Core Thought: Over the Hedge has some nice teachable moments, and looks great, too.
A couple of my Sunday School class members made my day last Sunday when they called to let me know that Over the Hedge had some nice sermon material in it. I was just glad they were looking for teachable moments in a movie. I finally saw it this past weekend on a visit to my mom. She enjoyed it, too.
As with most movies I like, its main theme was transformation. I like transformation (oh, for the better I mean!). There's nothing like a Darth Vader suddenly being turned back to good at the last minute when he had to choose between killing his son, Luke, and the evil emperor. In Hedge, there was no evil Lord of the Sith; just a selfish raccoon named RJ using a bunch of gullible forest critters to collect a huge stash of food to replace the food he stole (and then accidentally destroyed) from a hibernating bear. He has one week before the bear comes to "rectify" the situation by eating RJ.
The "critter family" (a paranoid, anxious turtle, a family of porcupines, a father/daughter pair of opossums, and a hyper-active squirrel) are waking from their own hibernation only to find their forest suddenly invaded by a huge hedge. On the other side is a new development of perfectly manicured homes, all maintaining perfect compliance to the neighborhood's home owner's association. RJ convinces them not to be afraid, but to take advantage of a new, unlimited source of food.
The critters fall in line (except for the turtle who remains suspicious, cautious, and unconvinced of RJ's wisdom or intentions.). To make a long story short, the family decides to follow the newcomer and to ignore the turtle until the truth comes out...and that's where the transformation comes in....RJ has lessons to learn, and is finally convinced that there are more important things in life than playing it safe and being selfish. I don't want to ruin the ending with any more details. For a "Christian" review, check out: http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/reviews/2006/overhedge.html
Oh, some of my more favorite "transformational" movies:
* Shrek I and II (III comes out next year!)
* The Elephant Man (People are transformed from seeing a freak, to seeing a beautiful person)
* The Lord of The Rings (Even Merry and Pippin, through struggle, become brave and noble)
* The Incredibles (A family finds its joy and passion in being who they were meant to be.)
* Finding Nemo (A fearful father faces his own phobias to find his son.)
* October Sky (A father learns to love his son for who he is and not for what he wants his son to be.)
* The Mighty (You might have to look for this one. A kid who has given up on himself is transformed by the disabled kid who moves nextdoor and teaches him a thing or two about chivalry and embracing life.)
* Pay It Forward (One kid with one idea transforms thousands of lives)
* You Can't Take It With You (Best film of 1938 with Jimmy Stewart; friendship wins out over material wealth.)