November 1st, 2009

Ann Vole

Ratatouille and Pinocchio

Note that this post requires a knowledge of the Disney animated films Pinocchio and Ratatouille and has mild spoilers for those films as well.

When Linguini (the human-puppet) was explaining his relationship to Remé (the rat) to Colette (and about to show Remé under his chef hat) he said he had a little chef (in his head) that told him what to do. I realized that Remé also had a little character in his head that told him what to do (the imaginary Chef Gustou). Then I thought of Jimminey Cricket and Pinoccio having the same relationship... and then of Gepetto the puppetmaker... and back to Remé being the puppet-master of Linguini. I think the coincidences are too obvious to not have had the Pinocchio thing in Brad Bird's head (Director of Ratatouille). Even being caught in a trap in Skinner's car trunk was much like the swallowed-by-a-whale part of Pinocchio.

I always thought the weak part of Ratatouille was the editing but with this mirror of the story Pinocchio involved, the "strange" editing choices start looking like a successful but very difficult editing job. I was reading about how extra corners on a house cost thousands of extra dollars each to build. They may seem to have a good purpose to the architect but in the end, you have a weaker and more expensive house with more chance of a mistake causing structural failure. This is the case for Ratatouille, the extra plot complexity is cool but may have been the cause of the general poor performance of the film in the box office.