Went to see the latest Pixar movie, Ratatouille, at the cinema this evening. I had heard very mixed reviews and, after Cars, I was somewhat apprehensive. There was a time when Pixar could do no wrong in my eyes. After a string of films that just got better and better - Toy Story, It's a Bugs Life (ok, that is my second least favorite), Toy Story 2, Monster's Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles - I was bitterly disappointed with Cars. Not that it was a bad movie, mind, and the animation was fantastic, but it just didn't have the imagination and the heart that the other movies did. Ratatouille had me wondering if they had produced another clanger (no offence to the whistling pink mice who live on the moon). It didn't sound very promising to begin with - I mean, a rat who wants to be a chef in a human restaurant? It didn't sound like the greatest of ideas. Then again, when I first heard about The Incredibles I was completely nonplussed and now it is one of my all time favorite films. Like The Incredibles, Brad Bird wrote and directed Ratatouille and I should not have doubted him for a second. Ratatouille was a beautiful film, and I don't just mean that in a visual sense, although the animation was the best Pixar have produced to date. What I loved most about Ratatouille was the story and the characters. It had a real heart and a depth that transcended the fact that one of the main characters was a rat. Like The Incredibles before it, which wasn't really about super heroes, Ratatouille was more about friendship, family, following your dream and being true to yourself than it was about rats and kitchens. This is no dumbed down kids movie full of toilet humor. This is a fully rounded meaningful, fun, uplifting movie for the whole family. I thought it was fantastic. Some of the people I was with felt it was a little slow to start, but for me the pacing was excellent. I loved Remy (who was a rat) and they did not anthropomorphize him too much (if that is possible for a cooking rat). While the people were stylized, after watching them for a while you forgot they were animated and believed they were real. The voice acting was superb. The story line was exciting with a satisfying conclusion and there were enough laughs to keep me chuckling throughout. I think Pixar have returned to form with this gem of a movie. Miss it at your peril.