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An Honest Critic's Credo - courtesy of a 'toon

     

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[August 26, 2007] Anton Ego comes clean for all us.

 -by Lynn Becker

 


 

Being rather slow on the uptake, I just got around to seeing Pixar's Ratatouille. I expected to be amused, but I didn't expect to be blown away. The odds are long against your encountering a more accomplished film this year, certainly not one more visually stunning or entertaining. (Make sure to stay for the end titles, an homage to the classic title sequences created, often with his second wife Elaine, by the late, great Saul Bass for directors as different as Otto Preminger, Stanley Kramer, John Frankenheimer, and Alfred Hitchcock.)

Ratatouille is the kind of film that demands to be seen on the big screen. It's still in a small number of theaters - search it out.

I hope to write about Ratatouille in conjunction with another, strangely parallel film, Tom Twyker's Perfume, which was as reviled by American critics - wrongly, I believe - as Ratatouille has been praised.

For now, I leave you with the words screenwriter Brad Bird created for food ubercritic Anton Ego, brilliantly characterized by the inextinguishable Peter O'Toole.

Anton Ego, from Pixar's Ratatouille

It's as cogent a description of the art (?) of criticism as you're likely to find:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new . . .

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lynnbecker@lynnbecker.com

© Copyright 2007 Lynn Becker All rights reserved. (yeah, right - I can do it, too, Disney!)

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