A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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RATATOUILLE
2007 - Brad Bird - United States
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Brad Bird may be the leading animation filmmaker of contemporary American cinema. He is certainly the reigning auteur of American animation filmmaking. An auteur who gives each of his films a distinctive signature and mise-en-scene style rarely seen in animation. While entertaining for all ages, Bird's films can be even more appreciated by adults for the complex and artistic depth. His films intellectually connect with the viewer on an equal level. They have heart and his preference is on the importance of the characters. The thematic connection of each film centers around characterization, and most notably the perceived identity of the characters and the way in which such a perceived identity impacts the relationships of family and friends. These themes and the wonderful mise-en-scene direction reaches climatic heights in Ratatouille. Here Bird gives us a film that is incredibly imaginative, morally centered, cleverly ironic, and highly entertaining. Bird has the subtle touch of a poet and he gives his film both a dazzling visual depth, and a touching emotional heart that you can deeply feel. There is also some surreal and dreamlike qualities that make this a truly rare experience and one that can be equally enjoyed by children and adults (be it from the clever irony of the idea, the magical beauty of the animation, or the simplicity of the films messages). You can feel and more importantly smell this film and it's appreciation and importance of food. The voices and characters are all terrific, but it is Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O'Toole) that steals the show as the cynical food critic known as "The Grim Eater" (the moment when he bites into the food and returns to his childhood is a beautifully poetic and transcend moment of gold!).
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