Pixar Studios is renowned for cramming each of its films with the kind of visual gags, pop-culture references and Easter eggs that even the most attentive viewer would have trouble spotting first time round. And 2007’s critically-acclaimed box-office hit Ratatouille is no exception. Here’s a look at 40 blink-and-you’ll-miss-them-details which only confirm the culinary caper as a masterpiece.
40. Bomb Voyage
It’s fair to say that Pixar has definitely embraced the concept of the shared universe. The studio frequently alludes to its previous releases with each new film and The Incredibles is the most prominent in Ratatouille. Firstly, the villainous Bomb Voyage can be seen performing as a mime artist on the Notre Bridge.
39. Bomb Voyage again
Bomb Voyage also shows up in Ratatouille in a second scene, although this time around it’s only in print form. Indeed, if you look closely at the paper featuring Solene Le Claire’s latest review that Colette is perusing, you will see a familiar figure. As well as Bomb Voyage’s face, the front page also features his name in the headline.
38. The Incredibles underpants
One of the film’s funniest scenes is when Linguini ensures that Remy can gain access to the kitchen by hiding him in his underwear. And it’s not just any old underwear either. Indeed, the aspiring chef transports the rodent in a pair of briefs emblazoned with the logo of The Incredibles.
37. The Incredibles poster
The Incredibles love-in continues during the scene in which Remy the loveable rat is being chased by the dastardly Skinner on his scooter. When the villain briefly puts the brakes on, however, one particular thing stands out among the heavy traffic. And that’s a poster of none other than Mr. Incredible himself.
36. The A Bug’s Life reference
Yes, there’s also a reference to A Bug’s Life in Ratatouille, although you’d have to be a Pixar obsessive to have picked up on it. It comes when Linguini opens his fridge to reveal various Chinese takeaway boxes. And the design of these boxes just happens to be the same as that seen in the 1998 creepy-crawly classic.
35. The Finding Nemo caviar
The shout-out to Pixar’s 2003 aquatic adventure is a easy to spot. The pantry, owned by Gasteau, in which Remy is spotted nibbling on some cheese, boasts a selection of caviar. And the brand of this luxury food item shares its name with with the titular character in Finding Nemo.
34. The Pizza Planet truck
The Pizza Planet truck has been a staple of Pixar’s output ever since their first motion picture, Toy Story. But hats off if you managed to spot it in Ratatouille. The vehicle only briefly pops up on the Seine bridge in the scene were Remy is being hunted down by Skinner.
33. Dug from Up
This particular reference is purely speculative. We never actually get to see the dog who chases off Remy during one of the film’s most hair-raising scenes. But the canine shadow that we do see on the wall appears to be the perfect fit for Dug from another Pixar classic, Up.
32. Hal from WALL-E
This particular Easter egg only really made sense following the release of Pixar’s next feature. During the scene in which Linguini turns his apartment light on while attempting to bring his bicycle in, viewers can see he has unwanted company. But the cockroach that appears on his apartment wall isn’t just any ordinary cockroach. It’s Hal, WALL-E’s friend, from the Pixar classic which hit cinemas a year after Ratatouille.
31. The number A113
You have to be particularly eagle-eyed to notice the two references to Pixar bosses John Lasseter and Brad Bird’s old CalArts classroom. The first time the number A113 shows up is during the film-within-a-film that’s playing on a TV screen. And the second is when it’s seen inscribed on the tag of lab rat Git.
30. The Pixar lounge
You would probably have to be a Pixar employee to recognize the Easter egg referenced here. One of the storefronts seen in the film’s Parisian streets is named Bar Des 7 Chanceux. This is the French translation of the secret relaxation area that’s situated at Pixar’s headquarters, Lucky 7 Lounge.
29. The French Resistance
Ever wondered how the elderly lady whose attic Remy resides in is so handy with a shotgun? Well, if you look closely at several of the pictures framed around her lounge, then the answer becomes clear. Both she and her now-deceased spouse served in the French Resistance in the Second World War.
28. Remy’s name
Alongside Mabel and her dear departed husband’s past, the French Resistance is also referenced in the name of Ratatouille’s leading character. Yes, the film’s lovable rodent was christened in honor of Colonel Remy, the moniker used by Gilbert Renault. This real-life figure is known for being a WWII hero as a member of the resistance movement
27. Remy’s hygiene
Remy’s commitment to food hygiene is clearly second to none. In one particular scene the rat even leaps into a sink filled with soap and water. Why? So that his paws don’t dirty his ingredients. And to make doubly sure the food doesn’t get contaminated, he then keeps his front paws clean by walking entirely on his back paws.
26. The skull typewriter
Anton Ego is renowned for being the most fearsome food critic in all of the land. And the man sure seems keen to embrace his frightful reputation, judging by the way he writes his scathing reviews. The man, it seems, bashes them out on a typewriter which looks suspiciously like a skull.
25. The coffin office
You’re highly unlikely to find Anton Ego typing up his latest restaurant takedown in the corner of a coffee shop, though. In fact, the man appears to relish working in an environment which can only be described as utterly macabre. For his very distinctive office is decidedly coffin-like.
24. Belligerent Man Jumps in Seine
“Belligerent Man Jumps in Seine” reads one of the headlines placed alongside Linguini’s culinary exploits in Skinner’s newspaper. The “belligerent man” in question is, of course, the man who’s reading the newspaper at the time. And that would be Skinner. The villainous chef found himself in the water while unsuccessfully trying to hunt down Remy.
23. The oven rack burn
Ratatouille’s creators appeared to think about literally everything. One of the most frequent accidents when working as a professional chef is burning your skin on an oven rack. And this is something that Colette appears to know all too well, judging by the burn mark that can be spotted on her forearm.
22. The bite mark
When it comes to continuity, Pixar is second to none. During one particularly comical scene, Remy continually bites the young chef as he tries to capture the lovable hero. Later on in the film, when the pair have become best buds, one of the bite marks on Linguini’s hand is still clearly visible.
21. Ego’s rounder face
There’s one very subtle sign that the dishes at the restaurant have improved over the course of the film. Early on, fearsome reviewer Anton Ego reveals that if he doesn’t like the food he’s served he doesn’t swallow it. But by the end of the movie, Ego’s face is slightly rounder, implying that the critic is now swallowing more than spitting out.
20. The toothpaste cap
Pixar may be used to thinking big, but it also had to think small while making Ratatouille. One of the team’s most creative ideas was to use the cap from a toothpaste tube to serve as a drinking cup for the film’s critters. A normal-sized cup was then used as a seat for rodent-sized restaurant that Remy opens at the end of the film.
19. The tiny furniture
Remy’s miniature bistro was filled with items which usually serve a different purpose. Buttons double up as plates, ramekin dishes are used for tables and the lighting is provided by an array of Christmas illuminations. And the massive umbrellas are, in fact, the type that typically sit in a cocktail glass.
18. The foodstuff named after Ratatouille’s creators
You’d definitely need to be au fait with the creative team behind Pixar’s output to recognize the significance of various foodstuff in Ratatouille. You might be able to guess that Chateau-Bird Champagne was inspired by the film’s director, Brad Bird. But you’re probably less likely to know that the D. Louis olive oil was named after its art director, Dominique Louis.
17. More foodstuff named after Ratatouille’s creators
Elsewhere, Chateau-Jessup Pauillac Medoc was named in honor of Harley Jessup, a production designer on Ratatouille. The spaghetti brand known as Bouchiba was inspired by Bolhem Bouchiba, one of the film’s animators. And, in a move which can”t exactly be described as modest, producer Brad Lewis decided to give the kitchen mixer his name.
16. The anagram
Pixar also likes to make audiences use their brains when it comes to their characters’ names. Indeed, voiced by Brad Garrett, the head chef is known as Auguste Gusteau. Those of you who enjoy wordplay may have already noticed that both of his monikers are anagrams of one another.
15. The world-class chef
It’s no wonder that Anton Ego was so impressed by the ratatouille he was served towards the movie’s finale. Believe it or not, the dish was created by a real-life world-class chef. Yes, Thomas Keller, who works at Napa Valley’s highly esteemed restaurant French Laundry, was asked to use his culinary prowess to make the meal look as mouth-watering as possible.
14. Linguini’s bicycle
As well as the various food items, the Pixar crew also inspired the names of several other props. For instance, Linguini’s beloved bicycle is named J. Deamer in honor of Jason Deamer, the film’s lead character designer. Director of Photography Sharon Calahan is also immortalized in a similar manner. The motorcycle that Colette rides is branded Calahan.
13. Chef Boyardee
Ratatouille, it seems, isn’t averse to the odd bit of product placement. Although, it’s so subtle that it’s unlikely to have registered with many viewers. Anton Ego references Chef Boyardee in his penultimate review of Gusteau’s restaurant. This particular chef just happens to share a name with the tinned pasta brand that’s sold in stores across the world.
12. The kissing throwback
There’s a reason that Remy makes Linguini lean in for a kiss with Colette to stop her from macing him. He was, it seems, simply trying to replicate something he saw earlier. The rat had previously witnessed a woman brandishing a gun towards a man while exploring an apartment building. But just seconds later, he saw the potentially deadly incident turn into a romantic one when the couple locked lips.
11. Anthony Bourdain’s seal of approval
Pixar’s incredible attention to detail in Ratatouille didn’t go unnoticed by the culinary glitterati. None other than legendary chef, the late Anthony Bourdain, once told Entertainment Weekly, “They got the food, the reactions to food, and tiny details to food really right, down to the barely noticeable pink burns on one of the character’s forearms. I really thought it captured a passionate love of food in a way that very few other films have.”
10. The hidden Mickeys
Ratatouille hit cinemas a year after Pixar was bought by Disney. A fact which could explain why the movie features numerous visual references to the studio’s most iconic character. For instance, the three pans that Colette places on a stove in one particular scene resemble Mickey Mouse’s face from a sideways angle. Another Mickey can be spotted just before Mabel switches on the light when Remy is experimenting with strawberries and cheese.
9. The exterminator business
Ratatouille fans visiting Paris can actually stop by the store that features dead rats in its window. The animated shop display was based on Destruction des Animaux Nuisibles, a real-life exterminator business which was founded way back in 1872. Those who want to see it up close should head to the first arrondissement. And more specifically, number eight rue des Halles.
8. Alfredo Linguini’s name
Pasta connoisseurs may well have already figured this out, but both the human protagonist’s Christian and surnames are inspired by the foodstuff. Linguini is, of course, the spaghetti-esque pasta that can be regularly found in stores. And Alfredo sauce, mostly eaten with fettuccine, was invented by Italian cook Alfredo di Lelio.
7. The name of Remy’s father
Voiced by Hollywood actor Brian Dennehy, Remy’s father is named after the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. And the celebrated Belgian is also referenced in a short film which features on Ratatouille’s DVD release. In Your Friend the Rat, a stamp featuring the musician’s face can be seen in the background of one particular scene.
6. Ego’s wine is real
Anton Ego isn’t afraid to splash his cash when it comes to the wine list. The bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc 1947 he orders in one scene is an actual wine. And, in real-life, it would cost more than $2,000. The Grand Cru Bordeaux blend hails from the region of St. Emilion and would be at its most flavorsome sometime around the year 2050.
5. The Skinner box
Ratatouille’s villainous head chef is named after B.F. Skinner, the behavioral psychologist renowned for his work with rats. And the moment when the animated Skinner attempts to box up Remy was inspired by one of the man’s experiments. Indeed, the Skinner Box saw the psychologist put rats in a container and train them to get food by pushing a button.
4. The Rescuers homage
The film is also filled with references to movies from yesteryear. The scene in which Remy and his sibling Emile are shot at by a flame-haired woman pays homage to 1977’s The Rescuers. In this Disney classic, rodent heroes Bernard and Bianca are fired at by a shotgun-brandishing red-haired baddie named Madame Medusa.
3. The Secret of Nimh
Another, much darker, animated feature is also referenced elsewhere in Ratatouille. Indeed, fans of The Secret of Nimh may recognize the way in which a foreboding silhouette of glowing-eyed rodents suddenly appears when Remy is discussing his rat status. For this is exactly how the villainous creatures were shown in the 1982 classic.
2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
It’s not just animated movies that get the Ratatouille treatment, though. We first see Remy leaping from a window with the cook book he’s just stolen in a freeze-frame shot. This character introduction is very similar to the way in which Tuco was first shown to audiences in the classic western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
1. The Rocky montage
Ratatouille also pays homage to one of cinema’s greatest boxers in a memorable montage sequence. After assuming control of the kitchen, the rats begin using their culinary skills, with one in particular shown tenderizing a piece of raw steak by jabbing at it. This shot was inspired by the scene in Rocky where the titular hero uses massive slabs of beef as a makeshift punching bag.