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A Bird, a rat -- and a fine movie

With "Ratatouille," Brad Bird continues to prove himself to be one of the most creative people working in animation today. Bird made his feature film debut with "The Iron Giant" and made a name for himself with the genre redefining "The Incredibles." Many kids' movies feel that since they are naturally labeled to be only for kids, they have to dumb themselves down. But Bird realizes that parents end up sitting in the theaters, too, and that teens are also interested. He therefore always makes his films sharp and clever, as well as visually stunning, to ensure that everyone in the audience is satisfied.

And "Ratatouille" couldn't be any more satisfying. The plot: Remy (Patton Oswalt), a talking rat who has a secret desire to be a great cook like the legendary Gusteau (Brad Garrett) he idolizes, finds his way into Gusteau's once-famed restaurant in Paris. He makes a delicious soup, which is accidentally credited to Linguini (Lou Romano), the new garbage boy. Together, they work out a deal: Remy wants to be a chef, and Linguini wouldn't mind getting a little more respect in the kitchen, so Remy will secretly serve as a guide to make Linguini appear to be an excellent chef.
Bird excellently executes elaborate slapstick sequences and supplies the film with lots of wit and charm, but he isn't the only one who deserves credit. The voice actors bring a lot to the table, too. Oswalt makes Remy as cunning as he rightfully should be, Romano makes Linguini into a perfectly desperate fish out of water, and even the legendary Peter O'Toole shows up to add even more class as Anton Ego, a restaurant critic with a sinister accent to complement his notoriously critical reputation.

As expected, the animation is dazzling, intricate and beautifully creative. All in all, "Ratatouille" stands as another Disney Pixar class act.

Jason Silverstein will be a senior at Williamsville North.

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>Ratatouille

Review: 3 1/2 stars (out of four)

Rating: G

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