One of the “joys” of living outside the city limits is not being under the fireworks ban. It’s great being serenaded to bed late into the night, each night, for a week leading up to July 4th. Anyway…

Last night, Jana and I saw the latest Pixar offering Ratatouille. For a Pixar film it has gone under the radar a bit. As I read earlier in the day, it’s a bit difficult to market a rat in France. Plus, the summer movie season has been deluged with big budget films and sequels. Spider-Man, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Die Hard, Evan Almighty, Fantastic Four, blah, blah, blah…

I’m glad Ratatouille is the first film I’ve seen in awhile. Amazing. Brilliant. This is Pixar at its finest. Innovative and original throughout the film. The animation continues to be cutting edge. The story is enjoyable for all ages, with elements that only adults will get.

The last Pixar film, Cars, was fine, but it was brain candy. It also came off as something Pixar didn’t sink as much time into because of their drawn out contract negotiations with Disney. Ratatouille is welcome return, a seven course meal. It rates up there with the best Pixar films (IMO, Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and The Incredibles). As much as I enjoyed The Incredibles, this film’s idea was not ripped off from another source which makes it even better. (Yeah, you could almost say the two Fantastic Four films are sequels of The Incredibles which was an adaptation of the Fantastic Four comic.)

And, you always have a great opening act with the latest Pixar animated short. This time, it was a piece called Lifted. I wonder what Fox Mulder would think of it.

A nice surprise was the sparse crowd. With 50,000 at Memorial Park for fireworks and a free concert, Roger Waters at the Qwest and Die Hard 4 also in its opening weekend the movie wasn’t sold out. No matter, at the end of it there were still many of us applauding the film, which is rare in the midwest. (Serenity was the last movie I saw, in Omaha, where applause occurred at the end.)

Treat yourself and go see Ratatouille.

On Monday I’ll hope Michael Bay did Transformers justice.

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