Short reflections on Disney Shorts: Get a Horse

I am returning to my series after a(n unintentional) break for the holidays.  And I am returning with, what I think, is one of the most innovated and well-crafted short I have seen in a long while, ‘Get a Horse’.

I saw this short in the theater with ‘Frozen’ and it was this short rather than the feature that made me want to go back and see it in 3D.  When I first saw it, I thought it was an archived film that had been restored and was being given a new life and a new audience in the theater.  I was so impressed when the black & white characters broke the 4th wall (literally) and burst into CGI color.  It is fun and funny as well as beautifully fusing hand drawn and computer generated animation styles.

The film is an excellent blend of new and old.  The creators of the hand drawn animators used archival vocals of Walt Disney’s Mickey voice, as well as the styles and filters of the older animation.  The creators of the CGI has to create all new models based on the older versions of the characters.  It was the first Disney animation directed solely by a woman.  It unites decades of tradition and memory with a cutting edge vision that challenges the boundaries of what has been.  What’s more it does so with respect for both.  The strength of the film is how it unites past and present in a whole that is made stronger by the union.  There is a lesson here.

We hold two things in tension in the church: the weight of centuries (millennia?) of tradition and the push to be innovative.  These two things are often viewed as being at odds with each other.  We can have one or the other, but not both.  For something new to come, something old must go.  For something old to be preserved, the new must be avoided.  What if instead we learned the lesson of ‘Get a Horse’?  What if we found a way to fuse both old and new to create something that is stronger than both?  I’m not sure what that would look like, but I am certainly excited to try it.  Gregorian chants led by electric guitar?  Maybe.  New Christian medieval monastic based communities?  Already happening.  Churches that go where the people are instead of the other way around?  Let’s absolutely do more of that!  Let’s take the best of all that we have to choose from and create something extraordinary.  Let us learn from the past, not abandon it.  Let us embrace the best of the future, not hide from it.  Let us create something remarkable with all the resources available to us.

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