Caught the early screening of Ratatouille with a group of friends and my younger cousins tonight, and a good time was had by all. Brad Bird's directorial touch is all over this one, and the story, voice-acting and animation are all superb. The story, in particular, is pretty great; it's just as much about Linguini as it about Rémy, and together, they handle their idealistic coming-of-age plights with equal virtuoso. The culinary world of Paris is captured beautifully, and for those wondering, yes, the dish ratatouille *does* come into play. :)
Giacchino's score deserves mention, too. It's got sort of a French-romanticism/salsa-esque thing going on; the instrumentation is far more eclectic and a little more laid back on the orchestral bombast than most of Giacchino's other works, making for a stylistically refreshing listen. It'll be a painful one and a half more weeks before I can pick up the soundtrack CD.
And as for the requisite pre-show short, "Lifted"..... think Close Encounters laced with incompetence. ;p Not quite as edgy or clever as One Man Band, but the usual impeccable comedic visual timing still ensures a very funny watch.
I'll catch Fantastic Four the next time around (the lines were out the door for FF tonight, by the way), but so far, Ratatouille ranks second place after Pirates 3 as the best movie I've seen this year. It sure beats the crap out of Shrek 3, and by stark contrast, it reaffirms the fact that Pixar is still the freaken best at what they do.