Dr. Seuss has had an interesting journey through the world of feature films. From the wacky How the Grinch Stole Christmas (also starring Jim Carrey; see the set a Universal Studios Hollywood!), to the abysmally awful The Cat in the Hat (starring Mike Myers), Seuss in live-action has literally been hit-or-miss.
So when an animated version of the classic Seuss book Horton Hears a Who! was announced, I, like many, was a little wary. Like the Grinch, Horton had been done as an animated special for TV decades ago (circa 1970). But would a new feature-length adaptation work?
The answer is yes!
From the opening moments to the end credits, Horton Hears a Who! pulled me in. The animation is stunning, fluid, and engaging. The musical score by John Powell is fantastic, and the voice performances are entertaining.
Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura, Liar, Liar, The Truman Show, etc, etc) voices Horton; and with his mix of lunacy and pathos, he creates an empathetic pachyderm. Horton appears to be the lone elephant in the jungle. And while he has friends, has yet to find any real purpose in life. That is until he finds a tiny speck on a clover.
The speck contains the world of Whoville (is it the same Whoville from The Grinch? Hm.) The Mayor of Whoville is voiced by Steve Carrell (Get Smart, The Office). He’s a powerless mayor whose decisions are overrun by the city council.
When Horton and the Mayor meet voice-to-voice, neither one is believed by their respective worlds that the other world exists. This makes the Mayor look like he’s crazy. It makes Horton come across as not only crazy, but a danger to the other inhabitants of the jungle.
This is what the power-mad Kangaroo (voiced by Carol Burnett) seems to believe. And she’s determined to destroy the speck and Horton’s reputation by any means necessary. Will she succeed in her quest? Watch and find out.
Among the who’s who of celebrity voices are Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Superbad) as Horton’s mousy friend Morton; Will Arnett (The Brothers Solomon, The Rocker) as evil vulture Vlad; Jonah Hill (Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) as Tommy; and Charles Osgood (host of CBS News Sunday Morning) as the Narrator.
Now, there are people (crazy folk) who believe that Horton’s line “A person’s a person, no matter how small,” is a pro-life message. They will parse this down and over-analyze it like it’s some Shakespearean sonnet or a biblical passage. Whatever you personal take on this line is, I don’t really care. This is a fun and enjoyable film that you can watch with kids and grandma in the room and a good time will be had by all.
If your six year old asks if the message of the film is that abortion is bad, perhaps you should turn on Nick Jr. and turn off CNN.
There are about a dozen special features on this DVD, and normally I would go through each one, but this review’s already way late, so just watch them and enjoy!
I quite enjoyed Horton Hears a Who! And even though I don’t have kids, I’m positive yours will like this fun and amazingly animated flick.
Horton Hears a Who! gets an animated A! Enjoy it for what it is: ENTERTAINMENT!
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
20th Century Fox
Starring the Voice Talents of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen
Running Time = 86 minutes