Horton Hears a Who Movie Review
Jim Carrey stars in faithful Dr.Suess adaptation
Featuring the voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Carol Burnett,Horton Hears a Who, is the story of a lovable elephant trying to save the almost invisible Whos.
The Whos and their microscopic world exist on a flower that has come into the possession of Horton. This lovable and somewhat dimwitted elephant’s enormous ears allow him to hear their cries for help as their world, known as Who-ville, drifts helplessly through the air.
When Horton begins to claim that there are people living on this tiny speck and that he can hear them, he is greeted with scepticism and hostility, particularly by the Sour Kangaroo, voiced by Carol Burnett. The Sour Kangaroo begins to agitate against Horton, who comes to see himself as the Whos’ protector. Now that their world has been disturbed Horton resolves to take them to Mount Nool, the highest point in the jungle, where they will not be intruded upon.
The external journey of Horton toward Mount Nool, is mirrored by the goings-on in Who-ville, which is lead by the Mayor, voiced by Steve Carell. The Mayor must attempt to convince the citizens of Who-ville that Horton exists and that he can help them.
Horton meanwhile, is continually pursued by both the Sour Kangaroo and Vlad Vladikoff, a bumbling vulture, hired by the Sour Kangaroo to get rid of the Whos and the clover on which their world rests, once and for all.
While, this is not the first time a Dr.Suess book has been adapted into a film, Horton Hears a Who, is different than the previous attempts, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat.
That difference lies in part in the medium used to make the movie, specifically total computer animation. The proliferation of computer animation has made it possible to make movies such as Horton Hears a Who look realistic, yet at the same time retain the sense of whimsical fun for which Dr. Suess’ books have become famous.
The other reason why Horton Hears a Who has had a broader appeal than The Grinch or the Cat in the Hat, has to do with the fact that Horton, unlike the other Suess adaptations uses the actual dialogue from Dr.Suess’ original picture book. Because of this, Horton is spared the overly cartoony action of The Grinch and the nausea of The Cat in the Hat. As a result, Horton Hears a Who manages to retain the spirit of its source material. This is something that both How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the Cat in the Hat completely failed to do.
To this reviewer, the decision to use Suess’ own dialogue demonstrates a certain amount of respect for the source material that also helps to improve the overall solidity of the movie.
Overall, Horton Hears a Who is a significant improvement over the previous attempts to bring the works of Dr. Suess to the screen. Hopefully, the lessons learned here will be remembered in the future, if other Suess books are adapted into feature films.
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- February 18, 2009 / 6:58 pm
- Suite 101