Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (review)

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The Passion of the Horton

Aghast is the word. It’s not a word that should be applicable to anything Seussical. But this is what I felt as I stumbled from my Saturday morning screening of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! and immediately hied myself to a bookstore to pick up a copy of the Ted Geisel children’s book upon which this is based. Because I could not imagine that the gist of what was up on the screen was actually present in the book. I mean, I’d read it as a kid, but, you know, kids don’t pick up on subtext, and maybe there was something I’d missed as a tyke.
But no. I didn’t miss anything. If there’s any “agenda” at all to Geisel’s book, about a kindly elephant who learns of very, very tiny people living on a speck of pollen and devotes himself to getting them to safety even as his fellow jungle residents scoff at him — hearing voices? tiny people? *snort* — then it is merely this: It is its own reward to be nice to people, even if they don’t look like you. Stretch it all some more, and maybe Geisel, writing in the 1950s, was creating an extremely heavily veiled parable about racism. Maybe.

And what has Hollywood done with this gentle plea for tolerance? It has been turned into something that looks astonishingly like far-right propaganda about how Christians are a persecuted minority — as if this were 100AD in the Roman Empire — and loudmouthed atheists are ruining everything. I know the movie industry is supposed to be full of evil liberals out to kill God and everything decent in the world, but there honestly doesn’t seem to be any other way to interpret the ham-fisted and weirdly confused allegory about conformity — it’s both good and bad! — and principle.

Would that that were a joke. But what’s really insidious here is that the script — by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, who also wrote Bubble Boy and the new College Road Trip, which proves that there is no sin you can commit that will cause Hollywood to shun you — follows the story of the book pretty closely. It’s in how they flesh out a brief picture book into a feature-length film that the weird ickiness comes, in all those little — and some not so little — extrapolations that expand it. The titular elephant (voiced by Jim Carrey [The Number 23, Fun with Dick & Jane], who manages to refrain from the excessive and distracting Jim Carrey-ness that often mars his performances) is far more besieged by the creatures of the jungle here, led by the harpyish Kangaroo (the voice of Carol Burnett: The Trumpet of the Swan), who goes on a rampage of indignation over Horton’s attention to the speck. Daurio and Paul’s escalation of Kangaroo could have retained her mocking of Horton while still going in any one of several different directions, but where they take her is into an unpleasant parody of atheists. “If you can’t see it, hear it, or feel it, it doesn’t exist,” Kangaroo rages — something she does not come anywhere near saying in the book, and something that is a strawman characterization of secular religious nonbelief. (No atheist would deny the existence of, say, neutrons.) “Horton is a menace” is Kangaroo’s justification for her attempts to squash the pachyderm, a “sick” influence on the children of the jungle. Except he isn’t, as far as we can see — he’s not, for instance, advocating that the speck theory of creation be taught in the public schools of the jungle. But Kangaroo is the villain — she’s the unreasonable one here. If the screenwriters really wanted to demonize her, they could have simply renamed her Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

But that’s all as nothing when your jaw drops to see how far the movie goes in inventing more story on the speck side of things, in the tiny world of Whoville, where the dimbulb Mayor (the voice of Steve Carell: Dan in Real Life, Evan Almighty) is the only one who can hear Horton. He runs around the curlicue city — it’s really a shame that the tone and attitude of the film is so vile, because the animation really is gorgeous — yelling that the sky is falling but that the big invisible voice in the heavens will save them all if only everyone listens to him. Did I mention the big dubyas– I mean, Ws all over the place, like in the Mayor’s office? True, the Mayor is an idiot — “I’ve been called a boob, several times,” he says without, apparently, any regret — but his people are even dumber, barely noticing all the upheavals to their world (like the fact that the sky shifts, in mere seconds, from day to night, day to night, as Horton shades and unshades the speck with his ear). And they will only be saved once they accept that the Mayor has a direct line to God– I mean, Horton, and because of that hotline, the Mayor, and the Mayor alone, has an understanding of the threat facing all of Whoville. Before that happens, though, the Mayor comes under scoffing, too: “You’re finished,” a councilman tells him. “No one believes you. No one supports you.” Will the people of Whoville stand by their belief in democracy even if it means they’re doomed? Or will they come to their senses and accept that the Mayor knows what’s best for them, even if he is an idiot?

Needless to say, none of this is hinted at in the book, either.

Perhaps the worst thing, from the perspective of someone who doesn’t want to see reason so utterly turned on its head like this, is that if you argue with the film, you invariably end up sounding like Kangaroo, because the way this sweet story has been adapted leaves no room for anything else. Geisel’s book was ambiguous enough in its essence that it can be, and has been, appropriated by people all over the political and philosophical spectrum. (Antiabortionists, for instance, love that “a person is a person, no matter how small” line.) But this movie, in its attempt to expand on the book, instead diminishes it, reduces it to something that cannot be seen except in one narrow sense. It has taken a timeless work and turned it into a cheap artifact of this immediate moment. We’ll still be reading Dr. Seuss a century from now, but this desecration of him will be long forgotten.

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Jordan Short
Jordan Short
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 9:38am

It’s funny. . .

Out of all of the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes, you were the only one (that I saw & I scanned them all) who came to this conclusion about “religion” and “God” being forced upon the audience.

Sounds like you came into the viewing with some preconceptions. . .

cheffy
cheffy
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 9:48am

Wow, talk about reading way too much into things. How about reviewing the movie for the movie itself… not trying to read into what it might mean.

#1. It’s a kids movie
#2. It’s not trying to go above any ones head

Sometimes a tree is just a tree. And sometimes a kid’s movie is just a kid’s movie. What probably threw you was that it wasn’t full of bathroom jokes so you assumed there must be something more too it.

Please… this isn’t a movie review it’s a misplaced political tirade.

Bethany Eschen-Pipes
Bethany Eschen-Pipes
reply to  cheffy
Tue, Sep 16, 2014 5:58pm

Yes, but all good children’s media – the kind that lasts – have some depth to them. Saying, “Oh, come on, it’s just a kid’s movie!” is insulting children’s intelligence.

cheffy
cheffy
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 9:52am

Followup: W is for the Who’s from Whoville. Whoville was created long before the year 2000.

postman
postman
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:23am

Wow, this was kind of painful to read. I was going through all the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and this one really sticks out like a sore thumb. I know it’s just your opinion, but I have to say I was squirming in my seat as I read your review. I’m embarassed for you, because I think alot of people will be heading over to your page to read this. But may be that’s all you wanted.

Either way, this was a ridiculous review. At least you admit in your bio that you drink way too much. You should probably avoid posting review to children’s movies after doing so, though.

west
west
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:27am

I have to admit that the points you brought up are one’s that I commonly notice in movies, and yes they get under my skin, but I have to also admit that you failed to really review the movie. Your point was worth mentioning though.

Harrison
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:28am

So much for just enjoying a family film that isn’t laced with inneuendos about all things garbage. Good nor evil is done in isolation, but by no means does everything have to be viewed as political or religious manipulation. Enjoy the film, enjoy Seuss, and please just enjoy positive and redeeming messages.

Cosmo Brown
Cosmo Brown
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:33am

You say the movie can only be seen in “one narrow sense.” Yet in reading the reviews, it appears that you’re the only one who saw it in that narrow sense. So which is narrow-minded, the movie or the reviewer? I’d have to go with the latter.

Edmund WE Hughes, JR
Edmund WE Hughes, JR
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:33am

Let me guess; you’re not religious, and any movie with a Christian appeal or overtoes is abhorent to you. (Were you also offended by Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? – both have Christian themes and influences.)Christians are usually the ones that are accused of intolerance and paranoia, but in this case your are identifying yourself as being a paranoid Secular Progressive who is overly sensitive to the theme of a movie that “may” have Christian influences.

I have not seen the movie, but I have three kids and own most of the Dr. Seuss books. Many Dr. Seuss books have Universal themes that are shared by several religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, etc. I’ll reserve final judgement until I actually see the movie with my kids, but I won’t be worried or insulted if I pick up on a Christian theme – better a Christian theme than some politically-correct, Fascist, directive from Al Gore, Mike Moore, or other deranged, Secular Proggressive nut job.

bobby
bobby
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:38am

I saw a preview screening of this film and after reading your review all I can say is Wow!!!. I think you are completely off base. I think that the movie is really true to Suess’ original intent. I do not think there is anything off base in how the kangaroo “rages”. In the original book, the Kangaroo and monkeys are seen caging Horton and ready to throw the clover into Beezlenut juice, just like the movie. If that isn’t an intense moment for a children’s book, I don’t know what is. The animals were not just mocking him. I remember being really scared by that moment as a child. So I don’t think the film makers got this aspect wrong. If anything, I think this is the most faithful adaptation I have seen of anything done by Seuss on the big screen and I would rank it closely with the old chuck jones films.
I also enjoyed the way they fleshed out the characters of whoville. I found that i cared about the mayor and his family. It makes the drama of the story more powerful, when you have an emotional attachment to the characters, while not destroying the dynamics of the original book.
I do not think this is a right wing movie. If anything, I think it gives an interesting look at the way good individuals can become a very dangerous mob, when their leaders prey on their fears. I do not think this is a left wing movie either. In the end, I think the movie adheres to the original message of tolerance.
I think you really missed the point on this one. One moment you are saying it is pro christian, the next you are saying it is Anti Bush. Maybe the W in the mayor’s office stands for Whoville. Perhaps you should leave the reviewing of sweet children’s movies to someone else. You are trying to read into things that aren’t there.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:39am

I’m embarassed for you, because I think alot of people will be heading over to your page to read this. But may be that’s all you wanted.

Yup, that’s it. This review isn’t actually reflective of what I think of the film, it’s just a ploy to get people to visit my site. Geez. You’re on to me. What shall I do?

Many Dr. Seuss books have Universal themes that are shared by several religions

Yes, of course that’s true. But as I said in the review, there are attitudes in this movie that are not in the book.

I won’t be worried or insulted if I pick up on a Christian theme – better a Christian theme than some politically-correct, Fascist, directive from Al Gore, Mike Moore, or other deranged, Secular Proggressive nut job.

So, then, you *would be* worried if you picked up on an attitude in the film that wasn’t in the book and that you disagreed with? Would that be different than what I’ve written here?

Followup: W is for the Who’s from Whoville. Whoville was created long before the year 2000.

Oh my goodness? Really and truly? Well, then, that negates everything I’ve written. Because everyone knows that something cannot possibly have two meanings at the same time. And filmmakers adapting books never, ever interpret those works through new lenses.

snead
snead
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:40am

Finally! I thought I was the only one who saw it! Though you forgot to mention how the pink clovers clearly represent the right-wing’s fear of the sinister gay agenda! Oh, and how convenient that Vlad the eagle has a Russian accent — like we’re not supposed to see this thinly veiled attempt to scare us by raising the spectre of the communist menace! And the “leaf bugs” that Horton claims to study, as if we couldn’t recognize a marijuana plant when we see one! Be strong, sister. Don’t let the bastards get you down. And keep watching the skies!! Keep! Watching! The! Skies!

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:43am

One moment you are saying it is pro christian, the next you are saying it is Anti Bush.

No, I’m saying it’s pro-Bush. The Mayor of Whoville — the Bush stand-in — claims to talk to God… and he actually does! And his talking to God is what will save the people of Whoville!

Elodie
Elodie
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:44am

Wordy drunken tirades have no place in children’s movie reviews! Funny that most of the bad reviews on Rotten Tomatoes come from New York – cultural wasteland.

Peter
Peter
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:00am

The script was done by the guys that did Bubble Boy and College Road Trip soooo ……. I think a tree is just a tree here, although I’m pleased that it had your reaction. I’ll point it out to my kids now so they can taught correctly about the true meaning of the story. Thanks!

j
j
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:01am

having worked on the film, i can assure you the directors never meant any of these things you claim they tried to hint at. you are merely making parallels of story themes that happen to relate to a million things. like Nostradamus predictions, he can say something vague, and it becomes true. this was meant to be faithful to the book and fun for kids. nothing more.

Chris
Chris
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:05am

I’ll echo what’s already been said: sounds like you go into situations looking for things that you hate, yet love to complain about….even if it isn’t really there to begin with.

If all the things that stick in your craw disappeared tomorrow, would you really be happier? Or would you be bored and/or depressed?

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:15am

Yup, again you guys are amazingly correct! I went into a Dr. Seuss movie looking to be offended, so I found stuff to offend me. Wow. It’s astonishing how well you people know me. Simply astonishing.

Of course, it couldn’t possibly be that I see something that you all didn’t because I might generally have a different mindset than some people. Because we all know that everyone thinks exactly the same about everything. And beloved children’s authors never, ever have to write books to explain that, you know, maybe that’s not the case…

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:16am

New York – cultural wasteland.

That would be New York, yessiree.

Yo
Yo
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:21am

I’d love to meet some of Mary Ann’s friends and ask them how often they have to deal with this scornful, self-righteous side of her when all they want to do is go out and have a nice time. I mean, look at her face. That’s not even a smile! It’s more like a self-assured smirk. She looks like a bitch who can’t wait to tell someone that she sees past his B.S.

B.
B.
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:28am

Mary-Ann,

What kind of reviewer feels the need to retort public comments on his or her review? And sarcastically, at that. I don’t think I’ve seen, in all my years as a journalist and radio station manager, such PETTY vitriol!

You have a responsibility to include in your review everything intelligent that you have to say about a movie and to not insult your reading audience when they respectfully disagree with your assertion (which, perhaps alarmingly, is shaping up to be exactly opposite of what everyone else has written, apparently irrespective of political affiliation or religious predilection).

Combing through your reviews, I have yet to find one that criticizes a film for overly secualrist or leftist overtones that fail to match the source material. We’re all subject to our biases, but at least call a spade a spade. It’s obvious what “side” you fall on even before you analyze the film (“I know the movie industry is supposed to be full of evil liberals out to kill God and everything decent in the world”…). This is a weakness. While I consider myself a liberal, I appreciate honest critiques of entertainment that, over time, do not display an obvious bias.

I’m sorry, but this review smacks of amateurism to the point that it requires a clarification or retraction, not half-witted retorts at people who are obviously not as eloquent or educated as you are.

Pick on someone your own size, please; and for pete’s sake, at least make sense.

Doa766
Doa766
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:34am

I haven’t seen this movie yet, but I have to admit that every time a kid’s movie tries christian overtones I found it absolutly disgusting

like santa giving a knife to a 6 year old in Narnia so she can go to war packing

Colleen
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:35am

MAJ, I haven’t seen the movie, nor do I plan to, but the munchkin is going tomorrow. And, I’m sure when the dvd comes out I’ll probably end up seeing it.

It is unfortunate the writers felt they had to add to the story to make what they felt was a good movie adaptation. And it doesn’t sound as though those additions are like The Grinch, supporting various parts of the storyline that were already there. It sounds as though they may detract from the storyline instead.

I’m less concerned with the possible Christian overtones, even though I’m not Christian. I’m more disappointed in the fact they didn’t stay true to the actual story. I don’t recall a mayor in the original text?!?! I don’t recall any over- (or under-) tones of politics. I don’t recall any religion. All I recall is a general statement of tolerance, and a possible idea of people being so caught up in their own little world they don’t see the possibility of anything or anyone outside their sphere.

As well he touches on the vastness of the universe… for example what if the earth is not the only inhabited planet throughout all the universes. What if our universe is a dust speck to someone? What if the swirling dust specks going by are inhabited by smaller beings. If you REALLY felt like delving into an attempt to translate, you could get into both Christian and Scientific theories.

BTW, haven’t seen this much reaction to one of your reviews in quite some time. :) Keep up the great work!

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:48am

We’re all subject to our biases, but at least call a spade a spade.

I have never, ever pretended not to be biased, or to hide my biases. Would you prefer that I did?

And I’m not allowed to respond to comments on my own Web site? Are you serious?

I don’t see a lot of “respectful disagreement” in these comments. I do see a lot of namecalling, lack of understanding of what I wrote, and a general lack of understanding of what film criticism is about. And most of this from people who have not yet even seen the film.

I’m happy for people to disagree with me. In this instance, I expect it will be the general response. But I certainly will defend my opinions. I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:50am

I don’t recall a mayor in the original text?!?!

There was a mayor, but he’s a much smaller character — no pun intended — than he is here. Whoville has been greatly expanded here.

If you REALLY felt like delving into an attempt to translate, you could get into both Christian and Scientific theories.

Exactly. The film could have been more inclusive and more open and more ambiguous in its attitude. The filmmakers chose not to go in that direction.

Dale Jarrett
Dale Jarrett
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 11:54am

Wow! your review really hurts. I see many flaws in your attack. First off Hollywood is a free thinking state of mind and would never ever propose the act of God in His state onto a kids movie in the way your proposing. Disney…maybe…but Hollywood…never. Hollywood loves the idea of Karma and whats good for you will help others. Hollywood rarely if ever even mentions the idea that there is any type of deism out there that controls this world except in the supernatural such as mythology. which might i add…is NOT a godhead. they are spiritual beliefs of nature or the atmosphere or carnal beings of the heavens that can send lighting down if your bad. You are on a rant and i can tell from your writings that you are the crazy far left writer who believes that there is no God and shouldnt be any trace of Him in all areas of our daily life. Well ma’am…you are WRONG! God was one of the key instruments in Americas foundation and as we drift farther and farther away from Him, the more are country crumbles. Are you afraid of God? Because the day will come when you will meet him face to face and then all of your pre-concieved notions will be wrong and you might be on the wrong side.

George Glass
George Glass
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 12:10pm

OH MY GOD! You are a lunatic! Too much wine indeed.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 12:12pm

Please explain in what way I am a “lunatic.”

Adam
Adam
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 12:16pm

If you would have done your research, you would know that the original intent of Horton Hears a Who was to apologize to the Japanese for Geisel’s previous political cartoons which stereotyped them as a small, insignificant nation. Seuss himself admitted to being too stereotypical at times, especially when deadlines loomed and the easiest way to get a cartoon done was with a cheap stab.

After WWII, the Americans and other allied nations debated quite a bit about the fate of Japan, and after a visit to the country, Geisel wrote a children’s book trying to remind people the people are people no matter how small. Which, is why the book is dedicated: “For My Great Friend, Mitsugi Nakamura of Kyoto, Japan”

So the book, nor the movie is about abortion nor Christianity, nor George “dubya” Bush for crying out loud. I think you’re trying to sound more intelligent than you really are, which is just a sham writer who doesnt do their research.

ashok
ashok
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 12:19pm

Thanks for the review, surprised that a lot of “critics” have failed to see what you saw. I will probably stay away from the movie, I cannot take any more right wing agenda.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 12:31pm

So the book, nor the movie is about abortion nor Christianity, nor George “dubya” Bush for crying out loud. I think you’re trying to sound more intelligent than you really are, which is just a sham writer who doesnt do their research.

What the *book* is about and what the *movie* is about are not necessarily the same thing. “Research” has nothing to do with the matter.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 12:33pm

Thanks for the review, surprised that a lot of “critics” have failed to see what you saw. I will probably stay away from the movie, I cannot take any more right wing agenda.

You’re welcome, but as these many commenters are pointing out, just because I see something doesn’t mean everyone will. It doesn’t make the other critics wrong for not having seen it.

Todd Suomela
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 12:49pm

Wow, you struck a nerve with this one!?

Just for a bit of balance I’ll say that I’ve read a lot of your reviews over the last year and I don’t agree with all of them but I come back to read them because of your clear opinions and willingness to share them despite the slings and arrows of outrageous commenters. So keep reading those subtexts and questioning those hidden agendas.

Good luck with the struggle.

Newbs
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 1:03pm

Wow,

I was going to disagree with you on a couple points (like pinpointing McCarthyism as a major catalyst for the theme of tolerance), but it seems like you’ve got your hands full here. At cursory glance, I’d say most of those responding with such vitriol are doing so from their own religious perspective. Don’t get too involved in responding — it’s likely they’ll never be back to read what you’ve said.

An excellent review, as always, MaryAnn. Stick to your guns. This is why my wife gets jealous when I visit your site. :)

Maddie
Maddie
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 1:22pm

It is interesting to compare your insights to the review posted on Salon. Rather than claiming the movie is an assault on reason, they claim the movie is thoroughly in support of it. (Rather than relying on faith, Horton and the mayor search for evidence, and scientific imagery is scattered through the film, for example.) Did you see some of this as well, or do you think Salon is not just wanting to out-and-out proclaim the movie as a religious allegory, and scrambling for any evidence they can find?

Ken Patterson
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 1:24pm

Personally I think that it is wrong to expand somebody else’s work to a size that it wouldn’t accommodate on it’s own.

The children’s books of Dr. Seuss are truly fit for half-hour, or maybe an hour long medium. The only cinematic Seuss that fit the length requirement was actually written by Seuss himself as a movie – that being The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. and that seems to have a highly split appreciation.

MAJ, thank you for saying what you actually feel about a movie.

To your readers I have this to say: If you find a reviewer is not to your taste, then you are perfectly within your rights to not take their advice. In fact you can then gauge what movies you’ll like by what they don’t. But like with any form of journalism, it is best to get your information from more than one source and not to believe what any one person or news agency says – because there will always be some bias (political, religious, social, &c…) that can not be avoided.

Dawn
Dawn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 1:28pm

I find most of these comments offensive to the reviewer. I think MaryAnn has made some cogent observations of the movie.

I highly recommend the nay sayers to check out “The Political Dr. Seuss”, an independent documentary of Ted Geisel’s work (including the so-called children’s books). I think that after viewing that film, many of you will understand what MaryAnn is discussing. Dr. Seuss’s stories have always been somewhat political.

t6
t6
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 1:55pm

Hey MAJ,

Great review, as ususal.

Clearly you’ve upset some people, but whatever. You understand concepts like reader-response theory and subtext…too bad not everyone does.

Brenna Dougherty
Brenna Dougherty
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 1:57pm

MaryAnn,

As a secularist like yourself, I respectfully disagree with your analysis. I see Horton as an advocate for “the little guy,” an Al Gore figure protecting The Mayor from the Sour Kangaroo and Vlad, hyper-conservative (remember, Rudy is “pouch-schooled”) enviromental terrorists. Like the Mayor’s higher-ups, when confronted with Horton’s passion for the tiny eco-system, they insist that there is nothing to see, that Whoville, a stand-in for our own enviroment, (or in Seuss’s original intent, the persecuted minority) is not in trouble. But eventually, even Horton’s pleading isn’t enough. It’s Jo-jo’s… the little guy’s, shout for big government change, that gets everything on the right track. Don’t consider Horton as God. Consider him Wellstone, or any other politician who’s been elected to speak for those with small voices.

rt
rt
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 1:58pm

The reviewer is hugely ignorant of Christian persecution worldwide. I would suggest visiting persecution.net for an overview of the many life threatening conditions for Christians worldwide – just for being Christian.

bronxbee
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:06pm

“I’d love to meet some of Mary Ann’s friends and ask them how often they have to deal with this scornful, self-righteous side of her when all they want to do is go out and have a nice time.”

as one of maryann’s closest friends, i can assure you that we all enjoy her intellectual openness, her sense of humor and her strong opinions. we don’t always agree with her — but we all enjoy intelligent discourse from every side and opinion, and we don’t limit ourselves or anyone else in discussion. our idea of a “nice” time is one where 6 or 8 of us see a movie, and spend the next two hours enjoying a meal, dissecting the film and expressing our opinions — on many, many topics — as vociferously as she does hers. i don’t know what your idea of a nice time is — but our brains have a good time whenever maryann is around.

Mark
Mark
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:14pm

Wow! Such a quick reaction! From the first trailer on I have never once even considered going to see this movie(doesn’t matter if my kid wants to go or not). The trailers were awful, and more about who is voicing the characters, as opposed to the actual movie itself. Throwing in the “made by the same people who made Ice Age” didn’t help either, as I thought the first one was crap. IMHO, very few CGI movies outside of Pixar are worth seeing.
Thanks for a very “interesting” review Mary Ann. Thats all I, and anyone else, can really say without having viewed the movie. Then again, I do agree with you most of the time, so who knows.

doubleored
doubleored
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:16pm

Wow, seeing all these comments it both makes me sad and happy at the same time. Sad because some people have lost all manner of respect for someone else’s viewpoints even if you don’t agree, and happy that we are still able to express those viewpoints.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen the film yet so I’ll reserve judgement on that respect, however I wanted to give you (Mary Ann) a big thank you for having the courage to post what you think, and not what you ‘think’ people will want to hear.

dib'n
dib'n
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:20pm

couldn’t the theme just be a pro-“use your imagination” one?
i also do not understand why you see this as a pro-Christian message instead of a pro-religion message in general.
i have not seen the movie, but i plan to. i will attempt as best as i can to see if i can pick up on any hidden agenda that may be present.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:20pm

Did you see some of this as well, or do you think Salon is not just wanting to out-and-out proclaim the movie as a religious allegory, and scrambling for any evidence they can find?

and

I see Horton as an advocate for “the little guy,” an Al Gore figure protecting The Mayor from the Sour Kangaroo and Vlad, hyper-conservative (remember, Rudy is “pouch-schooled”) enviromental terrorists.

I don’t not see where you’re both coming from — the “pouch-schooled” line *is* pretty potent — but I don’t think it balances out what I saw as an overwhelmingly neoconservative attitude, that democracy is bad and women are useless and that deviating from the norm as long as you’re the one who gets to define what the norm is.

I have to admit that I was almost tempted to try to shoehorn my reaction into the kind of response that Salon came up with, because I really didn’t want to see what I was seeing, and I found it hard to believe that Hollywood, which is supposed to be so liberal, would spawn something like this. But that would have been dishonest on my part. I had to go with my gut. As overly intellectual as I am accused of being here, it really was an emotional reaction that I had to go with. Okay, it was an emotional reaction to something intellectual, but still.

And just to be clear, I am NOT suggesting that the Salon critic was being dishonest or wrote a review that does not represent the critic’s honest reaction. I’m just saying that my review does represent my honest reaction.

Grimmy
Grimmy
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:23pm

Sounds like the Reviewer is seeing all kinds of Whos everywhere. Explains her intolerance for a different viewpoint.

Since Antony Flew’s book (There is a God) came out, atheists have been in full attack mode. The spectacle of them accusing Flew of being a senile dupe … was not a pretty sight.

I suppose their defensiveness is due to their worldview’s underlying lack of scientific or rational basis (as ex-atheist Flew exposes for all to see) all the while claiming the exact opposite.

The Inquisition, boogeyman of our age, killed 2,000-4,000 over 350 years, while atheistic, anti-God regimes in the “modern” age killed over 120 million in just decades. Another reason to be defensive.

MaineRoad
MaineRoad
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:25pm

This is the best thread ever – gonna have it printed out and laminated. Really.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:27pm

The reviewer is hugely ignorant of Christian persecution worldwide.

I know that people are persecuted for their religious beliefs around the world. But it is not happening in the U.S. — well, not to Christians, anyway; Muslims may have a strong case for complaining about it — and that is the context in which this story is set.

couldn’t the theme just be a pro-“use your imagination” one?

No, because imagination is not involved here. It’s a matter of whether there *are* actually tiny people living on a speck or a giant elephant living in the sky. There’s no leap of faith involved.

jenn
jenn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:29pm

After seeing Hollywood’s horrific version of the Grinch and the Cat in the Hat, you couldn’t pay me to see this. Didn’t any of the posters on this site see how they perverted the previous movies? A person could hope this one would be better, but from the trailer this looks even worse. I feel bad that the Seuss legacy is tainted with this garbage. His books are still popular and relevant. I hope the rest of his family enjoyed the money they made from selling out.

Chris Kah
Chris Kah
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:30pm

You don’t seem to have an agenda at all? Oh, wait a minute…

Is there a reason you needed to attack Christians (none of those things that you mentioned I see in the Christians that I am friends with) when you are reviewing a movie that is not a Christian one?

I’m utterly confused.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Mar 14, 2008 2:57pm

Explains her intolerance for a different viewpoint.

I am not intolerant of others’ viewpoints. People can believe whatever they want to believe, as long as they’re not trying to force it upon others. I am railing against intolerance, and against this film for being dismissive of tolerance.

Since Antony Flew’s book (There is a God) came out, atheists have been in full attack mode

I have no idea who Antony Flew is. And I “attack” nothing except the idea that only Christians can be moral and only Christians are in possession of the rules for right living, which they are trying — and often succeeding — in forcing upon those who do not share those beliefs.