Pixar never disappoints. Rata- touille is a sublime dish of a movie, and the company's piece de resistance. Writer-director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) has crafted it, superbly, from homely and sophisticated ingredients. He practices the art of synesthesia. He catalyzes zesty, tragicomic chain reactions from one sense and makes them tumble headlong into another. When your eyes sink into the visual feast of Ratatouille (pronounced "rat-a-too-ee"), your heartstrings play jazzy melodies, while your brain cells provide a driving beat.
The unlikely hero is a rat with a range of woebegone and ecstatic expressions worthy of Charlie Chaplin. Even more improbably, Remy (Patton Oswalt) is a gourmet genius. On a wild ride through the French sewer system, he winds up in his dream city, Paris, where he teams with a kitchen garbage-boy, Linguini (Lou Romano), to save a legendary restaurant named for Remy's idol, the late, great chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett). Once a five-star establishment, it's fallen into the hands of the mercenary Skinner (Ian Holm), who lets the menu stagnate while creating a microwave food line with dishes such as "Gusteau's Tooth-Pick'n Chicken."
Ratatouille (Disney/Pixar) With the voices of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo. Directed by Brad Bird. Rated G. Time 110 minutes.