Over the years, I’ve reviewed quite a few “The Art of” Disney books from Chronicle. My first purchase was The Art of Tangled and now I usually receive books from the publisher. I realized recently that I didn’t have The Art of Ratatouille, which released in May of 2007. Ratatouille is my favorite animated film. I purchased the book and thought I’d also review it. I started Mousesteps the month the book debuted but it was many years until I started reviewing books regularly.
Information on the book from the publisher:
From the hit-makers at Pixar Animation Studios who brought us Buzz Lightyear, Nemo, and Mr. Incredible, now comes Remy, the furry star of Ratatouille. A lovable rat (yes, a rat!), Remy is driven by his passion for fine cuisine to become a chef—against all odds and with madcap adventures along the way—at the most famous restaurant in Paris. The Art of Ratatouille includes more than 200 of the artistic ingredients in this heartwarming film: storyboards, full-color pastels, digital and pencil sketches, character studies, maquettes, and more. In this exclusive movie tie-in book for adults, effusive quotes from the director, artists, animators, and production team reveal the genius at work inside the studio that changed cartoon heroes forever.
Copyright Chronicle Books
With Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opening at EPCOT, there is a renewed interest in the film. While the ride isn’t new for me, having been on it many times at Disneyland Paris, the experience is new at EPCOT with an expansion of the France pavilion. Even just when opening the book, seeing Remy and Emile scurrying on a fence overlooking the Seine and Notre Dame reminds me of looking toward EPCOT’s International Gateway from the new expansion.
Director Brad Bird writes the introduction, and he talks about not knowing anything about Paris, gourmet cooking or rats when tapped for the film. That changed quickly.
The Art of Ratatouille offers a lot of character studies…how Remy, Emile and other characters were designed. There are a number of pages talking about the sewers of Paris and then to where Remy realizes he’s in Paris. A few pages on Anton Ego talk about how he’s like a Grim Reaper with a coffin shaped office.
The kitchen plays a very important role in the movie. Research trips included a lot of visits to Parisian restaurant kitchens because they are different than in America. And some artwork is shown of the pantry, which reminds me of moving through it while riding Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
There is beautiful artwork of Paris. Brad Bird says in The Art of Ratatouille that the story could have taken place almost totally in the kitchen, but “I took every opportunity I could to break the action into Paris – Notre Dame, the Seine, Montmartre. After all, if we’re going to be in Paris, let’s see some Paris!” And for me, that is the most wonderful part about the film and artwork. I still remember seeing Remy look over Paris for the first time.
The back of the book features a couple of pages showing various logos proposed for the film. There were a lot of good ones!
“Ratatouille” is my favorite animated film and Paris my favorite location to visit – so The Art of Ratatouille is a really great addition to my bookshelf. Paris to me is a work of art – you don’t have to go into museums to see beautiful sculptures and designs. And The Art of Ratatouille has some gorgeous artwork showcasing that and gives more insight into the film.
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