Sunday, March 16, 2008

Horton Hears a Who

I've never before seen a movie where the bad guy was a home schooling mom, but that's the set up for the animated version of Seuss's Horton. My husband was much amused by Carol Burnett as the kangaroo mom who stuffs her joey down in her pouch to shelter him from realities she can't understand and from the evil she seeks out to put an end to what she perceives as Horton's delusion and wrong-teaching. I don't think my unschooling friends or my sister in law will be as amused, though the former seem to have fine senses of humor.
My son loved nearly everything about Horton, including the strange inserted anime sequence which he thought successfully represented the difference between the "real" world of the film and Horton's imaginary life (his defense against my critique that that sequence and a musical sequence at the end were needless pop-culture references as efforts to expand the film), and the notion that we are ourselves living on a speck from the point of view of the universe, though he's still mulling it all over. He can't really understand what was so threatening to the kangaroo about Horton's belief in the tiny people who lived on the speck, even if that belief was wrong -- he's trying to draw real world comparisons as it's very clear to him that it's allegorical. He felt dismayed that one individual could so easily incite an angry mob.
My daughter loved that one of the animal-children imagines a world where "ponies eat rainbows and poop butterflies." She can't wait to tell her friends about that part (the social message is lost on her for now, and otherwise she doesn't find the movie as interesting as, say, Enchanted).
For my part, I find Suess's allegory on point, and as such, the movie as one of the scariest I've seen in a long time -- though I did detect a note of progressive self-congratulating I never quite feel in Seuss himself.


Erin said...

I've been thinking about taking the bee to see it. She doesn't get to watch much television and WILL sit still for a movie that long because she is so not used to television it is a complete novelty.

Do you think there is anything that would scare my 20 month old?

abebech said...

Erin, there's nothing shocking or immediately frightening -- the scariest things are really higher thinking kind of things. My daughter wasn't scared at all, even by the mob in the end of the film (which, if you don't get the concept, is just a lot of yelling and threatening). The only objectionable language I can recall is "poop" -- and "boob" my husband adds.
I'm impressed that your daughter will sit still already!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see it. I love everything Dr. Seuss! I'm glad to hear those who carry on his work continue to give insight into radical (and silly) social conduct as he always did.

(It's Mia. I'm having trouble signing in today.)

abebech said...

Mia, I read a review of the film that called it schizophrenic, one part faithful. In some respects it's kind of fair, but still -- do go see it and tell me what you think!

patrick said...

Dr. Seuss is classic; after seeing Horton Hears a Who i was reminded how much that guy can pack into a simple storyline... they didn't add much to the original story either except for the usual Jim Carreyisms.