“I once killed a man… with this thumb.”

The only reason the high-definition format wars aren’t the stupidest thing happening right now is that the rest of the world is even stupider and more screwed-up at the moment. If this Blu-ray/HD-DVD crap had gone down a decade ago, there’d have been riots in the street, public lynchings, who knows what else. The fact that companies are duking it out over the future of packaged content, heedless of the fact that digital downloads will completely obsolete both formats within a few years, is all the worse when you consider how many people will eventually end up with an obsolete player and expensive movies to go with it. Well, that’s assuming one format or another actually wins out. Even Sony’s execs call it a stalemate. Awesome!

But… watching Ratatouille in HD almost justifies the whole stupid ordeal.

The movie looks even better than I remembered, and I remembered it being the most beautifully animated film I’ve ever seen. I’m speaking as some who generally hates CG and would prefer hand-drawn animation over computerized 3D any day of the week. Ratatouille sidesteps my gag reflex by being gorgeous, lush, packed with detail and warmth and soul — basically, by offering the things that are always missing in CG. It’s one of those movies that moves at such a pace, with such energy, that your eye doesn’t have time to process everything; I’m confident that I will watch this movie dozens of times, and that I will notice something different each time. Last night what caught my eye was the way the sodden copy of Anyone Can Cook! really and truly looked like wet pages. The dead leaves on the sidewalk along the Seine. The way that everyone on the kitchen staff is performing their assigned duty at their station during Remy’s manic first foray into the restaurant, a detail you couldn’t really appreciate the first time through since you weren’t familiar with the characters.

My one complaint about having my own copy of Ratatouille is the inevitable weight gain. About halfway through my viewing last night I found myself in the kitchen digging up grapes, flatbread crisps and some smoked gouda. Audience participation.

It’s also an even better movie than I originally thought — an amazing pastiche of classic cartoons that brilliantly employs the tropes and types of the form without succumbing to cliché. So basically, CG and Blu-ray are stupid, with this glorious exception. The end.

18 thoughts on ““I once killed a man… with this thumb.”

  1. I think only Pixar would have the integrity and clout to have a movie set in Paris but not force all the actors to do the accent. Just a little inconsistency that nobody complained about because they probably figured it was for the better.

    I’d still buy a Remy doll. He’s just AWWW SO CUUUTE. That’s my reaction to all rats.

    Does anyone else here foresee rat a too ee causing a surge in the sales of pet rats like TMNT did with turtles twenty years ago?

  2. It’s called a set top box with an ethernet port, any video any time on demand for a low monthly subscription. Digital downloads will replace packaged media, period. Why do you think Microsoft is pouring so much money down the drain trying to get a device with an ethernet port connected to everyone’s TV? Digital downloads are already well on their way to replacing CDs. Video is the next step.

  3. But you see vsrobot, Blockbuster Video and Hollywood haven’t realized that renting out a few rack-units in a server room wherever they want to do business is cheaper than actually having Blockbuster *stores*.

    Google will get it though. :) That’s why they’ve laid dark fiber across the country.

  4. Yeah, something about this blog backend causes unsigned posts to vanish the next time someone comments. I’m not sure why, but I won’t complain. It makes anonymous trolls gloriously self-destructive.

  5. I should point out I know someone who hates Ratamovie with as much ferver as you love it.

    He says none of the characters are likeable.

    (NO, it’s not me. I enjoyed the movie)

  6. “About halfway through my viewing last night I found myself in the kitchen digging up […] some smoked gouda.”

    So… is there any smoked cheese left?

  7. I saw this in the theater with my little sister. I liked it a lot, except for the oddly sporadic, and completely unnecessary narration. “This is me. This is my friend. He is kooky.” It’s a crutch this movie didn’t need. Beautiful movie though, and with barely any easy French bashing.

  8. I’m sure they’ve realized it wumpwoast. But do realize the legal hoops they had to jump through to even be allowed to rent movies? Then there’s the fact that studios don’t even want to release disk media without ridiculous DRM that’s usually cracked 7 different ways before it hits the ground, so there’s bad mojo around this idea of “digital downloads” (though on the topic, I’m hoping once Adobe gets their stuff together with security in the Flash video codec I’ll actually get to try one of these download services on my Mac…).

    Of course, on top of all that you have the studios wanting to control the digital media distribution so as to get the largest possible cut of the absurd markup passed on to the consumer – see the Apple/NBC split and Hulu.com

  9. Was anyone slightly confused when the phrase “anyone can cook” kept appearing so often and it turned out Linguine, you know, couldn’t? At the end of the movie he’s resigned himself to busing tables. Or was he just not interested?

  10. Well, I would assume not interested? He was concerned with other things for most of the movie, whether it be keeping his job, romance, whatever. If he’d wanted to, I’m sure he COULD cook. He just has a lot to learn. And perhaps what he wanted wasn’t so much to cook, but to be part of the whole… thing? The fancy french food scene? And working the tables and such and doing those parts of running the restaurant still lets him do that…?
    I dunno, just some rambling thoughts on it. I need to rent it and watch it again.

  11. You’ll have scores of infuriated animators and their “Pinocchio” Platinum Edition DVD’s with those words, Parish. Watch your back.

  12. Pinocchio is a technical masterpiece, but honestly I’ve never really liked its style. Twelve planes of animation is an amazing feat, but the movie and artwork do very little for me.

  13. I guess I missed the argument on downloads replacing media, but my two cents anyway:

    Of course it’s going to happen, but I think your “within a few years” is a bit of an exaggeration. Downloading a full HD movie in less time than it takes to drive to the nearest Blockbuster and back is itself years off, and there’s going to be a gap of several more years between the early adopters and the mainstreaming of the practice.

    I give it a decade, give or take. Which I suppose is a short time in terms of format turnover (look how long VHS lasted), but a long damned time in computer terms.

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