Sunday, June 11, 2006

Spiritual Implications of Over the Hedge

Some interesting commentary on our lives in this film.

The first thing is the obvious worship-relationship we have with food. "This is the altar where they worship the food", notes RJ (the raccon) as they spy a family praying over their dinner. Unfortunately, that often doesn't seem to be far from the truth. It's a much longer sequence (most of which is shown in the trailer), and I won't continue to beat that horse here, as it's just the tip of the iceberg.

A little later, as they're passing an SUV, and commenting on it's size, Hammy (the squirrel) asks how many people fit in one. The raccon replies, "Normally, about one."

But the clincher is a song that's played during the credits. Based on a Ben Folds Five song called Rockin' the Suburbs, this one is titled Rockin' the Suburbs (Over the Hedge version). I had never heard of the song, but if you have, you'll know why it had to change for a kid's movie. I'm not familiar with Ben Folds's music, but this version of the song is genius. It starts with:

Let me tell y'all what it's like
Watching idol on a friday night
In a house built safe and sound
On indian burial ground

We drive our cars everyday
To and from work both ways
So we make just enough to pay
To drive our cars to work each day

I won't belabor the point with the rest of the lyrics here, but plot of the movie is that a small group of hibernating animals wakes up to find their home changed from an expansive woodland to the token parcel of greenery in the middle of a suburban paradise (nightmare?). In a subtle-yet-not-so-subtle way, the film plays with the idea of how we've lost something with our plastic, fast-paced, instantly-gratified lives. It got me to thinking about how to change back to a slower, stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of life. A life that deals with the important things - justice, mercy, compassion, as Jesus and the prophets told us. Do we have to do that with drastic changes? Waking up one day and giving our lives a complete overhaul to remember and spend time with what's important? Or can we do it with small changes, here and there, over time? Or maybe, as much of life seems to be lately, with small changes over time that end up in a completely changed life?

Have I stopped making sense, yet?


  1. No, you are making PERFECT sense. . .

    I have not seen the film, but what you are talking about resonates with me soundly (but then, look at the life I have chosen to live!).

    If you haven't spent any time with his prose work, I would suggest the work of Robert Bly. . .he has written extensively regarding the difficulty that our culture has with finding REAL meaning away from materialism and "progress"

    BTW. . .part of my day is always spent with the kids watching the birds and small mammals that come to feed at our bird feeders. I have become VERY fond and quite protective of them. They teach me wonderful things.

  2. Thanks; I'll have to take a look at Roberty Bly's writing.

    I need to spend more time with my family in nature - I'll make that a goal for this summer.

    Oddly enough, the other kid's movie out right now (Cars) has a similar message.

  3. i love it when hollywood makes sence. thanks for noticing too. and i just figured out how to comment on your blog. forgive me, i am slow.