Ratatouille (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Sep 27, 2019
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Ratatouille (4K UHD Review)

Director

Brad Bird

Release Date(s)

2007 (September 10, 2019)

Studio(s)

Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios)
  • Film/Program Grade: A
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: B+

Ratatouille (4K Ultra HD)

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Review

Remy (Patton Oswalt) is a young, ambitious, and creative chef in rural France. He loves his family, good food, the finer things in life. He has great taste too and a very discerning palette. But Remy is also a rat—as in rodent, Rattis rattus, a small furry animal—and thus is not naturally meant for greatness in the culinary world. But Remy’s not about to let that stop him. And when he meets a young man named Linguini (Lou Romano), who is not a particularly good chef but just so happens to work in the finest restaurant in all of Paris as a garbage boy, Remy gets his big chance to shine.

Director Brad Bird has yet to make a bad film, and Ratatouille is every bit as good as his reputation would suggest. The film is delightfully clever and funny… and just as unlikely. It brings Remy’s rat community to life as a fully-realized world, one that’s full of personality, and embeds it in the textures French culture and cuisine. The supporting voice cast includes Janeane Garofalo as Linguini’s fellow chef and love interest Colette, Brad Garrett as the restaurant’s late namesake Gusteau, Peter O’Toole as the bitter food critic Anton Ego, and Ian Holm as Chef Skinner, the man who took over for Gusteau and wants to cheat Linguini out of his true legacy. A delightful score by Michael Giacchino adds to the charm and pulls the film’s emotional center together.

Ratatouille was rendered in 2K and finished in the 2.39 aspect ratio. It’s been upsampled here for its release on 4K UHD from the original animation files and graded for high dynamic range (HDR10 only is available on the disc). There’s a very modest improvement in fine detail and texturing beyond the previous Blu-ray presentation, but apart from the tiniest bit of aliasing here and there, the image is clean as a whistle as you’d expect. The real highlight to this presentation is the HDR. This is not by any means an aggressive grade—shadows are a tad deeper but don’t expect blinding highlights. What you do get here, however, is a softy luminous look overall. And the wider gamut results in colors that are both richer and more delicately delineated. Both combine to lend the image a nice bit of extra dimension that’s subtle but lovely. Fans of the film will certainly appreciate it.

Primary audio is available here in a new English Dolby Atmos mix that’s again a modest but welcome upgrade. It requires a slight volume bump from normal reference levels, but then the stage is big, natural, and wonderfully immersive. Clarity is exceptional, with a full sound and moderate bass. The surrounds are playfully active and movement is smooth and natural. The height channels kick in pleasingly and often—more than you’d expect actually—starting with the lightening strike early in the film, as well as the shotgun blast (and subsequent ceiling collapse), and Remy’s ride through the sewers. Atmospheric cues abound, including much expected kitchen and dining activity, and Michael Giacchino’s score is woven lightly throughout the mix. Additional audio options include English 5.1 DTS-HD, as well as English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, and French and Spanish 5.1 in Dolby Digital EX. Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired, French, and Spanish.

There are no extras whatsoever on the UHD disc, but the package includes the film on Blu-ray too, with the following features onboard (some in HD and some in SD, as originally produced):

  • Cine-Explore viewing option with audio commentary by Brad Bird and Brad Lewis
  • Lifted (5:02)
  • Your Friend the Rat (11:16)
  • Fine Food and Film (13:54)
  • Animation Briefings (13 clips – 14:25 in all)
  • Documentary Shorts (10 shorts – 50:58 in all)
  • Deleted Scenes (3 scenes – 15:06 in all)
  • Deleted Shots R.I.P. (5 clips – 3:12 in all)
  • The Will (2:43)
  • Remembering Dan Lee (3:00)
  • Gusteau’s Gourmet Game (a BD-Java interactive game, playable with your remote)

The Lifted and Your Friend the Rat animated shorts are definitely the highlights of this material, though the actual behind-the-scenes clips do offer a fascinating look at the Pixar process. The Dan Lee tribute is a nice touch too, and the Fine Food and Film piece highlights the culinary creative effort (and the commitment it requires) as it compares to filmmaking. There’s also a Cine-Explore option that allows you to view the film with audio commentary by Bird and producer Brad Lewis, along with some of the video-based extras in a picture-in-picture window in the context of the film (you can break out briefly to other content too). And you get a Movies Anywhere Digital code on a paper insert.

Ratatouille is a delight, an original, refreshing, and heartwarming story about achieving your potential and following your passions whatever the odds. The film was great on Blu-ray but it’s even better in 4K with a lovely new HDR grade and Atmos sound mix. If you love the film, the Ultra HD is certainly recommended.

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

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