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.