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horton hears a who Horton Hears a Who
Directed by:
Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
Cast: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Dan Fogler
Written by:
Tony DeFrancisco

March 28, 2008

Oh god. Memories of my past have come to haunt me. For the past few years, I have been trying to stay the hell away from Dr. Seuss. Back when I was a child, I would always think of that man being the Anti-Christ of children’s books. It doesn’t take a genius to find a word that rhymes with “hop,” but I guess that if you do find the word that must mean that you are going to third grade. But I guess anyone can plagiarize off of Theodor Geisel. I wouldn’t be surprised if your favorite rap artists have borrowed a few of his rhymes in at least FIVE of their songs.

And what about that Soulja Boy?

The newest film made from a Dr. Seuss book is “Horton Hears a Who.” It is FAR from the worst film, and you can give that award to Mike Myers. But it is far the best. Personally, I wouldn’t make “Horton Hears a Who” into a film. It isn’t the most memorable one, but I guess it will be the one that will attract the most attention. This is the first time a Dr. Seuss adaptation was fully animated, so it will probably be better received by children. I guess it will be better received by the critics also… except by me… except by me…

It’s not because I don’t think it is a good children film. Hell, I think most children would enjoy the hell out of it. I’m just saying that I didn’t enjoy it. Actually, if I wasn’t going to respect the fact that it was made for children, I would scream at the top of my lungs, “NOT THIS MOVIE!” But I won’t, because that will be rude of me and I respect the fact that it was made for children. But for everyone else? I’m sure you all can use your eyes and notice that “Never Back Down” and “Be Kind Rewind” are down the hall, and next door is the small room that holds fifty people playing “Funny Games.” That is, if your theater is good enough for that.

Horton (voiced by Jim Carrey) is an elephant who, while taking bath, catches a speck on a flower. Living on this speck are millions of “Whos,” a group of small people. Horton begins talking to the speck, where he is met by the voice of the Mayor of Whoville (voiced by Steve Carell). The Mayor, who has ninety-six children and one Emo son (voiced by Jesse McCartney, who still manages to look like a pussy in animation form), finds out that unless the “speck” that he lives in keeps moving, there is a chance that all of Whoville will be in danger. It is up to Horton to find a place where the speck can sit at so the Whos will all be peaceful.

The movie sounds innocent enough to children, but to adults, it will be madness. I read online that pro-life people showed up to a screening of the film in L.A. and I’m sure Al Gore, while watching the film, will be grinning his face at all of the global warming references the film contains. But it is a children’s movie – get real. Even I won’t approach issues like that in my review.

Instead, I’ll approach bigger problems. The funniest scene in the film, sadly, screws the entire film up. This scene is where Horton is walking the rope bridge, and breaks it with his heavy weight. This will later appear as a plot goof twenty minutes later when the entire town chases after Horton. If you can answer me how the hell does everyone else get onto the others side without crossing the bridge, you’ll get a nickel. It will take someone as anal as me to notice that hole, though, so I’m not expecting all of you guys to notice it also.

Never in a thousand years have I heard such bad voice acting in a film. Jim Carrey’s voice work of Horton comes off as a child molester – it sounds so sweet but oh, so scary once you think about it. Steve Carell doesn’t work as much as he should, but he is the soft spot of the film. Yes, Dan Fogler is in the film, but his part is so small that I didn’t even notice he was there until the end credits. And now that I realize it, the film has a great supporting cast, but aside from the main two characters, we don’t get much voice work from the others.

The biggest problem I have with animated films are when they begin to reference pop culture events. Using “hip phrases,” singing 80s songs, an Emo kid, an anime sequence (though I can’t really bitch about, since I kind of liked it), and quoting lines from famous movies back from the 70s, the film uses too much pop culture to help make kids laugh instead of using humor to make them laugh. It will make adults probably giggle, but for the children, they will be shaking their heads and asking “What’s the word” means.

But I digress. It is a Seuss film and after all, it looks like a Seuss film. People riding on bikes on top of buildings and people driving cars that look like Satan’s VW beetle are all things that take place in “Seuss-niverse.” And yes, nothing is different here. Actually, everything looks the same from the last two movies. But you can’t really blame anyone for that.

Like I said, I didn’t like it, but it is a good family film over the break. But for those of you adults without children, go see something else, or just wait for video. My feelings won’t only save you eight bucks, but it will save you an ear that won’t be screamed in by little kids (which happened both times I went to go see it, and miraculously, both times I never paid for it).


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