Posted by: William | May 1, 2008

Horton Hears a Who

horton_hears_a_who It’s a bit late, I know, but this afternoon I was invited by my mother to go and see Horton Hears a Who in the theaters. I imagine it’ll be showing up on DVD in the next couple of months, so if you’re not pressed, I wouldn’t rush out to see it. However, I would like to recommend that you do eventually.

If you don’t know already, Horton Hears a Who is the adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s story about an elephant (Horton) who accidentally comes in contact with a tiny speck of dust, home to an entire race of microscopic people (Who’s). In Horton’s world, being an elephant with giant ears, he’s the only one equipped to hear these tiny people, and in the Who world, only the mayor, with his accidental pipe horn, is able to hear Horton. So in both of our main characters are surrounded by folks who do not believe in these unseen worlds. But naturally, our main characters stay true to their invisible companions.

Horton sets out to make the Who colony safe. He heads for a high up mountain safely protected from the dangers of jungle. A nosey kangaroo makes it her business to see Horton’s nonsense put to and end. In the Who world, the mayor is not taken seriously and constantly underminded by the city counsel, especially when he presents them with the preposterous idea of an “invisible elephant in the sky”.

It’s pretty difficult to miss the glaring political and spiritual undertones in this film. For a child, it will only be the simple and good lesson of “a person is a person, no matter how small.” But for adults, a far more profound commentary might be observed. There is no clear “God” figure, nor does it seem that any is intended to be one. But rather, the discussion seems more about faith and whether or not it legitimizes serious action in life. Horton’s actions to protect the Who people on the speck are set in stark contrast to the kangaroo’s attacks saying, “If you can’t see it, hear it, or feel it, it’s not there.” A sentiment that isn’t too far from some scholar’s claim that if you can’t test it or measure it, it’s not real.

Meanwhile, in the Who world, the mayor fights a similar battle. He knows the dangers that the Who people are in, yet when bringing these claims to the people, his ideas are met with great skepticism and unbelief. Not unlike many of the prophets.

There are also political implications, especially concerning the abortion debate. My mother (very active in the earlier Maryland pro-life movement) pointed out that the kangaroo’s sentiments were not unlike early feminist attempts to persuade the public that a growing fetus is not a person; a point to which Horton says, “a person is a person, no matter how small.”

I remarked to my mother after the movie that they don’t really write stories like this one any more. The morals were simple and clear. The humor was genuine and clean. Things were wrapped up very well and without any need for vengeance. I really enjoyed this movie, and I think you will too. Even if you don’t have kids, I recommend you pick this one up from the video store when it’s available. The kids will enjoy it and I think you’ll enjoy it too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: