Dr. Seuss'
Horton Hears A Who (2008)
Review by Ross Anthony

This is easily my favorite Seuss book (written in 1954, animated as a 30 minute TV special in 1970, and now being released on the big screen as a feature). It's just such a great story, one that is "universally" relevant. Told as if it were a children's story, it's really got a much larger message that adults absolutely need to be reminded of. Many years ago, I purchased the original TV version as a VHS and still have it in my collection. The animation is of course old style, but as long as people gather in towns and cities and countries (and indeed, perhaps in the future, planets) the tale will never grow old.

Add to that, the powerful un-apologetic music, the production is powerful and resonating. It's actually surprising how such a tame "cartoon" with so many seemingly smiling and happy characters can accurately depict such a dark component in the everyday world. We humans do okay most of the time, but we do so need periodic reminders to recall just how fear and ignorance can make perfectly decent people – perfectly dangerous. As a big fan of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, I looked forward to the 2008 release of the new version of this Dr. Seuss classic. The new style of animation looked like it will make a juicy update to re-introduce this timeless story to the next generation of humans and whos. And now I'm excited to write about this new film.

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In fact, I re-watched the TV version a week or two before screening this full feature version. And despite the fact that my memory is nowhere near as solid as an elephant's, I remember the "We are the Wickersham bros" song with great clarity, "Boil that Dust Speck!" "Boil that Dust Speck!" But all those songs are gone in this new feature version. And while I was disappointed not to hear that song in particular, I have to admit that the earlier Wickershams where perhaps more than a tad too disturbing for younger viewers. Their feature film incarnations are much milder monkeys.

"I'll make monkeys out of those monkeys" the new Horton proclaims. And while I'm a big fan of the stars behind the voices, I didn't really feel their magic this time around. Perhaps due to the lack of familiar songs, or my anticipation of the shorter version's pace, I felt this film stalled a few times, or at least progressed a bit on the sluggish side. That said, the animation was top-notch -- it felt halfway on its way to Claymation. Cool! And when Horton imagined, the filmmakers switched to old-school painted cartoons -- very sweet. Despite the lack of a musical, the grand whoville symphonic overture that finally ensues is quite magnificent. The REO Speedwagon theme that follows is rather fun too.

Overall, this great story acquires some newly created sub-stories, and adapts existing characters working well enough with the changes. As I left the theatre, I heard a kid in the audience exclaim, "That was so cool."

horton2 -- Book Contest --

  • Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who. Copyright © 2008.
  • Starring the voices of: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett.
  • Directed by Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino.
  • Screenwriters Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio.
  • Producer Bob Gordon at Fox

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 14-Apr-2008 12:16:14 PDT