Perhaps the most beautiful animated film I've ever seen. No, I'm not talking about the quality of the animation; although, like all the Pixar films, it's better animated than the previous films from the studio. It's the nature of computer animation. Hayao Miyazaki's worst film looks better than the best of the computer animated films so far.
The funny thing is, I was revolted by the very idea of a rat preparing food. Really. I originally refused to watch the film because I didn't want to see even animated people eating food prepared by an animated rat. Seriously.
Perhaps now you can understand what I mean when I say the film was beautiful. I rented the film because my children begged to see it; and I watched the film because it's a rule of mine to watch the shows that my children are watching. And I couldn't have been more moved. Tears, man.
The truth is, it's not a film about a rat that can cook; it's about chasing and achieving your dream even in the face of completely insurmountable odds, and doing it with panache. Without a doubt the best film from Pixar to date.
Of course, if you have a cynical eye (as I do in spades on occasion) looking at the film through a reverse lens can also be entertaining. Plot !spoilers! ahead for anyone who cares.
A restaurant critic, jaded by too many years reviewing the works of others, spends his time heaping merciless ridicule on mediocre chefs. He becomes more and more cruel in his reviews, and less and less satisfied with the food prepared for him, until it gets to the point that his only happiness can be found in a peasant sausage dish specially prepared for him by the hands of a rat.
His readers, who have enjoyed reading the poisoned leavings of his pen, follow him down this road to hell, and also eat food prepared for them by rats.
Viola. Karma, thy justice is sweet. The whole time I was watching, I kept seeing this alternate explanation of events playing out in my mind at the same time as the film itself. Maybe I've read too many merciless reviews over the years to ignore the fact that critics rarely have the objectivity to truly rate the works of another.
Hey, movie critics, I think Pixar has a message for you...