"I can't help thinking of [philosopher Friedrich] Nietzsche and his idea that some people are better and more deserving than others," says Mikita Brottman, professor of language and literature at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.
"The movie salutes Superman," Dr. Brottman adds. "Not the 'superman' in comic books but the one [despots] believe in. Its idea seems to be that even in a democracy some people are 'more equal' than others, and the rest of us shouldn't be so presumptuous as to get in their way."
To a certain extent it's probably true. Pixar's movies tend to be morality plays that encourage, beg even, this sort of reading too much into them. They are also pretty good at playing it both ways.
My Mum's convinced, for example, that A Bug's Life is a sort of updated Ragged Trousered Philanthropists for the ADD generation. And it's an entirely reasonable interpretation, especially if you look on the grasshopper's as a sort of bourgousie exploiting the ant workers, and view the ant's finally standing up to them as the sort of collective action that propelled the unions.
The film, however, also managed to play it the other way by centering on a group of misfits who's individuality is what makes them special. Flik, the main ant, is the sort of Capraesque everyant who's slightly skewed look on things gives him an insight into what's right that is much more profound than the staid committees that he pushes against.
So, plucky individualism trumps the inertia that unions can create...
Wait, what was the message again?
Of course, Shark Tale is definitely about coming out.