Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!
hasn't been very nice to the memory of Theodor S. Geisel, a/k/a legendary
children's lit author Dr. Seuss (Seuss was Geisel's middle name), in the
nearly two decades since he passed away.
was the live action update of How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim
Carrey mincing and prancing around as the miserable-but-misunderstood title
character. It seemed impossible that Grinch's lows could be
lowered, but the Mike Myers/Dakota Fanning take on The Cat in the Hat
was — amazingly — even worse.
the makers of Horton Hears A Who! show they understand the surreal
genius of Seuss in the fact that — unlike those two stinkers — they have
made their film animated. Computer animation, granted, so it's not
perfect, but really Seuss' fractured fairytales cry out for the lack of
boundaries and gravity that only animation can really achieve.
is trumpeted to be "From the creators of Ice Age" on the posters
but this is only accurate if you count the money men or the studio. On
the talent side, this is dual-directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
first film and screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul are best known for
writing the recent Martin Lawrence/Raven Symone comedy College Road Trip.
contributes the voice of Horton, an elephant who suddenly realizes a little
speck which flies past him in the jungle is in actuality a teeny-tiny little
world. Carrey tries to repent for his previous crimes against Seuss in Grinch
and he is only partially successful at it. Carrey works hard to be
memorable, sometimes too hard, throwing out little Carrey voices and
flourishes which are at odds with the solid, reliable character he is
work is generally well-calibrated, though the shrillness of Carol Burnett's
kangaroo sabotages the not-exactly-subtle-anyway political commentary of a
close-minded local leader.
Hears A Who! feels a little overly padded, taking a very short
book and stretching it to nearly 90 minutes just leaves too many unnecessary
and occasionally baffling scenes. (What the heck is the deal with the climactic
full-cast sing-a-long to REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling"?)
padding just reinforces the most obvious truth: the perfect format for Dr. Seuss still remains the half-hour television
special. If you doubt that, see the classic 60s TV version of
Grinch — still the best Seuss adaptation ever.
Horton Hears A Who! is — by far — the finest version of a Dr. Seuss
book in recent history.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: March 15, 2008.