Ratatouille (2007), written by Brad Bird, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 80th Academy Awards. That should come as no surprise as it’s an excellent story. Let’s analyze it.
- Draft Read: Undated
- Type: Spec
- Page Count: 118
- Reading Speed: Medium
- Setting(s): Paris, France
- Plot Structure: Linear, Spanning multiple weeks
- Genre(s): Coming-of-Age, Memoir
- Theme(s): Cooking, Love of Craft, Deception, Love, Comedy
- Protagonist Change: Moderate
As the saying goes, a camel is a horse designed by committee. Ratatouille is a script that feels like a hundred different people got their hands on it, with few risks taken. It’s almost too perfect. But that’s not the whole story.
It’s a great script, filled with irony: a rat who can cook, a buffoon who becomes a great chef, a seemingly poor man’s meal (Ratatouille) becoming a great one, the list goes on. The writers use juxtaposition to drum up our strongest basic emotions. And in reality, the story is a gamble. A rat who loves fancy food? That’s enough right there.
And there are jokes, some are good some are alright. There are a few awkward and cringy romance scenes. It’s a kid’s movie after all. The ending is somewhat predictable, the restaurant is shut down but the rats and cooks start a new one. And of course, everyone accepts their inner selves and becomes embraces who they are.
Above all, the script is rock-solid. It’s a perfect foundation for the uniqueness that the animation will bring to life. It should come as no surprise that it’s not an especially deep screenplay, but its straightforward premise and dialogue convey the various themes and life lessons, which allowed the film to connect with many.
Was I rocked to my core? No. But I certainly will continue watching animated Pixar movies, always hungry for more.
A rat who can cook.
Perhaps the best character is Anton Ego, the notoriously negative food critic who is won over by Remy, the rat. And even though the story doesn’t end with a typical happy ending, Ego is converted to team Remy, and the rest really doesn’t matter.
Dialogue & Pacing
The dialogue is strong and relatively simple.
There aren’t any slow scenes. The final cooking of the Ratatouille is glossed over, as are a few of the scenes in Act 3, which struck me as odd.
It certainly isn’t as hard-hitting or gut-wrenching as a film such as Frutivale Station (2013); however, Pixar knows how the capture emotions, both with writing and more so with the final animation. I can’t think of any other film that controls the viewer’s emotions more than a Pixar one, and Ratatouille is no exception.
Best Part of The Script
Pages 110-118, specifically Ego’s flashback when eating the Ratatouille, are spectacular.