Monday, April 9, 2007

Moooved at the Barnyard

I started seeing spiritual insights in movies over 30 years ago. It was approximately 10 years ago that I started commenting on those insights at Hollywood Jesus at I am amazed at how movies at various times in ones life can have messages that touch not only the viewer but the situations surrounding the life of the viewer. It has been a long time since I commented on a DVD but I just finished watching Barnyard, and I have to tell you, a movie has once again touched my life for the better. I couldn't help but think of the numerous messages in this movie as I watched the DVD.

Barnyard is a movie written and directed by Steve Oedekerk and put out by Nickelodeon, a television network I have admittedly had some problems with over the years because of what I perceive as efforts to devalue family. I have to admit, it was one of the reasons I was reluctant to see Barnyard upon its release, and I have to confess further, I couldn't have been more mistaken about the premise than I was with this movie.

Barnyard right off the bat impressed me because of the all-star cast featuring as its lead, Kevin James who plays the part of Otis the Cow. Otis is a party animal to the fullest and while he is an adopted son of Ben the Cow, voiced wonderfully by one of my favorite character actors, Sam Elliott we see him loved as much as any son could be loved. Ben wants the same things for his son that virtually every father wants for their sons. He wants him happy, successful and able to accomplish something out of his life. A great line in the movie is "Otis, a strong man stands up for himself; a stronger man stands up for others." The concept of a willingness to recognize the value of standing up for others highly resembles of the Biblical concept that there is no greater love that we can show anyone than our own willingness to lay down our lives for them. This premise and the journey of Otis to get there is the entire premise of this movie. Love others enough to be willing to lay down your life and be willing to serve them, even at great sacrifice. This concept and the concept of a love between a father and a son is something I haven't seen in a movie in some time. To see it portrayed so well here was a joy that I was needing at the time I watched the movie.

I think the reality is this movie touched me because of those types of issues I am going through in my own life. The relationship between my son and I, despite mistakes that have been made, the desires to see my son accomplish his dreams and take into consideration the lives of others, plus his willingness to serve with great sacrifice out of love is a tremendous message that touched me in this film. The truth is, virtually every family struggles with issues like this to some extent. How do parents parent? How do kids listen? How do we find balance between love and responsibility? How do we grow from the mistakes we have made? How do we find our own place in our own way in life? These issues and more are addressed in this wonderful animated film.

There is beautiful respect seen between all of the characters. Respect and love despite differences are one of the wonderful sub plots of the film. Don't get me wrong, there are some very nice moments from an incredible sound track to some wonderfully hilarious moments that had our entire family laughing. This film just about had it all and has messages that will touch virtually every viewer if they watch with an open mind and think about the story.

Barnyard had a way of touching my life in a way I needed it, at a time I needed it. How many of us can say we have experienced things like that in life? I honestly believe movies can do that if we allow them. Of course there are the terrible movies that won't do this as they don't address anything of value, but this isn't one of those movies, instead, it is one wonderfully written and directed with wonderful CGI and a powerful story, a story told in a way that gets people to listen if they will open up their ears and hear what the movie has to say.

Yea, I realize I should have seen Barnyard some time ago. My son really wanted to see it as did my wife and I refused to see it at the theater. That was a mistake on my part; it was a mistake because maybe those lessons in the movie could have helped prevent some of the mistakes as of recent in our family. I could dwell on that, I could mope on that, but I choose to learn from my mistakes, then move on making the effort to not repeat the mistakes of the past. Movies, a modern form of storytelling can do those types of things if we let them. I know because I have experienced what I am speaking of. Hopefully those reading the comments today can experience the same type of things. If you have a family and haven't seen Barnyard, get the DVD, sit down, turn out the lights, turn on the surround sound and enjoy a wonderful movie experience, not just from the perspective of the film, but from the perspective of the message the film presents.

On a scale of 1 – 10 for an incredible Moooooooooooving experience I give a wonderful and delightful 8.

Trailer from the movie Barnyard

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