Monday, March 17, 2008

Review: Horton Hears A Who (2008) [Reviewed By David Dominic DiMichele]

Horton Hears a Who-
**1/2 Out of ****
Directed by Steve Martino and Jimmy Hayward
March 16, 2008

If there was ever an award that pays homage to a talking elephant that over acts at the drop of a hat the award will have its winner hands down. We get a totally different elephant than what’s depicted in Dr. Seuss’ original book. In the film version the voice of the elephant Horton is Jim Carey and you can say he knows a little bit about over acting in certain situations. Very quickly he wears out Horton’s welcome. He should be as sweet and adorable as they come but that never happens. This is when the loveable mayor of Who-ville comes to the rescue of the movie as he brings with him a breath of fresh air and some much needed comedy that actually makes the audience laugh. The voice is done by Steve Carell with just the right amount of energy and wit.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a loveable and very enjoyable plot here: A huge clumsy and not very well respected elephant finds himself looked upon as a God like figure as he tries to prevent any damage to Who-ville, a world that is located on a tiny speck. But the film doesn’t balance well between the two worlds. Who-ville offers up the most laughs and we tend to want to stay here, rather than go back to the world of Horton. Horton has to get the speck to the safest spot in the jungle and the animals are all against that as they all believe, thanks mainly to a kangaroo, that Horton is loosing his mind. There aren’t any sensible laughs here, whereas in Who-ville the laughs keep coming.

This is a classic Dr. Seuss tale. There’s even some narration in here which makes us wish there was more of it. The voice reminded of the one in the classic cartoon "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which is much shorter and much better. Seuss’ books aren’t made to be a feature length movie. There is just too much creative juice that oozes from the pages that in return runs wild in our own imaginations for years to follow. Directors Martino and Hayward seemed to be on the right track as they made "Horton" an animated film. Good looking but nothing jaw-dropping. Seriously, did those two directors think they stood a chance at copying what the ingenious and imaginative mind of Theodor Seuss Geisel created? I don’t think so. Previous films that were adapted from Dr. Seuss’ books are both bombs, such as "Cat in the Hat" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

A classic story like the plot that this movie has the luxury of beholding shouldn’t be overshadowed by a sappy father-son relationship or any extreme chase sequence because the simple message alone is all you need. Last time I checked a Seuss book is far from forgettable, while the movies, on the other hand, travel like the speck does; a small object who has no one’s attention, just drifting and drifting and drifting quickly to be forgotten.

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