I saw Ratatouille with the family this weekend. It is the first CG movie that we all really liked a lot. Brad Bird is really on fire-- I think I liked this movie better than the Iron Giant which was terrific. One thing I especially liked was the lack of big-name actors who are not voice actors. Watch the Toy Story movies and the watch some old Disney (e.g. Jungle Book) and you will see just how much using screen actors for voice talent hurts animated movies. Spongebob and the Simpsons would be awful if they used Tom Hanks and John Travolta. I hope Ratatouille makes a zillion dollars and will show that the director and studio is enough to bring in the crowds.
In addition to being a terrific movie, the rendering passed some threshold for me. Previous CG movies have always looked flat to me, with Shrek 2/3 being better due to their use of indirect bounces I assume. But Ratatouille had even more depth. It is the best looking CG movie I have seen by a long shot. As much depth as live action I think. I have no idea what is different, but I have to suspect global illumination given my prejudices. If it was done with hand-placed fill lights, then the artists must be on performance-enhancing drugs! If anybody knows please reply.