Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jul 6, 2007


I've been reading reviews of this movie over the past couple of days since I stumbled over one on the Randex. I can sympathize with director, who has spent considerable time trying to get people to stop drawing parallels between his work and Ayn Rand's. It's no fun to put a lot of work into writing something fun and original and be told that you're "Just like Tolkein" or "Just like Ayn Rand" or whatever.

Granted, he might have gotten away with it a little better if he hadn't directed a movie that is similar, in essentials, to The Fountainhead. Ratatouille is about someone that loves his work and is held back by society. Given, he's a rat, and he loves to cook, but Remy is sort of like Howard Roark. Some of the events in the movie are a little goofy, but it's supposed to be goofy.

I think the main characteristic of this movie is simply its benevolence. There isn't a really evil character to be found anywhere, although there is some underhandedness and the food critic is certainly fearsome. Instead of reducing this battle over the kitchen to unimportance, it elevates it into a battle royale between opposing forces. As a writer I find it difficult to get a good story out of everyday things like cooking. I consider this to be a deficiency and I always like it when someone else manages to do it. I think everyone needs to be reminded that there are important things in life other than shooting the bad guys.

Fighting the bad guys is easy: the lines are clearly drawn and it doesn't take great mental effort to arrive at the correct conclusions. It might require a lot of physical effort, but that's easy compared with the task of figuring out whether to, say, take someone's word on their abilities or sort out what is causing your office morale to sour. Yet all these little activities of astonishing difficulty go largely unnoticed. That's why I'm always pleased when someone shows one of those activities in a light that outlines what an important issue it is.

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