The biggest release on a quiet DVD Tuesday is the Pixar rat chef flick, Ratatouille. With enough jokes for both kids and adults, a lovely level of subtlety and color in the animation, and the inevitable feel-good “you too can achieve your dream” message, this movie was well-received by critics and audiences.
The whole rat as a chef thing sounds a little yucky at first (and let’s be honest–rats aren’t exactly known as gourmands. I mean, did you ever see a bunch of rats sniffing around a garbage bag around a restaurant and saying things like, “Let’s pass–he always oversalts.” “Maybe, but I admire his bold, bright flavors.” Oh wait, rats only talk in movies. Never mind.) but the fact that this went over so well is proof that you can pull off anything if you do it the right way.
Extras include the Pixar shorts “Lifted,” which has nothing to do with the movie, and “Your Friend the Rat,” which does feature Ratatouille character Remy. Also deleted scenes and a featurette “Fine Food and Film: A Conversation with Thomas Keller and Brad Bird.” Bird directed, of course, and Keller is the legendary chef behind restaurants such as French Laundry and Per Se, who
coached Remy acted as a consultant for the animators for the cooking sequences. The Blu-Ray disc has additional extras.
What else is there today? I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is out in a widescreen version, a fullscreen version, and a combo HD DVD and standard DVD version (note to self: Add to “Things I Really Don’t Want to See” list–Kevin James and Adam Sandler in hi-def). Also out is Cars, another animation feature that was pleasant enough but no one really cared about, and the Matthew Broderick-Danny DeVito Christmas clunker, Deck the Halls.
And if you need to cleanse your palate after that last paragraph, there’s also a new James Bond Box Set, featuring 21 Bond movies and 21 discs of extras, and a new, cleaned up disc of the Beatles cheery Help! In this one the four lads from Liverpool ski, crack jokes, and get involved in a vaguely incomprehensible plot, but who cares? They sing, and that’s all that really counts.