Who thought a rat would be able to create some of the most delectable meals and star in one of the best Pixar films? 12 years on, Ratatouille remains a charming adventure with a big heart. Featuring a terrific voice cast including Lou Romano, Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Peter O'Toole, and Janeane Garofalo, this one is a perfect family-friendly flick for everyone in the group. Just make sure you have plenty of eats! Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava's rodent fest moves to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a nicely refined HDR10 presence and a spacious and active Dolby Atmos audio mix. Recommended.
Remy (Patton Oswalt) has a perfect nose for food. He's able to concoct the perfect combination of ingredients to craft some of the tastiest dishes ever made. He dreams of following in the footsteps of the famous French Chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett). The only problem is Remy is a rat and not exactly welcome in a kitchen! But with the help of the hapless garbage boy Linguini (Lou Romano), Remy will get his chance to prove himself and maybe even impress the soulless food critic Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole).
Read our original review for the standard Blu-ray.
As with a number of other folks, I was skeptical about Ratatouille being a viable endeavor. Something about the trailers failed to stick the landing with me and I let it pass me by in theaters. It wasn't until that first Blu-ray release that I saw the error of my ways. I was instantly charmed and hooked by Remy and his need to be himself and prove his talents. As I was just coming out of college it was the right movie at the right time for that theme to touch the cord it did. In the years since its release, I've come to pull it off the shelf at least once a year, so this 4K UHD release was the perfect opportunity to revisit one of my favorite flicks.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Ratatouille skitters its way onto 4K UHD Blu-ray courtesy of Disney in a two-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital set. The discs are housed in a standard sturdy 2-disc black 4K case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to Disney's typical language menu followed by the option to skip directly to the main feature or continue onto an animated main menu with traditional navigation options. All of the bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc which is identical to the released in November 2007.
Jumping into this new transfer for Ratatouille I wasn't 100% sure what to expect given the film's age. Would it be a 4K transfer akin to The Incredibles or along the lines of Toy Story and Toy Story 2? After giving this one a thorough going over, I'd say this 2.39:1 2160p HDR10 transfer edges closer towards those Toy Story films. The differences between the SDR Blu-ray and 4K UHD aren't immediately night and day - but with a little disc flipping, it becomes easier and easier to spot the differences.
Basic details are nearly identical between the two - however - the 4K UHD gets some extra textural resolution that's very noteworthy. Where the standard Blu-ray offered fine details in hairs on Remy's body or the cloth of Linguini's uniform, the added resolution with wider color gamut gives these textures a much richer presence. When Remy realizes he's in Paris and right next to Gusteau's restaurant the little red light bulbs are more precisely rendered while still offering a nice warm glow. Similarly, any text in the cookbook or when Ego is reading his newspaper is much sharper and easier to read.
Colors, contrast, and black levels are all around improved. Whites are nice and crispy looking without blooms. The whites of those chef uniforms are great, but when Remy is puppeteering Linguini inside his hat there's a nice white glow to the image that gives the inside some great shadow shading. Darker scenes in the tunnels of Paris offer some deep blacks that kick up the sense of natural depth. Given the age of the film, the object and character animations may not be as refined as more recent Pixar releases, but I'd say this presentation offers a notable improvement over the original Blu-ray.
You know, it's nice to hear Disney punch out an Atmos mix that doesn't have to be significantly boosted! Maybe they've turned a corner? From the opening moments of the film through the old lady firing off her shotgun and Remy getting lost in the sewers of Paris, there is some great surround and overhead activity that outpaces the old LPCM 5.1 audio mix while dwarfing the old Dolby Digital 5.1 track. As to be expected dialogue is clean and clear throughout and works even in the busiest of scenes. O'Toole's gravely voice even kicks some LFE once in a while! The mix has some nice layering of effects with the busy restaurant scenes so front, side, rear channels are moving while the overheads add some extra punch when necessary.
Like a lot of these Disney Atmos remixes, the front channels bare the brunt of the primary sound effects while sides and rears knock out the atmospherics and the beautiful Michael Giacchino score. Overheads do get some slight active moments to keep this soundscape lively and engaged, but they're really most active during the BIG moments. When the old lady starts shooting her ceiling and the rat colony breaks through - it's a thundering punch of LFE with amazing overhead punch. Likewise, any lightning strikes offer a significant overhead BOOM. I love it because those thunder cracks sent my cats to the floor like it was the 4th of July! Perhaps not the most amazing Atmos mix ever thrown out there, but I'm very happy with it!
The same set of bonus features are offered on the SDR Blu-ray. You still have to go through that convoluted menu scheme to get to all the bonus features. For a full review of that material check out our original review.
Ratatouille cooks up a fresh and delicious 4K UHD Blu-ray from Disney and Pixar. For this reviewer, it's one of the studios' most heartfelt features about having a dream and going for it, win or lose. On top of that, the idea of a rat controlling a human by pulling on his hair is a delightfully comedic notion that just puts a big smile on my face every time I see it.
Ratatouille lines up for a strong 4K UHD release that offers subtle but noteworthy refinements in textures and colors thanks to expanded resolution and a warm HDR10 presence. The Dolby Atmos mix rolls up some nice punch and presence where it counts without the need to blast your levels like previous Disney Atmos releases. Overall, this isn't a night and day upgrade, but it's worthwhile - especially if you didn't already own the original disc. Recommended.