Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
Well Dr. Seuss adaptations, at least in feature-length form, have tended to be… See I’m one of those rare people who actually enjoyed both The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat films, but I will be the first to admit that they are pretty bad. But as I looked through the list of Dr. Seuss books there really aren’t that many there that could be turned into feature-length movies (at least I presume so). So out of the four that could, how would the movies company screw them up? Well lets find out.
Horton Hatches the Egg: What It’s About: Honestly this is probably the most obvious one to adapt next since they already made the sequel to this in Horton Hears a Who. The story, for those that don’t know, is simple: A rather lazy bird named Mayzie convinces Horton to sit on her egg and look after it. Horton does so even after a travelling circus comes and kidnaps him. However when the egg hatches it’s a half-elephant half-bird hybrid that Horton vows to look after (and never is seen again in the next book, go figure). Now since Seuss never said it was about any one thing, I’m free to speculate that if Horton Hears a Who is about the trials of being a God, than Horton Hatches an Egg can be about two things: It can either be a literal interpretation of the Heavenly Father metaphor (since Horton is a father by the end and his job is to look over the egg) or Horton is a religious believer facing prosecution for his beliefs (since he is ridiculed and shamed for standing by them).
What The Film Would Be About: Anti-abortion. People often incorrectly claim that Horton Hears a Who is all about anti-abortion, even though Seuss made it very clear it wasn’t. So what would they do with this one? Well they’d make it a case for Men Rights as well as being a story about why you shouldn’t abort eggs just cos the mum doesn’t want it any more. I mean what does the mother know anyway… is exactly the message they’ll be wanting to get across. Honestly despite being the most logical thing to do as the next movie they’re probably too worried about the anti-feminist implications this film has and how it could backfire terribly for them if they tried to make it.
Green Eggs and Ham: What It’s About: Another famous Dr. Seuss book, it tells the story of a character being forced to try green eggs and ham despite his protests, finding out at the end that he likes it. Famously the book only has 50 words in it, making it perfectly to teach kids. So what can this simple story have to say about the wider world? Well the most obvious moral of the story is don’t knock something till you tried it. A good, easy moral for fussy kids to learn. Sometimes life is all about taking risks and doing something outside your comfort zone.
What The Film Would Be About: Again this could be quite a few things. Fox News will read this film as being anti-capitalism for no other reason than because it promotes not automatically buying the new product. Hipsters will think it’s the story of a hipster that sells out on his beliefs to follow the mainstream. But I think the most likely thing they do is change the ending in such a way that shows that the unnamed narrator is right in some way and that individuality is good. You know they’d miss the point of it in some way.
The Sneetches: What It’s About: You have Sneetches that have stars on their belly and you have Sneetches that don’t. A racial division appears and a con-man exploits this by giving/removing stars depending whatever is in fashion. Eventually with their economy just destroyed the con-man leaves and the Sneetches learn that it doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as they’re Sneetches. Lets be realistic: You can’t get this moral wrong. Like there’s no other way at reading this. Racism. Is. Bad. End of story.
What The Film Would Be About: So how would the film totally miss the point of this? Well I think the only way a film could screw up such an easy to understand moral would be to make the con-man character the hero of the story and portray him in the right. And considering they missed the purpose of the Oncer in The Lorax would this really be much of a stretch? They’d portray him as some sort of ambiguous good guy exploiting the stupid Sneetches and he gives the money back at the end because he learns the errors of his ways. You just know this is what they’d think the point of the story is.
The Butter Battle Book: Okay confession time: When I first saw the animated version of this I was pissed off beyond belief at the ending. The story goes that there’s a great wall that separates those that butter their bread face up and those that butter it face down. Each side keeps developing bigger and bigger weapons in response to the other side doing the same till the end up with a little ball. A ball capable of blowing the kingdom off the map. As everyone hides in bunkers they find that the enemy has the same bomb. The story ends with the little kid asking the audience who will drop the bomb first, just saying UNLESS. Now as a kid I hated this non-ending. I mean the story just ends unresolved. Of course as an adult I get the metaphor of the Cold War and atomic weapons, but as a kid I missed the point. But still, it’s not very difficult to understand, is it? War is bad. How could you possibly screw that up?
What The Film Would Be About: They drop the bombs and wipe out both cities, causing the people to realise their folly and come together. Or worst they realise not to blow each other and reach peace. Now sure this would be good… except you know the rest of the movie would make a spectacle out of the bigger and bigger weapons and be very much a ‘pro-war’ film. It knows the audience will want to see the weapons escalate and will watch that. It’ll be â€œweapons are awesomeâ€ but won’t end on the cliffhanger, but on an easy mushy resolution made by the kid character that makes them realise that they’re not so different and vow to live together. Hell they’d probably shoe-horn in a Romeo and Juliet type romance just to drive the point home. You know this is exactly how they’d make the film and dear God I hope this one never gets made.
So there you have it. My look at Dr. Seuss and how to totally screw up his work. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.