It’s the world of a French restaurant in decline seen through the eyes of Remy, a rat with culinary aspirations, but there’s no magic involved here from writer / director Brad Bird. The film is a semi-accurate portrayal of a rat and human relationship existing in the modern world. Pixar, as always, delivered incredible animation creating a realistic restaurant, a workable kitchen. They built Paris in pixels.
The characters in ‘Ratatouille’ are cartoonish — puffed, wide-eyed and stylized, but the rest of the film is decidedly photo-real. The restaurant and its inner-workings are exact. Precise.
For the Mondo Gallery and Disney exhibit ‘Nothing’s Impossible‘ artist Aaron Horkey tackled ‘Ratatouille’ in his piece ‘Remy Adrift.’ Horkey imagined a realistic Remy the rodent chef, applying the rules established by Bird and his Pixar team to the lead rat.
Horkey re-created an early scene from the film that is overwrought with animated drama — the waves oversized for the little rat, lost at sea after his family escaped the storm, leaving Remy on his own. Horkey finds the loss and sadness in the moment while keeping the humor of the film firmly front and center — a rat afloat on a cookbook with an oar of cheese.
It’s difficult to deconstruct ‘Remy Afloat’ and lay out all of its working parts to see what makes it a beautifully somber yet fun work. Horkey, known and loved for his decorative text design uses very little of that here. There are no titles on the canvas, just a nod to his expertise on the cookbook. By leaving out his popular and elaborate script the focus stays with Remy and his ordeal.
The film itself is not known for having a heart like other Pixar films like ‘Up’, ‘Finding Nemo’, or ‘Toy Story,’ yet that’s exactly what Horkey is able to find in ‘Remy Adrift.’