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Ratatouille and The Incredibles

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Just wondering what everyone else thinks of these two films: The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

The Incredibles is one that I often hear promoted as a work of individualism. On the surface, and at the beginning of the movie, I can see why this conclusion might seem justifiable, but anyone who's watched the film from beginning to end would realize this is not the case. Near the beginning of the movie, the main conflict is that the Incredible family's talents are being suppressed by a bureaucratic society. They are not legally permitted to use their superpowers, and Mr Incredible, a former superhero, is reduced to working in insurance claims. He and his wife, in their naive attempts to "fit in" in society, encourage their children to hide their talents and refuse to profit from them. This could be the setup of a brilliant film, and after the first ten minutes or so, I was extremely excited to see where the story would go next. However, it all fell apart when the main villain was introduced, Syndrome. The "evil plot" of this man, which the Incredible family must foil? Legally selling devices on the free market that would enable all people to obtain superpowers. The justification for their stopping him, which made me literally groan out loud, was "if everyone's super, then no one will be." The unanswered question, of course, is why it is important that there is a hierarchy of talents in society as long as no one is sacrificed. This seems to me like nothing short of crypto-racism.

On the other hand, Ratatouille is sometimes maligned because of its admittedly ridiculous premise -- that of a rat working in a gourmet restaurant. But the premise is the setup for one of the many gratifying moral messages within the film -- in this case, "anyone is capable of success, as long as he or she is willing to put in the effort." The rat, Remy, comes from a large clan of rats where his special talent, a heightened sense of smell and taste, is considered worthless until it is realized that it can be used to detect poisons, at which point he is put to work sniffing food for potential toxins. Remy wants to be a gourmet chef, and idolizes Chef Gusteau, a chef whose motto, when he was alive, was "anyone can cook". (It's obvious from the context that this does not mean that anyone's cooking, at any time, is acceptable, but that anyone, if he or she is willing to have exacting standards, can learn to cook well.) He also disagrees with his family's sole method of acquiring food, theft -- he wants to consume only what he's produced himself. To that end, he runs away to Paris where, through a long series of (frankly hilarious) events, he learns to communicate with a busboy in Gusteau's now-failing restaurant, and uses his skills as a chef to help restore it to its former glory. I won't get into all the plot details here, but it's one of the funniest and most uplifting movies I have ever seen, and I strongly recommend it.

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The "evil plot" of this man, which the Incredible family must foil? Legally selling devices on the free market that would enable all people to obtain superpowers. The justification for their stopping him, which made me literally groan out loud, was "if everyone's super, then no one will be." The unanswered question, of course, is why it is important that there is a hierarchy of talents in society as long as no one is sacrificed. This seems to me like nothing short of crypto-racism.

Did you forget the part where Syndrome was murdering superheroes more or less out of jealousy? Where he was willing to put an entire city's lives at risk in order to glorify himself and be worshipped as a hero? Syndrome is the picture of talent and ambition wasted on a miserable second-hander. He didn't get the love and attention he thought he deserved from Mr. Incredible - boo hoo. Thereafter he just showed his total lack of concern for the rights of others in the interest of self-aggrandizement. There is nothing sympathetic about Syndrome.

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Ratatouille is one the great movies, certainly the best of Pixar.............

not just for the "Anyone can..." but as much the rest - "...but not everyone should."

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Syndrome is the picture of talent and ambition wasted on a miserable second-hander.

Absolutely. Besides, he's the one who says that if everyone is special then no one is, at least in connection with his plans. He set out to destroy the heroes.

But for all that, I like Ratatouille better.

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I just got The Incredibles on BluRay so I'm going to watch it again soon. I saw it a long time ago, but I want to have it more fresh in my mind before I comment further. Based on what I remember, I don't think I wholly agree with the OP's interpretation of the "moral of the story". Additionally, as others have mentioned, Syndrome was quite the rights violator.

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No the justification for stopping Syndrome was that he was using force against others to achieve his ends.

If he wanted to sell his products to make everyone "super" and did so without KILLING PEOPLE, more power to him.

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