I received this email from a list I am on this morning. After reading it, I felt angry about the movie and was ready to get on my blog and tell you all not to see it! Here is what I read about Horton Hears A Who:
I would like to spare you all the onslaught and ask you not to spend your dollars supporting the new Fox movie "Horton Hears A Who." I've never experienced such a blaring underlying message DIRECTLY against homeschoolers from start to finish as in this movie!!
The antagonist, Kangaroo, is very early on identified as a homeschool mom who "pouch schools so they don't wrongly influence her joey". She is portrayed throughout the entire movie as a gossiping, intolerant, fear-inducing rabble-rouser who is stirring up trouble in the jungle & persecuting, to the point of hiring a hit-man, "poor Horton", who is portrayed as the tolerant, fun-loving, faithful, believing in all things, TEACHER of the rest of the jungle children. (Horton is the public school.)
This Kangaroo is found throughout the movie spouting off many of the things we as homeschoolers stand for but twisted in a very negative light. By the end of the movie, she has persecuted Horton into a Ancient Roman days-like scene where she has incited a mob, and they are forcefully w/sticks and ropes forcing Horton into a cage and are going to boil the "Whos in a vat of boiling oil if Horton doesn't recant his belief in the Whos' existence". It all ends when the Kangaroo loses the heart of her joey, and he rebels against her saving the Whos. In the very end, they are all happy and singing together when the Kangaroo gives up her beliefs and joins the group.
Please do not spend your money supporting this movie where the producers have taken everything we stand for and painted us as the bad guy persecuting them!!
And then I read this response, which identifies the same exact elements in the movie as the above, but from a different, more positive perspective:
I just wanted to add some light to the discussion since we did see the movie this weekend before hearing about any controversy. I thought, overall, it was a really good movie that had what I thought could be some very Christian themes. The story was pretty true to the book, which is one of my favorites. Horton is the only one who can hear (because of his big ears) the miniscule people on the speck of dust he encounters, and he makes it his mission to protect them. No sooner does Horton begin believing in something he can't see, then the evil opposition has organized behind the villain Kangaroo to snuff out his silly speck and hence his belief. It certainly speaks to the kind of dilemma most of us as believers find ourselves in and (on a cartoon level) the kind of mindless hate and persecution that can occur because of it. Without giving away the story, Horton shows what faithfulness, friendship, and persistence, looks like. Other characters in Whoville (the speck town) exhibit similar good qualities.
As far as the homeschooling issue, I think the initial implication felt like a "jab" at homeschooling, but honestly, it was referred to as "pouch-schooling" not homeschooling. The joey kangaroo never left the pouch and was shoved back inside any time he exhibited anything like curiosity or initiative. This is the exact opposite of what most homeschoolers look like; it is either a blatantly ignorant portrayal of all of us, or a characterization of what the mainstream fears is a small twisted segment of our group. I definitely did not equate what Horton was doing with the children as a promotion of "public school"! I didn't even think of this until I read that excerpt in the review. His character took the children out in the world to learn about real life and encourage their interests. In my mind Horton was the homeschooler and the Kangaroo was the one forced to stay inside all day (sounds like ps!) In my opinion, this part of the movie is a good segue to discuss the fear and misinformation surrounding homeschooling with our kids and those around us who may not get it. It was hard to be offended at the implication when it looked nothing like our family. My kids didn't even mention it, but after hearing this controversy, I may discuss it with them.
I think we can all learn from this second perspective. Society expects Christians to get up in arms and announce boycotts and write angry letters. What if we showed them our love instead? What if we looked past that initial urge to get angry and fight back and found instead a way to be encouraging?
Let's face it-- Horton Hears A Who was the number one movie for at least two weekends running. They aren't going to go broke if we don't see it. So, instead of getting angry and looking for ways to ruin them-- let's look for the good in it, as this second person wrote about. Let's see the spiritual overtones in this movie as this woman saw-- because glimpses of God's Truth are everywhere, if we learn to look for them.
I am not saying to keep silent when something is blatantly wrong. And I am not saying to accept lies as Truth. But I am saying that sometimes we can overreact-- and our actions can convince people that they don't want to buy what we're selling. I know too many people that have made their mind up about Christianity because of mindsets like the first letter. I am glad there are people who see life as the second person does-- looking for the good instead of the bad. Believing the best and not casting the first stone.