a critiQal film review Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: An imaginative elephant named Horton (Carrey) hears a cry for help coming from a tiny speck of dust floating through the air. Suspecting there may be life on that speck and despite a surrounding community that is convinced he's lost his mind, Horton is determined to help.

662 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 18s)
  • ...Carrey & Co. bring this classic Dr. Seuss tale to animated life for a fun family movie that both kids and adults will want to see again and again!

After an abnormally long wait, the new animated film Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! has finally hit DVD. Since the previews made this look so funny, and it featured the voices of funnymen Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, we were almost ready to check this out in theaters back in March. One thing lead to another and we missed it, but immediately added it to our queue and waited for it to hit DVD…and waited…and waited. Finally, however, it has arrived, and we snatched up a copy last week to check it out.

Of course, it being the Holiday season, we didn’t actually get around to watching it for a week. When we finally had a moment, and settled down to watch it, we figured we were going to be in for a fun hour and a half.

Jim Carrey takes the lead in Horton Hears A Who!, voicing the main character, a rather silly elephant named Horton. While most of Jim Carrey’s films as of late have relied more on his comedic timing than his impersonations, Horton Hears A Who! lets viewers in on a wide range of brand-new impersonations. True, they aren’t up to the high quality Sean Connery and William Shatner impersonations of his Ace Ventura: Pet Detective years, but are still pretty funny.

Steve Carell does a decent job as the mayor of Whoville. While his character gets most of his laugh via physical comedy (a numbed arm sequence is a high point), Carell manages to keep his character as grounded as he can be, almost in spite of his bizarre situation. With Carrey’s over-the-top antics as Horton, Steve Carell’s mayor almost seems the straight man of this comedy duo – despite being somewhat inept, living on a speck and having a ridiculous number of daughters.

The rest of the voice cast are not as easily recognizable, and step back to let Carrey and Carell run this show – and what a frantic show it is.

But the film doesn’t stop at comedy. It has a wit about it that few “family” films are able to manage. Both kids and adults will appreciate the antics of Carrey and Carell, but the film doesn’t stop there, including things like the very Rube Golderg-esque way teen JoJo makes his way to an observatory (seen in the preview). It’s additions like this that make this film enjoyable over and over again by kids and parents alike. And hey – there’s even a good message for kids!

The animation is impressive. Despite the wild antics of the characters, each character seems entirely realistic in the world the film creates. Whether it’s a banana attack by apes (with a bit of -esque slo-mo) or Horton’s many uses of his ears, each animated sequence is flawless in it’s execution, and the animation is crisp and clear – perfect for hi-def. It’s a real treat for the eyes as well as the funnybone.

With Horton’s almost non-stop bizarre antics (one of the funniest: Horton plows through deep snow, his trunk poking above to spray out the flurries in his way – then bursts clear and complains about a brain freeze) are almost frenetic in their pace, and the whole film rushes at the viewer like a comedy freight train. While not all of the jokes are funny, there are so many being thrown at the viewer that more than a few manage to hit the mark. It’s an interesting way to do a comedy, and while it may not work for most films, it works in it’s way for Horton Hears A Who!.

So, this Christmas, after all the hoopla and craziness has died down, and the presents are all unwrapped, hope somebody gets Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! – that way, the whole family will be able to sit down, unwind, and let Carrey’s Horton give them some laughs. I can’t think of a better way to unwind, can you?

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