Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ramping up Ratatouille

The end of this month, the latest Pixar feature hits your neighborhood multiplex. Early reviews are ecstatic, but one of the media themes out there now is: "It's about a rat in Paris with a hard-to-spell title, so it's gonna be a tough sell..."

I think the "hard sell" meme is supplanting the corporate media's usual "It was hurt by the animation glut," as witnessed by this other Variety piece:

In a summer of easy-to-market sequels, "Ratatouille" isn't based on a pre-existing franchise, its lead character isn't already known by auds, no A-list stars provide the voices of the characters (preventing the studio from pushing them out on the talkshow circuit), and there's the hard-to-pronounce name.

On top of all that, the movie's not even fast-food friendly -- mainly because the lead's a rat and scrambles around a high-end French restaurant. It's also facing some serious competition with "Transformers" and the next installment of "Harry Potter," both of which are expected to drum up family business.

I'm betting that the picture is going to do just fine amidst the stampede of giant, marauding robots (didn't Brad Bird do that one already?). And I'm betting that it plays through the end of the summer and makes Disney a potful of francs.

The Mouse House, unlike Time-Warner a few years back, knows what it has in the latest Brad Bird picture and is promoting it.

Addendum: Jenny L. at BlackWing Diaries links to this Ratatouille review by Mike Barrier that is somewhat less positive than Variety's take.


Anonymous said...

I too have seen Pixar's latest and its very strong. easily the best film i have seen in a while. Head and shoulders above the rest. its smart its funny and has the heart of a great little film.

if the film doesn't do well its not because of it lacking quality or its ick factor. It could be just the cost that it takes to bring a family to the theater's now-a-days. this film is worth the family price of admission. so if you were burned out on Pirates, Shrek, Spidey and Surf's up...the Rat film is the only one to see.

keep up the good work Pixar.

Anonymous said...

The two paragraphs you quoted made me laugh out loud... Several times, at least.

People are really THAT shortsighted and narrowminded?

Anonymous said...

Yes they are!!


Anonymous said...

Barrier liked polar express more than Iron Giant.

Enough said.

John_Fountain said...

I'm really looking forward to this movie and rooting for Brad Bird as a director. Animation students should all watch the 'making of' features on The Incredibles DVD - Bird has a very (in his words) "use every part of the buffallo" style of directing that I think a lot of younger animators could benefit from.

Floyd Norman said...

I am so sick of Disney's constant hand wringing.

This film will do just fine.

Anonymous said...

This is a really good film but I am concerned that I don't hear many people outside of the animation circles building it up much?....odd with the 800 screen sneak and all.

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