By Stan Lemon
Did you grow up on Dr. Seuss? If you were like me, you had a stack of Dr. Seuss books somewhere in your bedroom. Before I could read my mother read them to me, and after I could read I read them to myself. I have fond memories of the original Grinch that Stole Christmas – you know, the cartoon one (that may pre-date some of you). I was excited to see a classic Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hears a Who come to the big screen – especially with an all-star cast including Jim Carey (there’s something about him that just works for Dr. Seuss) and Steve Carrell (a personal favorite).
Horton is an Elephant living in the Jungle of Nool. Played by Jim Carey, you can imagine that Horton is a silly, fun-loving Elephant that has few worries in the world. Unlike the book, we see very little of Horton’s side kick Morton, though he does make an appearance closer to the end of the movie.
The movie opens with Horton teaching a bunch of smaller creatures in the jungle, but his lesson is quickly disrupted when out of no where comes a spec, a little teeny tiny piece of something, and Horton with his Elephant sized ears and Elephant sized hearing swears that he hears a yelling!
Before too long Horton’s hearing is disrupted by Kangaroo. Played by Carol Burnett this evil and overly protective mother is upset by Horton’s ridiculous idea that on this spec exists a teeny tiny world that cannot be seen. “If you can’t see or hear something it doesn’t exist!” proclaims the Kangaroo. Horton, though, is unwilling to concede. So the Kangaroo instructs Horton to keep such things as talking specs to himself.
Eventually Horton discovers the Mayor of Whoville, played by Steven Carrel. It happens almost accidentally when the Mayor hears Horton through a strange contraption strapped to the roof of his Mayoral office in Whoville. Lately the Mayor has been noticing some strange events, tremors in the ground and such, up to this point it has even made him wonder if there was something “out there”. The Mayor entrusts Horton with finding a safe home for the Who’s little spec, one where it won’t meet its destruction.
As Horton seeks out a safe place for Whoville he quickly realizes that the jungle is a “house of death”. Meanwhile, the jungle is going, well, a little jungle-crazy over this talking spec! We see creature after creature describing their own imaginary worlds, everyone making up whatever they want. The Kangaroo, still mad, tells Horton its time for the spec to go, but Horton replies, “A person is a person, no matter how small!”
Horton is determined to save Whoville, despite the Kangaroo and what seems like the very forces of nature working against him. Why? Because “an Elephant’s faithful 100%!” Horton made a promise, and he wasn’t about to fall through on it, so he risks everything, even his life for a tiny little spec called Whoville.
One wonders how you can possibly come up with a Christian spin on a Dr. Seuss novel, but this one shouldn’t be that much of a stretch. Here we have Horton, who the Mayor of Whoville refers to as “the big elephant in the sky”, and with as hokey as that sounds no one believes the poor Mayor of Whoville. We can sympathize, can’t we? We know there’s something bigger then life out there, a God and creator from whose divine hands we live each day. The world doesn’t seem to get it; they just look at us like we’re clueless talking about a giant elephant in the sky!
What does this big Elephant in the sky do? He risks his very life, to save a tiny little spec – something that would seem so trivial and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Our Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and suffered under Pontius Pilate for a mere spec!
Our Lord saves us from sin, death and the devil regardless of what we have done or what we will do. His death has freed us from the bonds of sin. Where we stand before God the Father eternally damned to the depths of hell, Jesus steps in and says “A person is a person, only in Christ!” He says this right up to the Cross where he hangs to die for every person, even a spec like you and me. Our big Elephant in the sky is faithful 100%, even when we aren’t!
Horton Hears a Who is a classic Dr. Seuss book turned into a pretty decent movie. Christians will recognize the similar story, Elephant (Jesus) saves spec (you) from the evil Kangaroo (Sin, death and the devil). A person is a person, only in Christ! While personally I could do without the brief anime interruption and the references to Facebook, this movie is still worth seeing in theaters. All in all, I give Horton Hears a Who four out of four Lemons!
Stan Lemon lives in Rural Ridge, PA with his wife Sara and dog Ivan. He is also the webmaster for Higher Things and generally speaking a pretty nice guy!
Created: March 31st, 2008