The God-Shaped Hole!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ratatouille - An inverse of Cars?

When I was telling my dad how great Ratatouille was, I said it was "better than Cars." He expressed doubt toward my evaluation. Later, when I was thinking about it, I realized I had not, in my mind, actually compared the two films, both of which I liked; once I did, I learned a lesson neither film explicitely stated.

Cars is a story about a talented young star, the best in his field, who learns a lesson about his own mortality, and gives up glory for friendship and honor.

Ratatouille is a story about a talented young unknown, gifted but bereft of resources, who gains a chance to prove himself, and uses family and friends to achieve greatness.

These stories seem, at second glance, to be polar opposites - one is about giving up fame and glory for friends and family, the other is about letting go of social bonds to seek greatness.

However, there is a common bond between the two stories. They are both about passion, about what a person thinks is beautiful and worth protecting or enhancing. Cars is about Lightning McQueen's love for the town and people of Radiator Springs, Ratatouille about Remy's love for creating fine cuisine. Both are willing to sacrifice their past, and willing to deny others' expectations of them, in order to achieve their dream.

The films are vitally different in this specific aspect: McQueen unconsciously accepts, then consciously rejects, the prevalent social mentality of his community of origination (the racing community and industry). Remy consciously rejects his family's expectations from the beginning, at first subtly, then in a double life, then flat-out making his own way.

They have a striking similarity: by chasing their dreams, they achieve both a family prour of them, and fame and success, though not as originally envisioned.

Both are about a passion for success, but there is a lesson to be learned in the differences of how each story illustrates success:

To be successful, you must define success for yourself, and strive for it.



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