Rats! I Really Wanted to Hate This Movie

    Before the Disney company became ginormous — Webster now recognizes “ginormous” as a word, even if the Spell-Check feature on my computer does not — I was a huge fan and consumer of all-things-Disney.

     I still enjoy taking my grandkids to Disney movies and theme parks, and trying to relive my long-lost childish glee through them. And you know what? Most of the time, a little dose of Disney does my soul good.

     Still, I was prepared not only to dislike, but to absolutely hate, the new Disney/Pixar film, “Ratatouille.” After all, its theme revolved around three things all true Americans despise: rats, bistros and the French. (Before you start keyboarding a huffy retort… yes, I’m kidding — for the most part.)

     But I was prodded by the four adoring eyes of two little people — not to mention a few well-timed “Pleeeeeeases!”– and so off to the matinee we went. (I figured if I had to sit through a movie I probably wasn’t going to like, at least I’d save a few bucks by going early.)

     An hour and fifty minutes later… not counting the “approved for general audiences” previews and a fun short cartoon called “Lifted”… we emerged from the theater thoroughly energized and completely entertained. We may even have a new “foodie” on our hands in the form of 3-year-old Hunter, who can now pronounce “ratatouille” perfectly: “Rat-a-too-ee!” (It is, when one thinks about it, a much easier word to speak than to spell.)

     “Ratatouille,” the movie, embodies the two things I always loved about early Disney films, as well as Bugs Bunny cartoons: plenty of visual splendor to keep the kids entranced, along with a good dose of subtle humor for adults to enjoy.

     And if you’re a food and wine lover, it’s even better because the depictions of various gastronomic wonders will make you downright hungry.

     Some have expressed concern over the introduction of an alcoholic beverage — i.e., wine — to a movie aimed at kids. And some have expressed even greater consternation over the fact that Disney is marketing a French White Burgundy featuring the movie’s main character, Remy the rat, on the label.

     Personally, I have no problem with either of these concerns. As for the White Burgundy, it should be pointed out that depictions of cute animals have been adorning wine bottle labels for years. I’d be more concerned that the wine inside that bottle is only so-so.

     The topic of weaving wine into a kids’ movie is more legitimate, but I see it as a way that parents can introduce their kids to the responsible use of alcohol.

     As you know, if you’ve been following these Journal entries, I’m a music lover, and “Ratatouille” features a wonderful score that perfectly complements the movie’s plot and visuals. If only there were a record store (remember those?) nearby, I’d stop by at lunch today and pick up the soundtrack album. Guess I’ll have to ask my grandson to download it from iTunes for me…

     Meanwhile, I was so taken by the movie that the day after we saw it, I decided to try my hand at a recipe for ratatouille. The recipe I found was not a classic version of the Provencal stewed vegetable dish, but it was mighty tasty. And I’ll share that recipe with you here tomorrow on VinesseTODAY.


Posted in Editor's Journal
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