Thursday, December 18, 2008

Horton Hears the Voice of God

My parents rented Horton Hears a Who! the other day and since I had nothing else going on, I decided to watch it with them. The film ended up being not that bad, which was a huge surprise given the fact that the beginning is mostly Jim Carey doing his same stupid shtick that he's been delivering for years, albeit this time in the form of an elephant. Steve Carell comes in at about the 20 minute mark and proceeds to make it a better film (but that's because he's a comedic genius and Carey is only interesting if you're 12).

While watching the film, I caught on to a hidden subtext that, when I brought it up, neither of them had caught on. I don't know if it's supposed to be there or if I'm just reading too much into it, but I felt like Horton Hears a Who! is really a thinly veiled religious tale straight out of the Bible. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the Mayor of Whoville:

-The Mayor hears a strange voice coming from the sky that he can't see or touch.
-He must put his faith in this unseen presence to get him though difficult times and save Whoville from destruction.
-He has to pass on the word of God to a crowd of unbelievers (he tells them, "You can't see him or feel him, but he's there!") and must "convert" them to save their lives.
-Once the unbelievers are converted, they must chant "We are here!" to this, and any, unknown forces above them to let them know just that: they exist and need him/them.

And while we're at it, let's discuss Horton:

-He hears a voice coming from some place he can't see and automatically has a blind faith in this voice.
-He must contend with a non-believer who ridicules his belief in something in he can't see.
-The non-believer goes so far as to resort to violence in order to squash Horton's beliefs (in Bible terms, this non-believer would be equivalent to the Romans).
-Horton stays true to his beliefs, even when everyone is telling him to give it up, and he is rewarded in the end with the knowledge that believing is better than seeing.

Who knew you could find this much subtext in a deceptively simple story meant for children?

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