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Animation and Anime

The Chemist checks out an extremely rough-cut test-screening of Brad Bird & Pixar's next... RATATOUILLE!!!

Hey folks, Harry here and the winner of the "I most wish I was this guy tonight" Award, which goes to The Chemist for getting to see RATATOUILLE about 8 months early. Sissafrassafrissafrass... Guess what... it's fucking great apparently... It's kinda unbelievable... it's so fucking good... but that's ok. Cuz if you're not The Chemist or one of his Vancouver, Washington neighbors that happened into this gloryhole of a screening... you've just gotta wait... FOREVER... to see this, with the knowledge that apparently it rivals FINDING NEMO as the Chemist's fave PIXAR film and that's with... like 8 months of work to go. That's with whole sequences in storyboard and greytone. Yeah... which means it's a friggin homerun... that we don't get to see till the middle of NEXT YEAR... when it's hot as hell outside and we're running from the global warming heat like Polar Bears in the Arctic. Sigh... Go see HAPPY FEET in IMAX and chill. It'll be RATATOUILLE time soon enough...

Hey Harry- Got handed an invite for a "free movie screening" today at my work today (11-20), advertising a "major studio animated film coming next year" to be shown at a local theater tonight. Luckily, a gal I work with also is the assistant manager at said theater and had told me it was a Disney flick, but even she didn't know what movie it was. Obviously, Ratatouille sprang to mind, so I RSVP'd and my wife and I went to the theater (Regal Cascade 16 Cinemas in Vancouver, Washington). After standing in line for almost two hours, we were checked thoroughly by security and ushered into the theater. Seating was about 400 people, with various sections of seating taped off for reserved seating. My wife and I were sitting halfway up the stadium seating at the end of an aisle. After the audience was seated, more people came in with notepads and recording devices and sat in the reserved seating scattered around the theater. The ushers then asked us to move to the middle of our aisle into the reserved seating to make room at the end of the aisle for more of these notepad carrying people, so we did. So we are seated dead center in the theater. Right below was about 5 more empty reserved seats. Then, a small group make their way down the aisle and sit right in front of us, and HOLY SHIT I recognize two of them immediately, Brad Bird and John Lasseter! I just about pissed my pants! Anyway, the MC gets on the mic and says welcome, blah blah blah, we are about to see Walt Disney and Pixar's next animated film, Ratatouille! He announced that we were the second test audience to ever see the movie. The film will be in various states of completion, and to stay afterwards to fill out a survey. So the lights dim, and the movie begins. Sorry if I spoil anything here. The movie was in a very incomplete state, with about a third of the movie being storyboards, a lot of gray-scale, then mostly incomplete animation. All the voice-work and sound effects were intact though. The few segments of nearly complete animation already looked fantastic. As far as the story goes, classic Pixar. The main character is a rat named Remy who has a passion for good food unlike the rest of his trash-eating clan. Remy finds himself paired up with a garbage boy named Linguini in a famous Paris restaurant. After accidentally creating a soup masterpiece, the duo hide the fact that the genius behind the cooking is Remy. Throughout the course of the movie, they battle the jealous head-chef and Paris's top food critic, all the while dealing with Remy's struggle of abandoning his family to pursue his dreams of fine cooking. The plot seems simple, but like any Brad Bird flick, it has a ton of heart and humor. Much of the action scenes were storyboards and gray-scale, but still promised to be dazzling when complete. The humor moments were hilarious and had the audience rolling. The voice acting was fantastic, with no recognizable A-list Hollywood stars to distract you from the characters, no singing in the edit that we saw either. The music was completely forgettable as it was just filler at this point I suspect. During the movie Lasseter would scribble down notes at various points. The movie lasted a little over an hour and a half, and was greeted with resounding applause by the audience. When the lights came up I look in front of me to see John Lasseter reach over and shake Brad Bird's hand with a huge smile on his face. The small group quickly gets up and starts leaving the aisle. I worked up the courage to stand up and tap Brad Bird on the shoulder and tell him "awesome movie", he smiles very politely and responds with a "thank you". Needless to say, my hand was shaking as I tried filling out the survey :) Anyway, I cant wait to see the finished movie. Personally I liked it better than The Incredibles, the rough cut we saw tonight was right up there with Finding Nemo, my personal Pixar favorite. Still in awe, The Chemist
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