous attitude in which the story was told, that was loved. With Ratatouille, I get this feeling that the artists are trying to take the toys back from the kids, and it just makes me sad. There's nothing wrong with celebrating the things artists do, but there is a time and place for that kind of thing. In fact, I work hard every day to help create venues for it. However, in the sociological framework in which this film is being created, that being the world of family entertainment, including people like my mother, sisters, and brother, this type of act just seems so inappropriate.

Really, if only the chefs were working hardest for the people eating the food, rather than the ones criticizing it, I think I would have been happy.
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