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April 30, 2008
Ratatouille Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
8/6/200612/3/2008DisneyBrad Bird / Jan Pinkava
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4PCM 5.1 4.6Mbps
Dolby Digital 5.1 640kbps
PGPatton Oswalt (voice)

THE MOVIE

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Two very surprised characters!
Pixar are a company that can do no wrong with hit after hit at the cinemas and Ratatouille managed the phenomenal worldwide gross of $US621 million. To see the movie hit Blu-Ray is something which many people have been eager to see since the format was first release. Now, for the first time we can see this movie at home in all its HD glory. Was it worth the wait? Of course...

Ratatouille follows the adventures of a rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who dreams of becoming a great chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in the city of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau (Brad Garrett). Despite the apparent dangers of being an unwanted visitor in the kitchen of one of Paris' most exclusive restaurants, Remy forms an unlikely partnership with Linguini (Lou Romano), the garbage boy who inadvertently discovers Remy's amazing talents. They strike a deal, ultimately setting into motion a hilarious and exciting chain of extraordinary events that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

Remy finds himself torn between following his dreams or returning forever to his previous existence as a rat. He learns the truth about friendship, family and having no choice but to be who he really is, a rat who wants to be a chef.

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Some of the best CG ever seen in film...
Ratatouille is one of the most delightful CG movies I have ever seen - and that is a lot of movies. Most importantly, and as with most Pixar movies, this is a movie which is just as enjoyable for adults as it is for youngsters with humour aimed at all levels. What really got me was just how much of an emotional film this is. Rats aren't exactly what you would call the 'cutest' of animals to fall in love with, but you can't help but do that with Remy. He is so delightful, so charming, and so charismatic. The human characters, especially Linguini, are just as impressive, and are certainly Pixar’s highpoint in character creation, development and animation for the company.

With a runtime just under two hours it really amazed me that at no time was I looking at the clock wondering how long there was to go. In fact, I would have been happy to see this movie extended even further such was the joy of being in Remy and Linguini's world.

One thing that really astounds about this movie is the brilliant animation. Pixar are pushing new boundaries with this film and while it may not have the 'realism' of Final Fantasy it certainly has a lot more character and artistic merit. It's not just the main characters that look great, but even the background characters, and environments. Paris has been stunningly recreated right down to the detail on the roads and footpaths while even the 'look' and romance of the city has been captured perfectly with some gorgeous lighting effects.

No matter what your age Ratatouille is a movie that is sure to delight. The story, characters and audio visuals all combine to make this one of the, if not the, greatest CG movie of all time. Even if you missed it in the cinemas then do yourself a favour and check out this movie on Blu-Ray now.

VIDEO
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So what do you do when you catch a rat?

Ratatouille is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. Throughout the film the colours are vibrant, detail in shadows remains high and there is no compression artifacting at all. In fact the visuals on this release look no better then when you have close ups of Remy or any of the other rats with each individual hair on their bodies as clear as day.

As one would expect from a CG movie this disc has been transferred directly from a digital source which means there isn't a single moment of grain or dirt on the print and grain is non-existent as well. Finding faults with this transfer is nigh on impossible. Actually, scratch that, it is. This is, for all intents and purposes a perfect transfer and the finest we have seen on the Blu-Ray format to date. For that, Ratatouille gets a perfect score and, as with Pixar's Cars, this is reference quality all the way. Absolutely stunning.

AUDIO
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Remy takes to the skies.

Ratatouille on Blu-Ray includes two main English audio formats. The first is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 640kbps while the second is a Linear PCM track encoded at 4.6Mbps. Both audio formats are extremely impressive although the edge has to be given to the PCM track due to a slightly more lively sound field and more punchy bass frequencies. No matter which track you use though Ratatouille includes frequent use of surround sound channels and sub woofer, crystal clear dialogue, lively music and entertaining effects, particularly when the chefs are cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

If there is one ever so slight disappointment with the audio on this disc it has to be that we have 'only' been given a PCM track at 4.6Mbps which compares to the 6.9Mbps audio on the US release. We assume the reason for this is the increase in non-English tracks. Ratatouille includes French and Dutch DTS tracks at 1.5Mbps, and French, Dutch and Vlaams (Flemish) Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks at 640kbps. Needless to say samples from each showed consistently high quality across the board.

Subtitles on the disc are provided as English, English for the Hearing Impaired, French and Dutch. The text is accurate to the dialogue on screen.

EXTRAS
Cars had some great extras including a stunning "Cine-Explore" feature, and Ratatouille is every bit as impressive. The Cine-Explore feature makes a return on the Ratatouille Blu-Ray disc and it's a blast. There are plenty of other extras to explore and unlike Cars, the menus are fairly easy to understand and navigate.

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Look, it's the puppet master.
Cine-Explore (HD): This featurette is similar that found in Cars and not only delivers an audio commentary with director Brad Bird and producer Brad Lewis, but also overlaid images such as artwork from the production, or images of people involved with production, and even branching away to documentary shorts and animation briefings (which are accessible separately from the extras menu on this disc). This Cine-Explore is one of the best extras we have ever seen on a DVD or Blu-Ray disc so a big thumbs up goes to Pixar and Disney for their efforts here.

Animated Short: Lifted (5:01/HD): To me, this is one of Pixar's weaker animated shorts. Still there is no denying how gorgeous it looks in High Definition.

Animated Short: Your Friend The Rat (11:16/HD): An entertaining look at the history of the rat and how, in reality, they are friends of humans. According to the rat the Black Plague was actually caused by fleas! Perhaps the most interesting is that most of this short movie is hand drawn (there's even a segment in the Documentary Shorts about making this short film).

Fine Food and Film (13:54/HD): A short featurette featuring director Brad Bird and Chef Thomas Keller, one of America's top chefs. It looks at the art of cooking, and using this experience in real kitchens to help develop Ratatouille. Quite an interesting feature.

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The chefs in a line-up.
Animated Briefings (14:25): A great 'fly on the wall' series of video which place you in the animation briefings as Brad Bird and crew discuss various scenes and how they were animated with the subtle changes made during development. These briefings can be viewed through the Cine-Explore feature.

Documentary Shorts (50:58): Consider this the bulk of the extras with almost an hours worth of development footage split into ten sections. These documentaries include interviews and behind the scenes details. Well put together this looks at many aspects of developing Ratatouille. These shorts can be viewed through the Cine-Explore feature.

Deleted Scenes (15:06): These three deleted scenes are use 2D drawings which have been roughly animated with a 3D process which gives them quite a bit of life, but not the full rendering from the final movie. Quite fascinating with members of the production crew detailing why the scenes didn't make it into the movie. A brilliant inclusion on this disc.

Deleted Spots RIP (3:12): A great little montage of scenes that were shot and the 'effect' that it had on the animators when they heard it was being cut. Actually this is very amusing. I love it.

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Cruising around Paris!
The Will (2:43): A look a the scene called 'The Will' and how different music changes the tone of a sequence. The audio can be changed between the final and initial score as the scene plays.

Remembering Dan Lee (3:00): A nice tribute to Dan Lee who passed away at the age of 34 during the making of Ratatouille. It's great to see brilliant artists such as this remembered in such a way.

Gusteau's Gourmet Game: A Java based game which will have some people interested, for a little while - particularly youngsters. Not great, but one of the better Java games to date on Blu-Ray discs.

Easter Eggs!: Should you go to the main menu where all the extras are listed and press Left a couple of times you will notice 5 new options appear. These are short outtakes or clips showing some other amusing aspects of production. A few more minutes worth of fun is to be had here, but we'll leave the content to be a surprise!

OVERALL
As with millions of people around the world the Pixar animated movies are simply the best on the market, and Ratatouille is right up there with the best of them. This disc is simply astounding both technically and in terms of additional content. An essential addition to any Blu-Ray collection. Stunning.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
9/10
THE VIDEO
10/10
THE AUDIO
10/10
THE EXTRAS
8/10
OVERALL
9/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Disney. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.