Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Horton hears a Who???

On Saturday my family and I went to see the movie Horton hears a Who! I went simply because I really enjoy spending time with my wife and kids. Every time we plan these family movie days, at the back of my mind I typically think "this is going to be another one of those long drawn out kids cartoons." You see, I'm somewhat partial to the mindless, adrenaline pumping action movies that make you want to hit someone as you leave the theater (oops, did I say that?). I loved Horton! I liked it even better than Ratatouille, and that's saying a lot since I'm a gourmet food lover (hence my passion for road biking).

My favorite parts of the movie were the myriad spiritual lessons unwittingly embedded in the story. Horton on the one hand represents the Christian who is called to make a significant difference that will change lives. He is villified, ridiculed and laughed at for believing in a "fantasy" yet he doggedly ploughs on knowing that he has an assignment that can be carried out by no one else. Then there's the Who. Who are they (pun intended)? Well they are a group of people whose very survival is dependent completely on a being that they can't see and don't believe exists. Like our world, they are myopic and arrogant enough to think that life begins and ends with them. Unknown to them though, they are about to face a rude awakening. There is a plot to "boil" their little world in a pot of hot oil, yet they don't even believe that there is a world beyond theirs.

I know that there are lessons along the way in everyday life, but sometimes I am pleasantly surprised when even Hollywood delivers those lessons most succinctly. Horton, in his completely selfless sacrifice to ensure that the Who don't become extinct, is willing to pay the ultimate price of estrangement from his community and potentially death. Hmmm I think that's a familiar story line, except that the original story has far greater stakes than a fictional town on a flower getting fried in hot oil. So, I know Horton hears a Who! But the question really is, Who do you hear?


Hope said...

Joseph, I'm happy and maybe a little embarassed that I saw the original animated version of this story on t.v. many years ago and I've saved the book for my grandchildren to be. I was young enough to enjoy it, and old enough that the shouts of "boil that dustspeck" rang out injustice in my ears. What a wonderful analogy you've made. It's a little sad that there are some of us who deny themselves contact with the world in which we live. How can we relate to them on their terms if we ostracize ourselves from the secular things in life? This is a great opening for a Christian to start up a conversation that may lead who knows where.

Joseph said...

Well said Hope, well said!

patrick said...

Dr. Seuss is classic, i forgot how much that guy packed into such simple storylines... they didn't add much to the original story either except for the usual Jim Carreyisms.