Sunday, July 01, 2007


It's always problematic when ideologues of any kind try to analyze cartoon movies, as generally their efforts at analysis leave the reader screeching: "It's...only...a...MOVIE! Get REAL!!!" I remember when people claimed The Lion King was sexist and homophobic. Or when The Incredibles was supposed to be some kind of conservative/libertarian/anti-liberal manifesto. (With a strangely French-sounding costume designer? Don't think so.) Or the right-wing outcry over Happy Feet.

Needless to say, I left Ratatouille convinced that the wingnutosphere would hate it. I mean, the characters are French, for God's sake! And those rats living in the ceilngs and sewers are symbolic of evil Muslim terrorists hiding among righteous Christians...right?

Relax. They didn't hate it. As a matter of fact, they're positively goofy in their praise of the movie. And I mean really goofy. From WorldNutDaffy:

[T]he overall storyline is very pro-capitalist, pro-individual and supportive of the gifts that the individual has no matter what his background or genetic makeup. The movie also has a reference to godliness in that old non-biblical saw about cleanliness, and there is a reference to heaven.

Obviously, the WorldNut dude ignores the collective efforts of the kitchen staff in the movie--shades of Communism, by golly! But let's not spoil the fun for him, okay? The best is still to come here:

The real Christian theology...

Yeah, you read that right. "The real Christian theology." In a movie about a cartoon rat. A-HEM! Back to the review.

The real Christian theology comes in the fact that the movie makes it clear anyone can be a chef, although not everyone can be a great chef. Thus, like the divine meritocracy instituted by the Declaration of Independence, the movie strongly suggests all people are created equal by God, who grants everyone the right to pursue personal happiness while pursuing individual service to God's divine authority. Whether the humanist pundits who believe in biological and economic determinism pick up on the radical nature of this premise is anyone's guess, but it is nice to see a movie taking the side of free enterprise and freedom to be who you want to be.

Meanwhile, Michael "Happy Feet has gay homosexuals" Medved also liked the movie. He couldn't find anything subversively left-wing about it. Even if it does feature French people.

"Ratatouille" may be the first Pixar movie that is so advanced, so sophisticated, it doesn't feel like it was made for kids.

Funny, I've seen other Pixar films that also looked pretty sophisticated. Anyway, Medved lays off the lame attempts at political analysis for once and avoids embarassing himself. He doesn't even notice that Janeane Garofolo is one of the voice actors.

Janeane Garofolo? Whooooooooops!