Betsy Speicher

Ratatouille (2007)

Rate this movie   20 votes

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  2. 2. Sense of Life or Personal Value

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22 posts in this topic

This is a great movie. All the Pixar movies are good, but this one is the one that most explicitly displays an Objectivism-compatible sense of life and values. I saw it yesterday evening and I was blown away. Highly recommended.

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My wife and I saw this last night. I really liked this movie - it's funny and very pro-individual. I expect that those who enjoy cooking will especially like this movie.

From a visual standpoint, the CG is state of the art - observe the water effects, and the lights-at-a-distance of Paris, for example.

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What surprised me was how pro-human the movie was. At one point Remy, the main character, says that he admires humans because they “discover and create.” This set of positive values is hard to find in the real world, and is especially surprise coming from a rat (albeit a animated rat.)

Value-wise, the movie was brilliant. And just for the sake of contrast; I remember another animated feature, The Ant Bully, which promoted straight out collectivism, at one point making a derogatory reference to human culture as a “Dog eat Dog world”, to which the wise ant replies, “that’s so barbaric.” Personally, I think a film that admires the lives of ants has some major flaws.

There are other films that, while funny, are tinged with cynicism. DreamWorks’s Over the Hedge and Shrek come to mind. The thing I like most about Pixar films is that there is almost a complete absence of cynicism in there films.

Brad Bird, the screenwriter and director of this film, seems to be a person devoted to values. His other Pixar film, The Incredibles, promoted much the same, pro-individuality, pro-greatness, pro-happiness values as seen in Ratatouille.

There is a speech made by a food critic at the end of the movie that I, as an objectivist, found both surprising and refreshing.

Even if you don’t have kids, go see Ratatouille, it is more mature then you might think, and well worth the eight dollar entrance fee.

-Ryan

P.S.- Ow, and I could write about the artistic merits of this film all day, but I’m afraid this would bore many of you, and leave me with carpal tonal syndrome.

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Wow! I'm quite eager to see this movie now, and to take my 5 year old, too. I love that there are movies out there with a great sense of life and values that I can share with my kids!

~Jenn

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I haven't had this much fun at the movies since...probably since The Incredibles. I too sat up and took notice when Remy the rat was admiring the inventiveness of humans.

Lately seeing previews for new movies has made my brain hurt -- Evan Almighty being the worst example. Ratatouille was the first movie in years I've been able to get excited about from watching the preview -- and the film was fully worthy of my expectations, and then some. The joyous sense of life of this film, the gorgeous visual effects with which it is executed, the imaginative comedy -- I loved every second of it, and I can't wait to see it again.

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I saw Ratatouille yesterday afternoon and truly LOVED it! I think everyone who's commented thus far has caught the most of the major elements of the film that make it such a wonderful experience. -- a marvelous sense of life and its possibilities, the celebration of not only creativity and achievement but of the work that makes those two possible. I second the mention of Mr. Ego's review which is one of the most inspiring and, therefore, moving things I've heard in a film in a very long time.

I can't wait to see it again!

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I took my mother, who is arguably the best Ecuadorian cook in Toronto, to see this movie on Saturday. She liked it. And I know this because she didn't fall asleep like she can easily do while watching a movie that she doesn't find interesting. Her only complaint was that it was about rats, which was not a very apetizing spectacle. I agree. I took a moment to explain that that makes the movie more dramatic because of course rats in a kitchen is a huge taboo, and so to make a rat a chef was quite clever.

It was a very inspiring movie because i related with Remy. As a writer I am convinced that anyone can learn how to write, similar to Gusteau's motto. I believe Miss Rand believed this too, though we would both agree that the task is very hard, as she explains in Hailey's speech.

And I'm sure that to many people Ayn Rand fans can be seen as rats, especially those who try to apply her ideas to business and other areas of life. To have the rats in Ratatouille end up being a positive force at the end was a sweet experience. We're the people who believe that everyone can think, and yet we're seen as if we can't think, as if we're just dirty pests, and yet our creations are often wondrous and clean because we actually care about what clean thinking is.

Jose.

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I took my mother, who is arguably the best Ecuadorian cook in Toronto, to see this movie on Saturday. She liked it. And I know this because she didn't fall asleep like she can easily do while watching a movie that she doesn't find interesting. Her only complaint was that it was about rats, which was not a very apetizing spectacle. I agree. I took a moment to explain that that makes the movie more dramatic because of course rats in a kitchen is a huge taboo, and so to make a rat a chef was quite clever.

It was a very inspiring movie because i related with Remy. As a writer I am convinced that anyone can learn how to write, similar to Gusteau's motto. I believe Miss Rand believed this too, though we would both agree that the task is very hard, as she explains in Hailey's speech.

And I'm sure that to many people Ayn Rand fans can be seen as rats, especially those who try to apply her ideas to business and other areas of life. To have the rats in Ratatouille end up being a positive force at the end was a sweet experience. We're the people who believe that everyone can think, and yet we're seen as if we can't think, as if we're just dirty pests, and yet our creations are often wondrous and clean because we actually care about what clean thinking is.

Jose.

I like your post, "bignosedcopperking". And since I am an aspiring writer with alot to learn about plot structure and other story elements(http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dgjr99hw_0s8cp3), now I really want to see Ratatouille. Thanks!

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Ratatouille (2007)

Wonderful. I did have to remind myself a few times that the rats were cartoon characters, especially when the entire horde swarms – particularly in places where rats should never be. The fact that the film-makers manage to get the audience to warm up to a rat in the kitchen just goes to show the power that good plot, characterization, and fantastic visuals can have in a film.

The animation was first-rate. The abundant physical-comedy (such as the scene in the restaurant-kitchen when Remy is under Linguini’s clothes) – the action sequences (like the motorcycle chase) – and the scenes of Paris all throughout the film, were just three of many areas in which it was clear that the success of the film depended upon the outstanding animation, in addition to a good story and characters.

There was a lot of attention to the details of the workings of a professional kitchen – the sights, sounds, and motion: the food, spices, storage-containers, and tools - the chopping and scraping food off of cutting boards - the clatter of pots, pans, and dishes - the sizzling of sautéing meat and vegetables - flames rising from a flambé - the gas lighting up, oven doors opening and slamming shut, carts of food and dishes rolling, soups and sauces bubbling and steaming, heat waves rising, - chefs, cooks, waiters and busboys racing to and fro, and finally - the presentation of the final product on the plate, which they made look yummy! All this attention to detail helped anchor the fantastical premise in some realism. It was quite an achievement to get an audience to buy the premise of a rat-hero whose strongest desire is to create gourmet meals because he simply cannot be content with eating garbage.

The dialog (and the actors who did the voices) were much better than is usual in the vast majority of films. And the comical situations and jokes were funny. Also, the G rating means that the laughter was provoked without ‘added color’ to the language. Even better, the lack of crude jokes did not mean that the audience must instead bear nothing but innocuous kitsch, and/or nauseating political correctness.

(Even if it was a bit of a cliché:

Colette: "I hate to be rude... but we're French!")

I found it amusing that (judging by accents alone) in France – the rats and the garbage-boy are American, the food-critic is British, and the French characters speak English with French-ish accents (in other words, with accents easily understood by American audiences).

[spoilers are blacked out (click and drag mouse over it to read what's underneath).]

I especially loved Peter O'Toole, whose voice and delivery were perfect for the fiendish food-critic whose erstwhile review of Gusteau’s had been so damaging. A favorite sequence was when Anton eats his dinner (what a great scene!),

and the food provokes in him such a poignant childhood memory (which I believed to be the exact intention of Remy), that Anton wishes to meet the chef. Then Anton actually deigns to wait until all the other customers have left in order to do so, and even then writes a good review!

The best film I've seen lately.

Question: In that little cartoon before the opening credits, was the boy in the bed supposed to be Linguini, and we’re supposed to be seeing how his mother died (squashed flat by an incompetent alien), so that he was left alone with nothing but his mother's letter? Or was that short totally unrelated to Ratatouille?

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Completely unrelated. They also had one before some of their other movies.

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:D :D :D

It's so much fun to see other people who react to the movie the same as I did, and "get it".

I know it's an animation, but this movie describes a certain atmosphere that is most compatible with my sense of life from all other movies I've ever seen.

*******************

Spoilers ahead

*******************

Here is what I enjoyed most in the movie:

Funny stuff:

  • The face of the food critique was funny as heck. They (the animators) did a great job in showing what a life of cynicism can do to a man's face. It was so emphasized that the only possible reaction was to laugh. (I also noticed I laughed at things when the rest of the audience was quiet. hmm... haha! :) )
  • The command of the father-rat "delta team!" (to go catch the health inspector) was hilarious! It was completely unexpected, that they have a squad of bully-rats team to handle cases where violence is required. It was also funny as heck when they tossed him, tied and mouth-covered, into the fridge-room.
  • Linguiny's struggle with the little chef on the first day of work, when he was biting and scratching him to control his actions in the kitchen.
  • "Tell the chef, I'll have whatever he dares to serve me". Great line, loved it. It was funny as well.
  • "Sorry to be rude, but we're French" (like Rose Lake mentioned). Oh, funny!
  • The way the little chef identified who the cook is right away (the most dangerous, pissed-off looking guy in the kitchen), and the intimidating, hot-tempered character of the chef (when the little chef just arrived at the restaurant), was funny (stuff like "If you screw it up, I'll boil your brain to get the fat out of it").

Plain good stuff:

  • How the little chef liked looking at the lights of Paris, and images of Paris lights against the sunset. Very romantic and pretty. :)
  • The approach of cooking of the little chef. The choice to cook was a desire and obsession - there was love of creation and respect for the product. He was driven by the vision of what is possible (in the realm of food). He insisted not to go by receipt, but to remain loyal to his perception of what would make the dish great. There were no compromises there, and his devotion to do great work was awesome - pure selfishness. I can make a comparison to a line said about Roark in TF: (paraphrasing) "The guy is in love with the building: he simply cannot take his hands off of it".
  • The good morals of the little chef, how creating is good while simply taking is not. That stealing is bad. The moment when he was about to eat something just to quiet his hunger (right after loosing his family), but then decided not to choose food indiscriminately like he was taught all his life - the moment of not caving in to teachings, and remaining loyal to his vision and outlook on life, and go find a way to earn worthy food.

That's all I remember now. Awesome, awesome movie!

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Question: In that little cartoon before the opening credits, was the boy in the bed supposed to be Linguini, and we’re supposed to be seeing how his mother died (squashed flat by an incompetent alien), so that he was left alone with nothing but his mother's letter? Or was that short totally unrelated to Ratatouille?

I thought it was meant to show us how nothing wakes Linguiny up. But now that you say it, I think you're right, it was also meant to show us how Linguiny became orphan.

This short cartoon was also very funny. The animators are really great with expressions. The faces on the big alien's face as he was watching the little alien struggle with buttons... that was very amusing... You could actually see the big alien thinking "you're hopeless" without saying a word.

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I also noticed I laughed at things when the rest of the audience was quiet. hmm... haha! :) )

That happens to me all the time. :)

This is one the few movies for which I'll buy the DVD when it's available.

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I also noticed I laughed at things when the rest of the audience was quiet. hmm... haha! :) )

That happens to me all the time. :)

I know a very happily married couple who went to see the film "A Thousand Clowns" when they were dating. The husband said he and his wife were the only ones laughing in certain parts of the film "and that's when I decided to marry her," he told me.

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I also noticed I laughed at things when the rest of the audience was quiet. hmm... haha! :) )

That happens to me all the time. :)

I know a very happily married couple who went to see the film "A Thousand Clowns" when they were dating. The husband said he and his wife were the only ones laughing in certain parts of the film "and that's when I decided to marry her," he told me.

Well, I'll have to see A Thousand Clowns, now. I've often wondered about it, since I've seen so many movies with Martin Balsam and think he was an excellent supporting actor, and, apparently, in A Thousand Clowns he is the lead. Is that true?

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Well, I'll have to see A Thousand Clowns, now. I've often wondered about it, since I've seen so many movies with Martin Balsam and think he was an excellent supporting actor, and, apparently, in A Thousand Clowns he is the lead. Is that true?
The lead was Jason Robards but Martin Balsam had a major role. (click here)

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:):D :D

Here is what I enjoyed most in the movie:

Funny stuff:

.....

Plain good stuff:

.....

That's quite some work to write down all those things. Good memory, too.

(P.S. I heard "bravo team" not "delta team." :) )

I'll add things I found funny or good as well:

Funny as burst-out-laughing-before-I-can-control-it:

- the truly ingenious setup for brother of the little chef who ate a lot of grapes, fell onto the floor, and lunched all the grapes at boy's head. :D

(to a small degree)

- Little Chef: "Do you ever think about what you put into mouth?" His I-eat-anything brother: "Every day."

Funny as ok-this-is-kind-of-funny-now:

- brother (lover of all that can be chewed) of the little chef checking out his belly after being stroke by a lightning and falling to a ground. "Man, that was rough.... How is my tummy? [While his mouth looks like he's testing his tongue.] Still operational? OK, good."

- Little Chef to his brother: "What are eating there?" "Hmm, I don't know. I think it was ... something." Of course, that didn't stop brother from eating the rest.

- Little Chef to his brother while teaching him about tastes:"Take a bite. No! Don't [pig out? - can't recall the verb] on the whole thing. Just take a small bite." Now, brother's face looks real funny as if he's thinking: "I'm sorry I took I giant bite, I couldn't help it. When I eat, I eat in largest chunks that fit into my mouth."

Good Stuff:

- Hmm, I thought I saw the quote before somewhere, but can't recall where:

"Where are you going?" "With some luck, forward." Granted "luck" is not a good option here, but given the mood of the moment during the movie, it was good enough anyway.

- L.Chef: "Why do I have to pretend?" Figment of imagination: "You don't. You never had to."

---------

One part I did not like was that "But they are family, stealing for them isn't stealing, it's ... Oh, it complicated!" (paraphrase) was not properly resolved. I would have preferred some small comment where this family-value is clarified by saying that stealing is stealing regardless.

Otherwise, the movie was great. I really enjoyed it.

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The moment that got me laughing alone was one of the reasons given for the jail-time one of the linecooks did: "I put a hole in the ozone layer." (I hope I got that right.)

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Funny as burst-out-laughing-before-I-can-control-it:

- the truly ingenious setup for brother of the little chef who ate a lot of grapes, fell onto the floor, and lunched [launched] all the grapes at boy's head. :)

(to a small degree)

- Little Chef: "Do you ever think about what you put into mouth?" His I-eat-anything brother: "Every day."

Funny as ok-this-is-kind-of-funny-now:

- brother (lover of all that can be chewed) of the little chef checking out his belly after being stroke by a lightning and falling to a ground. "Man, that was rough.... How is my tummy? [While his mouth looks like he's testing his tongue.] Still operational? OK, good."

- Little Chef to his brother: "What are eating there?" "Hmm, I don't know. I think it was ... something." Of course, that didn't stop brother from eating the rest.

- Little Chef to his brother while teaching him about tastes:"Take a bite. No! Don't [pig out? - can't recall the verb] [he says "Don't just hork it down!" I don't think 'hork' is a real word. In any case, I've never heard it before.] on the whole thing. Just take a small bite." Now, brother's face looks real funny as if he's thinking: "I'm sorry I took I giant bite, I couldn't help it. When I eat, I eat in largest chunks that fit into my mouth."

You seem to like the character of Remy's brother (named Emile - voice by Peter Sohn). So you may be interested in Podcast number 10 (titled Pixar's Hidden Talents) at the Disney website. Peter Sohn is not normally an actor. He is primarily an animator. But I think that his voice and delivery (as the brother Emile) and the situations and dialog scripted for him were pretty funny.

Disney Website for Ratatouille

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All I can say is "How does Brad Bird do it?"

I loved this movie!!! Many people have already done justice to it here, so I needn't say more.

This joins The Lives of Others and 300 as the must-see movies of 2007.

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