Little rat teaches moral lessons
(Image captured from Movie website activity book)
If you are like me and think The Incredibles was a great movie, then you’d love the new Pixar animated movie Ratatouille, about a rat becoming a chef in Paris, also directed by Brad Bird.
[Warning: potential plot spoiler follows.]
I love the movie in many ways but can be summarized into two main aspects: the artistry and the moral. On the surface, it seems that Pixar didn’t wow the audience with new CG tricks, but only if you look just a tad more carefully, you’d be easily impressed. The animators paid attention to important details such as texturing and shading; they make the 3D object look even more alive. A good example is with the rat, Remy’s hair, whether it’s dry, wet, or electrocuted. Also, water in this movie just look almost too surreal. I immediately fell in love with the work with that one scene at the beginning of the movie with hundreds of rats scurrying over water to escape from a mad woman. The movie also plays around with a lot of camera angles and difference lenses. Again subtle yet impressive which adds dimension to an animated film.
Many people love The Incredibles because of the moral behind it, and I’d say the same goes to Ratatouille. Except this time, the hero is not almighty with superhero abilities… Ok, Remy is far more than just a rat. Without being preachy, the movies teaches lots of morals such as not holding on to the past, maintaining one’s integrity, and question your own assumptions. The NY Times review said it was a moral conflict “between family obligation and individual ambition.” I think it was a conflict between individual ambition and the collectives. (Hm… maybe Bird is an Objectivist or has read the Fountainhead.) What’s worthy of celebrating in a hero is not just one’s natural talents, but more importantly, the challenges he has overcome in order to succeed, whether the challenges are internal or external. Remy certainly went through both in the movie. Remy used his talents, his passion for cooking, didn’t settle for what was expected of him as a rat, even at an overwhelming odds for success. It’s important to maintain one’s integrity at all time, regardless of whether it is expected of you by others. Remy learned that it’s wrong to steal food. But when he felt betrayed by Linguini (the human), he led his rat buddies into the kitchen to steal food. This of course backfired which led to Linguini severing their friendship. This ties into the theme of Remy’s journey to seek individual identity. The end of the movie cleverly indicated Remy’s success when he refused to go home with his rat friends or home with Linguini; he found his own.