If you are one of my regular readers, you know that I am a huge fan of good movies, and am happy and willing to be swept off my feet to fantasy places like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
This weekend, I experienced another such world, that of Remy the rat, who aspires to be a chef. When fate places Remy in the sewers of Paris, he has an opportunity to emerge in the kitchen of a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone Can Cook. Well, Remy does.
Pixar’s Ratatouille had a production budget of $150 Million, and has so far made about $350 Million in worldwide gross, despite being released alongside the new Harry Potter blockbuster (production budget $150 Million; worldwide gross to date $877 Million). [Here are two prior pieces on the last two Harry Potter books: Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.]
I have seen both movies, enjoyed both immensely, and highly recommend both without reservation. In both, I see great “Edutainment”, not so much the periodic table kind, but rather Edutainment that focuses on value orientation. Ratatouille’s message, Anyone Can Cook, really, is a universal message that anyone can do and be anything they choose to. Thus, Remy becomes the adorable Little Chef, celebrated by impossible-to-please restaurant critic, Anton Ego.
And in Harry Potter, simple eternal values like friendship, loyalty, and love continue to be championed amidst Lord Voldemort’s Dark Arts driven destruction.
I, for one, am happy for the generation of kids who have grown up with Harry Potter or Remy the Rat, for in this era of multimedia entertainment, such stories, told with so much impact, are bound to make an impression on these young minds.