Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Movie Review: "Horton Hears a Who!" (2008)

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Movie"Horton Hears a Who!"
Director: Jim Hayward and Steve Martino
Year: 2008
Rating: G
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

An elephant named Horton (Jim Carrey) hears a voice coming from a speck resting on a flower blowing in the wind. He soon discovers that on this speck is the entire civilization of Whoville, and if the speck is not kept safe, all the Whos will be destroyed. Horton plans to transport the speck to a safe place, but a bossy Kangaroo (Carrol Burnett) thinks Horton talking to a speck is a bad influence on the children. She doesn't believe there are people on it since she can't see them and wants the flower and the speck destroyed so Horton will stop influencing the youth with his nonsense.

"Horton Hears a Who!" comes from Blue Sky Studios, the company most known for their multi-billion dollar "Ice Age" series. This animated feature is based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name and stars the voice talents of Jim Carrey as the titular Horton the elephant, Steve Carell as the mayor of Whoville, Carol Burnett, who voices the bossy Kangaroo who thinks she always knows best, as well as Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Amy Poehler, and Jamie Pressly. Horton the elephant is a kindhearted soul who spends his time teaching the children of the jungle. Many of Jim Carrey's characteristics have been placed onto Horton, including his many different voices, his spastic nature, and his weird, goofy facial expressions. Carrey uses his humor and what could be ad-libbed lines to truly become this lovable elephant protagonist. One day, Horton hears a voice on a speck on a flower that just happens to be floating in the wind. He quickly learns that this little speck houses the entire Who civilization! Of course, no one believes Horton except the children, who mimic his behavior and imagine there are/they are seeing other civilizations on other flowers to the dismay of the annoying, bossy, controlling Kangaroo. Back in Whoville, the mayor is having a similar problem as he is the only one able to hear Horton. Nobody believes him, which means nobody will listen when he says they are all in danger. As for Horton, he has to deal with a Kangaroo who doesn't want him talking about civilizations on a speck because she thinks it's a bad influence on children. Kangaroo is able to rally other jungle animals into agreeing with her by using fear-mongering tactics, wanting very much to eradicate that pesky speck Horton keeps insisting has Whos on it.

BigJ and I could probably be called big Dr. Seuss fans, pretty much from childhood. It's always fun to watch the movie versions of books we were read as children. Jim Carrey and Steve Carell lend their fitting and excellent voices to this fun animated feature film and bring quite a few laughs. Veteran actress Carol Burnett is also fantastic as the bossy and commanding Kangaroo. Though her character is actually pretty darn misguided and borderline terrible, Burnett's voice is great for the part. The story of "Horton Hears a Who!" is quite touching. It examines the trouble many face with new discoveries, especially if those discoveries contradict preexisting beliefs. It also looks at subjects like honor and staying true to your word, which are important lessons for kids of all ages to learn. Finally, this film teaches the value and merit of helping those who lack the power to help themselves. In a world of kids movies with tons of fart jokes and sexual innuendo, we think this is the perfect type of story. Elongated for movie form, the messages this movie has are not lost on us when transferred from the book. Nothing ever feels too over-the-top in terms of humor and content, it's just a pretty straightforward, earnest story with a lot of great voice-over work and a lot of whimsy and heart. The animation is also gorgeous, which helps a lot.

In the end, "Horton Hears a Who!" is mostly a fun adaptation of the classic Seuss tale we enjoyed as kids. This movie is definitely family friendly, and we think children as well as their parents will most likely find something to enjoy from this adorable, silly, dedicated elephant and his tiny little friends.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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