Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Has there ever been a good movie to watch on an aircraft?

Sure, you got yer crowd-pleasing safe bets – yer Transformers, yer Pirates Of The Carribeans, even yer Jurassic Parks. However once they've been reduced down to the size of a disastrously-placed antimacassar, somehow even they become a focus for forgiveness in order to get through the flight, rather than the breathtaking masterpieces they might otherwise be considered.

Recently, despite Herschel's pressure, I utterly failed to catch Ratatouille on its theatrical release. It got something of a mixed last chance therefore when I found it airing on Cathay Pacific's inbound long-haul flights to Hong Kong this month.

Struggling to make it through the dreadfully fuzzy picture and painfully distorted sound on only one channel (like I said, you make every effort to forgive these things on flights for as long as it takes), was a fairly by-the-numbers Pixar romp about, as the title suggests, a rat teaching a human to cook in old-fashioned Paris. (as I said, the title was a bit fuzzy)

That's not a criticism though – this movie successfully overcame such incredible obstacles and actually gave me a passable 90 minutes, albeit with the headset pushed up against one ear, and one hand constantly adjusting the volume. Now I understand why Lieutenant Uhura usually sits like that.

Ratatouille also bravely avoided endowing the rat with the power of speech. Sure, he could communicate with his ratty friends no problem, but the language barrier with humans provided a wonderful opportunity for the two friends to build up a non-verbal rapport from nothing but a silent, respectful need for each other. I could even cite this as a metaphor for the need for understanding and reconciliation for our time – something today's kids are criminally protected from by producers' blinkered drive to make everything relevant – especially since even the film's setting is another country and, it sure feels like, another time. Flip, this movie's getting better by the word.

Anyhew, after changing flights with a whole ten minutes to spare at Hong Kong, would you believe that the second flight actually put on the wrong set of entertainment for the outbound flight to London, and so I took the chance to watch five minutes of it again. After all, this aircraft boasted bigger TVs!

Ooh, it was good. The picture was sharp, the audio was clear and in both ears, and there seemed to be rather more gags and detail in both the picture and sound. Suddenly I was transported off of that plane and into another world, just as the filmmakers had intended. Had I sat through the whole thing again, I might well have found another film entirely hiding in all those pixels.

Couldn't have that though – I'd enjoyed the first version too much.


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