Funny, classic, timeless, and well-acted are just a few adjectives I can come up with for Horton Hears A Who. My kids love it (they’ve watched it 3 times in the 3 days we’ve had the DVD), my husband loves it, and I love it. I would highly recommend this Dr. Seuss DVD for anyone, as a great Christmas present or at any time of year.
As a huge fan of Dr. Seuss, and not a fan of big budget Hollywood, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had not even realized this 2008 Horton Hears A Who DVD was CGI and not live action. I was, however, prepared to be disappointed. I have the original animated Horton Hears A Who made for TV cartoon, and was ready to be this movie’s harshest critic. This story, like all Dr. Seuss stories, has a happy ending as I wasn’t disappointed at all.
Horton Hears a Who is, of course, the classic Dr. Seuss book about an elephant that hears voices on a tiny speck of fluff and decides to protect it with everything he’s got (including his life), despite the dissent of the rest of the jungle of Nool. The lead opposition comes from the self-proclaimed leader of the jungle - Kangaroo. Horton’s belief and willingness to save this person (because a person’s a person no matter how small) is a message to always carry with you. Dr. Seuss was truly a master at getting his message across.
Jim Carey as Horton is amazing. His voice range and expression is truly brilliant. He gives a compassionate quality to an already caring character. There is also a lot of humour injected into his portrayal of the generous elephant.There are lots of one-liners that kids and adults alike will repeat long after the movie is over. Even if the first couple times we see him feel a little generic, Steve Carrel as Ned the Mayor of Whoville adds his own person flavour to the character and develops as the movie progresses. Carol Burnett is the kangaroo (who home-schools her joey – what a modern twist!), and plays it perfectly. There are other great voice performances in this film, by Charles Osgood as the narrator, Amy Poehler as they mayor’s wife and Will Arnett as Vlad the vulture to name a few. The final scene when the characters all sing is hilarious.
The story itself (the adaptation) is fantastic. Little touches have been added here and there to bring Horton Hears A Who into the 21st century, without making it unrecognizable. There is even a nod to anime, the popular animation style from Japan. The message, or should I say messages are timeless and appropriate for people of all ages and sizes. Believing in something when you can’t see it (is Hollywood going spiritual?), willing to stand up for what you believe in regardless of massive opposition, and keeping your promise are just a few of the messages I got from this movie (so far).
I highly recommend this Dr. Seuss DVD for anyone, as a great Christmas present or any time of year.