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Horton Hears a Who: Movie Review

Star Rating
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Horton Hears a Who tries hard, but falls short. The good news is that it is not as frenetic as Cat in the Hat. Horton Hears a Who stars an amazing cast of voice talents in Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Carol Burnett. Adapted from the famous children’s story by Dr. Seuss, it often drags although it has some funny and entertaining moments.

The movie begins in the Jungle of Nool where a frolicking elephant named Horton (voiced by Jim Carey) suddenly hears a “YELP!” Overcoming crazy monkeys and numerous other obstacles, Horton follows this yelp to a tiny speck of dust on a clover, which is really a whole other world existing in the jungle. Horton’s antics come to the attention of Kangaroo (voiced by Carol Burnett), who is the self-proclaimed, conservative, authoritative ruler of the jungle. Horton seeks to protect this speck and refuses to give it to Kangaroo, who declares, “If you can’t see, hear, or feel it, it does not exist!” She accuses Horton of poisoning the young minds around him and commands him to stop and get rid of the speck. Horton stands his ground and states the popular line from the book, “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”

In fear of the environment and the poisoning of her son’s mind, Kangaroo rebukes her son for wanting to play with the other young jungle inhabitants. She declares that, from now on, he will be “pouch schooled,” clearly a negative, politically correct, left-wing reference against home schooling.

As Horton discovers and begins to engage in a relationship with the Mayor (voiced by Steve Carell) of Who-ville, the world existing on the speck of dust, Horton becomes committed to bringing the speck to safety. “An elephant is faithful, 100 percent!” Horton declares.

The Mayor of Who-ville notices some changes in climate and condition upon learning about the fate of his world on a clover. He desperately tries to inform the people of Who-ville. Despite his connection to the line of Great Mayors before him, he risks his position and reputation to identify the problem and save his world. The town council mocks him in an embarrassing manner, calling him a “boob” and kicking him in the derriere.

Meanwhile, in Nool, Horton has problems of his own. Kangaroo becomes enraged by his non-compliance to her request to get rid of the speck. She angrily asks him once more to give her the clover and then seeks the services of Vlad, a hit vulture of sorts, to rid the jungle of the speck and bring Horton into submission.

As the relationship between Horton and the Mayor resumes, both characters sacrificially put the needs of others above themselves. Horton, against advice from his dear friend, despite attacks from the Vlad, and against the whole population of the jungle, fights for the life of the speck and its needs. The Mayor sacrifices his dreams of deserving his lineage as a Great Mayor and instead accepts being treated as the town “boob.” He attempts to educate the community on its fate and its helper from above, Horton.

Many different perspectives are presented in Horton Hears a Who, taking it away from the simple work of Dr. Seuss. While the movie extols Christian, biblical, and moral values of sacrifice, love, compassion, and faithfulness, it also supports some Romantic, somewhat politically correct notions, such as the idea that people are essentially good, a man is responsible for his own fate, and, if we all just accept everyone, we would get along and the world would be a better and happier place.

The script and the plot are scattered throughout, making the movie seem longer than it needed to be and making it hard to grasp what is really being said. The overriding message is unclear, seeming to be that everybody is right! While the messages are subtle and too confusing to be understood by young minds, the movie loses its flow.

The CGI animation in Horton Hears a Who is magical. The worlds depicted maintain the character and integrity of the original works by Dr. Seuss.

Though it doesn’t flow as well as it should, Horton Hears a Who is somewhat entertaining. Despite its confusing messages and seemingly contradictory philosophies, the movie does encourage faithfulness, self-sacrifice and looking out for others. Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Carol Burnett do delight the audience with their voices, and the animation surely leaves nothing to be desired. It’s too bad, therefore, that they couldn’t make the script better.


NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.

Star Rating: 
3
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