Foodies, rejoice! In these days of sub-par chefs gone mainstream (Rachael Ray), cable network shows searing up the ratings with lavish food productions (Bravo's TOP CHEF), and just the general allure of a sweltering summer day spent inside with the A.C. jacked up and the Food Network turned on to one of its many lip-licking half-hour segments, Pixar brings out the knives and concocts a truly amusing and savory film about the love of food. In the process, the film tries-and succeeds- in showing that anyone- yes, anyone!- can cook.

Set along the banks of the Seine with the lush backdrop of Paris, the city of lights, Ratatouille is the story of a young rat destined for greatness. Voiced by Patton Oswalt, rat Remy has more than just the typical ability to sniff out his dinner- he has, rather, the scent ability of a great chef, detecting specific cheese types, intricate spices and is more than aware of how to combine two fantastic items to make a savory dish.

Remy's idol is Chef Gusteau, whose famous cookbook is entitled, appropriately, Anyone Can Cook! Voiced by Brad Garrett, the chef passes away, but appears to Remy as a vision, a stout little man with a heavy accent, guiding Remy as he pursues his calling. After a violent lightning storm and an encounter with a granny with a gun, Remy finds himself inside the walls of Gusteau's former restaurant, and finds himself determined to save its reputation (and star rating).

Without giving too much away, it's safe to say that the rat meets a young man named Linguini who also has a great destiny. The only problem is that he can't seem to cook! After a case of mistaken identity, Linguini must wear a chef's hat with rat Remy underneath it to guide him in making inventive gourmet food to save Gusteau's. In the process, Remy learns the truth about humans, his diverse family, the art of cooking and of life.

Although I doubt young children will understand the bulk of this film, there are breaks in the cooking with typical falls, bumps, scrapes and whatnot to keep the children laughing. Overall, however, I enjoyed the film as a food and restaurant lover, and was able to appreciate the work that goes into, say, a perfect ratatouille. One particular character I enjoyed was food critic Anton Ego, voiced by Peter O' Toole. Everyone hates a critic, but in the end, the character becomes more than just an ego-driven villain. I left this film quite amused, visually stimulated and very, very hungry.


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.35:1

Subtitles: None

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes featurettes; new animated shorts; interactive game.

* Short Films
o Lifted (5:06)
o Your Friend the Rat (11:19)
* Featurettes
o Fine Food and Film (13:57)
* Deleted Scenes - (15:10)
o Chez Gusteau
o Meet Gusteau
o First Day

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging