Ratatouille is another delicious offering from the animation collaboration of Disney and Pixar (Cars, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters. Inc, A Bug's Life, et al.) The story of a chef rat is presented with flair, care and an amazing attention to detail. Ratatouille has all the elements that have made the films before it enduring. However, it suffers some, but not all, of its flaws. The self-assured, smug rat chef Remy is very true to his pedigree. He is certainly more sophisticated than his ancestors (Nemo, Mambo, Lightening McQueen (cars), Mike(Monsters inc)) but shares a very carefully constructed behavioral pattern that can be described as clinical at best and utterly affected at best. Unfortunately, Hollywood and specially Pixar, seems to have set on a winning formula for these animated films and keeps repeating it with the next set of improbable characters (incredible, cars, monsters, penguins and now a rat chef.) All the characters in the film from the bumbling hero, capricious love interest to the villainous head-chef are so well formed that they really are nothing more than cardboard cutouts.

Everything they say has been refined over and over again until it is exactly as it should be and that predictability dwarfs these films in front of the more original, if quixotic, Japanese exercises such as 'Spirited Away', 'Howl's moving castle' or even European films such as 'Triplets of Bellville.' The last one is actually a stark contrast, brilliant one at that, to the Hollywood mainstream, as it barely has dialog and thrives on an amazing soundtrack and visual splendor that no amount of CGI can really bring to life. They are stories that a grandma would tell a young one to calm them down and put them to bed whereas the Hollywood films are not unlike a crass joke a teenager would tell his new girlfriend trying to make an amorous move.

But Ratatouille has Anton Ego, probably the first true mythical character that the Hollywood machine as ever created. Anton Ego, the food critic, is larger than life but true to it; he is scary but real and he is what really 'saves' Ratatouille from being lost amongst the many before it and surely the many to come after it.

However, given that the animation film making (as against cartoon film making) is really in its infancy as an art form, these films and particularly Ratatouille are a good first step toward maturity but alas it is only a first step. If Hollywood would try to tell a good story not just a beautiful one and not just a contemporary one we might one day actually love these films as much as we enjoy them.