By Steve Daly
Last Saturday night, a sneak preview of Pixar's new computer-animated movie, Ratatouille
(which opens for real on June 29), left gung-ho fanboys (and girls) in rapture. Online message boards abound with excited praise
, and no wonder. As it spins out the story of an aspiring chef who just happens to be a Parisian sewer rat named Remy (voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt), Ratatouille
garnishes its ingeniously staged action scenes with more omigod camera angles and tracking shots than an Orson Welles movie.
We caught up with writer/director Brad Bird (an eight-year contributor to The Simpsons
in the 1990s, as well as the guiding hand behind 1999's The Iron Giant
and 2004's The Incredibles
) to talk about his new ode to culinary artistry. Here's what he had to say about the ''ick'' factor of rats, the rigors of competing in a summer of endless sequels, how much he chafes at condescending attitudes about animation, and why the term ''brain trust'' gives him the willies.