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"I don't like food - I love it! And if I don't love it, I don't swallow."
—Ego to Linguini

Anton Ego is one of the characters in Ratatouille.

Ratatouille[]

Ego is an imperious and acerbic food critic, said to be the most credible in all of France, whose reviews have been known to ruin restaurants. He strongly objected to Gusteau's motto of "Anyone can cook", and was a firm critic of the idealist chef, especially when he reviewed a copy of the book which gets its namesake from Gusteau's motto itself.

He eventually dined at Gusteau's one day, seemingly dissatisfied with the cuisine there and gave them a harsh review, causing it to lose one of its five stars, leading to Gusteau's depression and eventual death, as well as the loss of yet another star shortly thereafter. He compared Chef Gusteau to the Italian-American chef Chef Boyardee, another well-known and respected chef who became a frozen food mascot after his passing. This is also a reference to how Gusteau's brand image was also being used in a line of frozen food products shortly after his passing.

Ever since then, Gusteau's had been under the radar for quite a while, that is, until the arrival of Remy the rat and a certain Alfredo Linguini, collaborating together, albeit in secret.

When he had heard that Gusteau's were having a resurgence in popularity with Linguini as the new owner, he arrives at the restaurant during the middle of a press conference and personally offers a challenge to the restaurant in which they must deliver "their best shot" to impress him. Remy serves a simple peasant dish, a reimagined ratatouille (a play on words and the title namesake), which is so brilliant it takes Ego to his childhood memory of his mother's cooking. When he requests to see the chef, Linguini and Colette tell him to wait until after every customer has left the restaurant.

When closing hour has struck, Linguini reveals Remy. Ego initially believes it to be a jest, but after hearing Linguini explain, viewing Remy perfectly recreate the dish and asking an occasional question, he thanks them for the meal and leaves quietly.

A changed man, Ego finally understands what Gusteau's personal mantra of "Anyone can cook" meant: While not everyone can be a truly great artist, true talent can be found in the most unusual of places and backgrounds. He presents a shining review of the restaurant, and in particular, the chef (whom he does not publicly name).

Ego then loses his job and credibility as a critic when Gusteau's is closed down due to the presence of rats, but now leads a successful and a much happier life (as indicated by his less skinnier appearance and clearer skin towards the epilogue) as a small time business investor and regular patron of the small bistro La Ratatouille, with queues around the block, further implying the new restaurant's popularity.

Personality[]

The name Ego means "self-esteem," from the Roman meaning "I." This would allude to a certain level of vanity and arrogance on the part of Anton, hence his egotistic mannerisms. He has nothing but contempt for the people around him combined with a callous sense of humor and something of a sadistic streak. However, unlike Skinner, he is not presented as a man of pure evil. He shows a great amount of humility and indeed sentiment after eating Remy's dish of ratatouille and learning the secret of Gusteau's restaurant.

Ego is extremely passionate about food, claiming, "I don't like food, I love it," and claims to refuse to swallow food that he doesn't like, which explains why he's so thin.

He is a man of great taste and distinction, showing a knowledge of fine wines as well as food. His favorite wine is apparently a rare Chateau Cheval Blanc 1947.

Ego is rational and sophisticated and in terms of dress sense, he appears to be something of a dandy, completing his dark, dapper suit with a chic scarf.

Towards the ending of the film, Anton Ego is an example of a realistic villain, one who faces adverse action or reformation, rather than simply getting destroyed at the end.

Trivia[]

  • Anton Ego appears to be loosely based on Giulio Andreotti, the Italian Prime Minister and recent subject of the film Il Divo. They are very similar in both speech and physical appearance and both strike fear into those whose lives they can influence.
  • Ego is most likely a mixture of traits borrowed from the late horror actor, Vincent Price and British art critic, Brian Sewell.
  • Ego's appearance was modeled after Louis Jouvet.
  • Many fans have noted the similarities between Ego's design and that of the work of Tim Burton, a well-known movie director.
  • Ego's appearance is similar to Nosferatu, and his body build may also be inspired by that of a vulture.
  • Ego is also known as "The Grim Eater" within the press due to his cold behavior and thin figure, as well the choice of clothes and dark shades on his body further supports his intimidating appearance and demeanor.
  • At one point in the film, Bomb Voyage can be seen as a mime in the background. There is a young boy watching him do his tricks, and young Anton Ego can be seen (From Ego's flashback).
  • Anton's office is shaped as a coffin and his typewriter seems to have a skull motif on it, setting the mood of the character.
  • Ego can also be compared to critic Simon Cowell: both are extremely blunt and deliver especially harsh criticism to any performances that do not please them; both have nicknames associated with the Grim Reaper (Ego is called "The Grim Eater," while Simon has occasionally been called "The Grim Reaper"); and their critical reviews tend to "make or break" people.
    • In that case, Ego may also be likened to Gordon Ramsay, being a fierce critic of food, especially in the Kitchen Nightmares shows.

Gallery[]

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