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Thursday, May 8, 2008

REVIEW - "Horton Hears a Who!" (2008)

Sorry it’s been so long since A) an update or B) a recent review. Frankly I didn’t want to go see movies I knew would probably be awful so I passed on “Doomsday,” and a host of other movies that looked bad. “10,000 B.C.” gave me my fill for hideous films this year and I didn’t want to risk anymore. However I did see one little jewel in the rough; I say jewel rather than diamond because I don’t think it’s that valuable, but it was probably the best thing that came to theaters during the month of March.

“Horton Hears a Who!” won’t be remembered like most Pixar pictures, but it might as well be. Besides, it’s a good one for the kids and mother to go see while dad stays at home melting his brain over March Madness.

Jim Carrey voices the elephant Horton who ends up finding an entire civilization of Whos living on a spec that is set upon a clover. Though the original 1970s cartoon was sharply condensed to stay truer to the book, this new version delivers a more spastic Horton that is sure entertain smaller children of this generation. Meanwhile, Steve Carrell’s Mayor of Whoville will probably resonate more with the parents. Sure, the character has that abrupt humor that younger audiences like, but the obstacles he makes light of is something parents can appreciate too.

Seth Rogen also offers his voice to this movie, but plays a character that hardly does anything. I felt like his name was just thrown on the poster to gain a wider audience and they gave him a nothing part to keep the poster’s credibility. The voice acting from Carrey and Carrell is really what makes this movie. I can’t help but wonder if they improved some lines or made their own changes to the script.

The animation isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before, or that Pixar has done better, but it’s no less pleasing. I don’t think anyone would notice any severe flaw with it. In fact the animation is very emblematic of the entire movie. It’s above average, highly enjoyable and a fun family movie. Nothing groundbreaking—It’s no “Toy Story,” but it maintains a quality that isn’t popular during the month of March.

Now how does it stack up as a Dr. Seuss movie? The recent batch of live action Dr. Seuss films have delivered overly stretched, unfunny and tacky versions of the original stories. “The Grinch” was an enormous disappointment and “The Cat and the Hat” was simply forgettable. However, “Horton Hears a Who!” only extends ideas that were present in the children’s book rather than transforming it in to something else. It maintains that classy Dr. Seuss humor while spicing up the characters for today’s audience. It doesn’t veer off to far from the original story and the small editions are enjoyable and fitting.

Again, it’s hard to find quality films during March, but “Horton Hears a Who!” was a great breath of fresh air. It probably wasn’t strong enough to go up against this summer’s stacked lineup, but it most certainly should not be lumped with the crap that came out during the month it opened.

*** out of ****

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