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PCR #416 (Vol. 9, No. 11) This edition is for the week of March 10--16, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Horton Hears a Who"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Horton Hears a Who"  by Mike Smith
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Starring: the voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Carol Burnett
Directed by: Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
Rated: G
Running Time: 1 hour 28 minutes

This past week’s issue of “Entertainment Weekly” proposed 25 Pop Culture Arguments, one of them being that the recent computer animated Pixar Films are better than the classic animated Disney movies of the past. I won’t reveal how the argument ended, but I will say that I continue to marvel at the technology that seems to be available in Hollywood these days. And the opening shot of “Horton Hears A Who!,” featuring drops of water forming in a leaf, add even more to my amazement. But as “Showgirls” proved, a movie has to do more then look good. It has to have a story and a heart and “Horton” has both in spades.

Horton (Carrey) is an elephant living a life of ease in the jungle. One day, while bathing, he notices a speck of dust float by and hears a very small voice call out for help. After much trouble he tracks down the speck and hears the cry again. Anxious to help, Horton tells his jungle friends who, unfortunately, can’t hear anything. Horton is ridiculed by the others, led by a very snooty Kangaroo (Burnett). Meanwhile, inside the speck lies the town of Whoville, whose residents turn to their mayor (Carell) to do something grand.

I would say that adapting a story by the great Ted Geissel (the good Doctor’s real name – FYI Suess was his middle name) almost guarantees a good movie. However, I’m still recovering from the Mike Meyer’s tragedy that was “The Cat in the Hat.” That being said, the filmmakers have managed to turn a very short story (58 pages, most of them illustrations) into a very entertaining film that is sure to entertain everyone. Using the main story as a starting point, the script takes us behind the scenes and into the lives of the denizens of Whoville, starting with the Mayor, who we learn has 96 daughters and a son. Makes you wonder when he finds time to run the town. The main stars deliver brilliant takes on their characters, with Carrey leaving his sarcastic traits at home and giving Horton a sweetness that’s contagious. He is equally matched by Carell, whose Mayor is constantly on the run, dealing with city and family problems non-stop. And it’s always a time to celebrate when the great Carol Burnett makes an appearance, be it only vocally. The rest of the vocal cast is perfectly matched with their characters, giving Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler and Isla Fisher perfectly animated alter egos to have fun with. The animation, as stated at the beginning of this article, is mesmerizing. The colors and images seem to jump off the screen as the story, first published in 1954, unwinds. Both directors are making their debuts behind the camera here. However, both worked on “Robots,” while Hayward was part of PIXAR from the very beginning, working on everything from “Toy Story” to “Finding Nemo.” They use this past experience to their advantage in crafting “Horton.”

An enjoyable movie that will bring back many fond memories, on a scale of zero to four stars I give “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!”

This week's movie review of "Horton Hears a Who" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.