Ratatouille is the next good movie from Brad Bird. He does more with animation than many directors do with live actors. I must admit that part of the reason I enjoyed the movie is that it is so heavily focused upon good food. Well, Thomas Keller consulted, so what can you expect. But the movie succeeds because it is not merely a 'follow your dreams' movie, although it is that. It has several other subplots, the 'acting' is genuine (so to speak), and the graphics are stunning. Watch this movie and then re-watch some old Pixar, such as Toy Story. The graphic difference is incredible. Is it an in-depth movie about the human condition? No, but it is entertaining and competently done, but is something to say.
Pan's Labyrinth, on the other hand, is a much darker movie. A Mexican film, it is known outside of English speaking countries as the Labyrinth of the Faun because Pan has connotations that the director did not want. Set in fascist Spain in 1944, the film function on one level as a simple tale of a girl who loves fairy tales living in a very dark time. Her father has died and her mother has married a brutal Captain in the Spanish army. She and her mother go to the mill where her step-father is in charge of a small garrison assigned with the charge of rooting out local resistance troops. The girl learns that she may be the lost daughter of a powerful fairy king who ran away to the mortal world. She has to prove her worth, though, by finishing three tasks before she can be accepted back.
Put this way, this story sounds trite, something for children. Indeed, when the film first came out in Mexico parents brought their kids, believing it to be a 'fantasy' story. It is not. The movie has some rather graphic violence. The movie's main interest, though, is a focus upon obedience. How much do we really value obedience? Is unquestioning obedience better than questioning obedience or even disobedience? It has been several days since I finished watching it, but I find my mind returning to it several times to ponder how various events support the director's theory. That alone should show that it is worth watching.