Horton Hears a Who

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Horton Hears a Who

Review (9/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

On the fifteenth of May, in the jungle of Nool, in the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool, he was splashing...enjoying the jungle's great joys...when Horton the elephant heard a small noise.

And with those words, Theodor Seuss Geisel, writing under the pen name "Dr. Seuss", began "Horton Hears a Who", his tale of the epic journey of Horton, a faithful elephant who has undertaken to save the inhabitants of Who-ville.

While Horton believes in his ability to fulfill his undertaking, his journey will not be without difficulties. The town of Who-ville is situated on a speck of dust which sits atop a stalk of clover, and no-one in the Jungle of Nool, except Horton, believes that it exists. Will Horton be able to save the Who crew from becoming an ingredient in a beezlenut stew"

"Horton Hears a Who" is the third big-screen adaptation of the works of Dr. Seuss. After watching the slightly over-the-top rendition of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and the butchering of "The Cat in the Hat", I had my doubts about whether Dr. Seuss and his cast of characters would ever find their way back into theaters.

After watching "Horton Hears a Who", I can safely say that Dr. Seuss now rests comfortably, secure in the knowledge that his legacy has been properly preserved on film for future generations.

Unlike its predecessors, "Horton" is an animated film and that, I would suggest, makes all the difference. Dr. Seuss' elaborately construed characters and locales do not lend themselves to live action film. What is outlandish in live action is charming and funny when animated. It is about time that Hollywood finally realized that animation is the only form through which Dr. Seuss should be brought to the big screen.

And it is not just any old animation. "Horton" is a production of Blue Sky Studios, the animation arm of Twentieth Century Fox, which has also been responsible for bringing films such as "Ice Age" and "Robots" to theaters. It is also directed by Jimmy Hayward, a former animator from a little company that some of you may have heard of, called Disney Pixar. Hayward's prior credits include films such as "Toy Story", "Monsters Inc.", and "Finding Nemo". It is clear from watching the film that his prior experience has been put to good use.

"Horton" also owes its success to its casting. Assembled for this film is a "Who's Who" of Hollywood comedians. Jim Carrey is perfectly suited to his role as the "one hundred percent faithful" Horton. The equally funny Steve Carell is also well-cast as the Mayor of Who-ville. Carol Burnett contributes her talents to the role of the doubting Kangaroo. Seth Rogen and Joshua Hill (fresh from their success in films like "Knocked Up" and "Superbad") drop in for a few scenes. Isla Fisher (Sacha Baron Cohen's other half), Jaime Pressly (of "My Name is Earl") and Amy Poehler (of "Saturday Night Live") also lend their voices to the production.

"Horton Hears a Who" is a classic that will tickle the funnybone of lifelong fans of the work of Theodor Geisel, and is a perfect way for parents to bring the work of Dr. Seuss to life for their young children. It delivers a timely message about the perilous world in which we live and a timeless message about the power of one person to make a difference, "no matter how small". So when the weekend arrives and you need something to do, consider spending the afternoon with Horton and the residents of Who.


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