written and directed by Brad Bird
by Walter Chaw Brad Bird's latest film Ratatouille is the auteur's affirmation that it's possible, no matter the station, to find genius among the rabble. It's charmingly egalitarian, this idea that any class or creed can produce the next Einstein or Baryshnikov, and it seems a direct response to the critics of his The Incredibles who would say that that superhero film's mantra of "if everyone is super, no one is" is an embodiment of intolerance and classism. Ratatouille's answer is a lot like the one offered by Bird's feature debut, The Iron Giant: that not only is it possible to overcome one's basic programming, but also that choice supersedes predestination and, moreover, that a basic morality governs the actions of all things. A lot to put on the doorstep of a film about a rat, Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), who wishes he could be a chef in the kitchen of idol Gasteau (Brad Garrett)--but Bird, in the course of just three films (and stints with "The Simpsons" and "The Critic"), has forged a pretty formidable ideology based on, of all alien things, the sociology of common sense. Some people are more gifted than others, some people are assholes, and most people are idiots; just as an understanding of race and gender comes with the acceptance of basic differences, so, too, does understanding within a culture only come through a similar acceptance that some people are super and others are simply background.