HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:

Hears A Who

An elephant may be faithful one hundred percent, but when adapting a short children's story to the big screen, a writer simply can't be. Twice before the works of Dr. Seuss have been stretched out into full-length features, wrenching the Grinch and shatting on the Cat in the Hat. Apparently after that last one, Seuss' widow swore that no more live-action films would be made of her husband's work. From here on out, it would be animation.

Of course, it wasn't the medium so much as bad writing that caused the earlier problems. When Blue Sky Studios, the people behind the Ice Age films took on Horton Hears A Who, they did the wisest thing they could - made sure their story expansions were within Seuss' original narrative. Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul hang everything new on Seuss' already substantial skeleton, mostly filling in the details of life in Who-ville, while the titular elephant suffers the same trials Seuss envisioned.

The result honors not just Seuss' book, but his overall outlook. Throughout, Horton references back to his original story, Horton Hatches the Egg, by sticking to his motto, "I meant what I said, I said what I meant, an elephant's faithful one hundred percent." Ignoring the obvious peril to their world, the government of Whoville seems suspiciously familiar, and if you think Seuss wouldn't have drawn such a connection, then you've obviously never read The Lorax. Seuss was political; the source material here was written as a metaphor for why Americans needed to support the Marshall Plan.

In transferring to the screen, the film also takes on a few more messages, such as the need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Sixty years or so after it was written, this silly little story about an elephant has a lot of unexpected depth.

But is it funny?

Kids won't care about its history or its message. They'll be too busy laughing. Not only are the Whos often ridiculous, but Horton himself has been given a more vivid imagination. This allows the filmmakers to more directly pay tribute to Seuss in a 2-D animation sequence that looks just like the author's sketches come to life. (If you look closely, too, you'll catch Seuss portrayed as a former Mayor of Whoville.)

Horton also apparently watches anime, and his illusionary fight scene incorporates more than one style of Japanese animation, yet all completely in service to the story.

Several "hip" comics also pop up throughout the film, yet none of them, including Jim Carrey as Horton, distract from the story. Though Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill play little more than cleaned-up versions of their usual personas, their voices fit the characters they've been given. The usually smarmy Will Arnett subsumes his voice into that of the villainous vulture Vlad; in fact, he's almost unrecognizable.

Carrey, too, serves the story, playing with a cartoony voice but one that stays consistent. Horton may have a vivid imagination, but the character is earnest, not vocally talented. The same can be said for Steve Carell as the current Mayor of Whoville; both actors utilize their talents, not their star power.

In a nice touch, directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino go back to one of the best comediennes of our time, giving Carol Burnett a plum role as the kangaroo who rules the jungle.

Taken all together, Horton Hears a Who stands up to watching more than once, with morals delivered so charmingly that you almost don't realize you've been schooled. As a guy going through the Dr. Seuss canon with his own kids right now, I can say with some authority that that's just how the Doctor would have done it.

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites