Horton Hears a Who! My Reviews 26 APR 2008

Horton Hears A Who I meant what I said, I said what I meant, an elephant is faithful a hundred percent!

In the fantastic Jungle of Nool, a caring, imaginative elephant named Horton (Jim Carrey) is taking a bath in the pool, when a speck of dust floats past him and he swears he hears a yelp! Leaping into action, Horton manages to trap the speck on a clover that he was carrying and in doing so, makes the first living contact with the miniscule Whos who inhabit Whoville, the microscopic world currently placed on that very speck of dust.

Of course, when the other jungle inhabitants hear of Horton’s find, they are less than impressed and as the stodgy old kangaroo puts it, if you can’t hear, see, smell or touch it then it simply doesn’t exist. And of the flip side, no one believes Whoville Mayor Ned (Steve Carell) that the strange phenomena occurring across Whoville is linked to this great voice in the sky named Horton.

The problem is that when the speck of dust carrying Whoville got dislodged from its resting place, the entire ecosystem of Whoville became extremely unstable and if it doesn’t get returned to a safe spot soon then it is going to be the end of Whoville as the Whos know it. Eager to help out his new friend, Horton hatches a plan that will see him embark on a perilous journey to place the speck on the top of the nearby mountain, but unbeknownst to him the other jungle creatures are less than happy with him disturbing the status quo and as such are going to go all out in order to destroy that clover!

Mayor Ned with his wife and 96 daughters (and 1 rebellious son) has his own problems to deal with as he tries desperately and in vain to convince the very carefree Whos that their world is in danger and that everyone must immediately take cover!

And so begins the mad race against time as Horton rushes to get the speck to the mountain against all odds – while Ned battles red tape and the very carefree Who nature all the way to ensure that Whoville remains in existence. The only thing that the two of them have going for them is that they both believe in each other – after all, a person’s a person, no matter how small!

Horton Hears a Who! is a 2008 CGI animated movie based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss and is produced and animated by Blue Sky Studios, the production house responsible for the phenomenally successful Ice Age and Ice Age 2, as well as for the 2005 Robin Williams feature, Robots. The man in the director’s chair for this family romp is relatively unknown Jimmy Hayward who has worked as an animator on movies like Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo, as well as sequence director for Robots before.

A lot of CG animated movies have been coming out now in recent years, and unfortunately with this flood of movies has come the inevitable downturn in quality scripts. Thankfully though Horton Hears a Who! is based on an already established book and with some masterful scripting turns out to be a morally solid, silly comedy romp of the highest quality that pleases almost everyone who views it. At no point does it feel stupid, slow or forced and at 88 minutes long proves to get the family movie formula right first time. It is one of those light-hearted stories that will steal your heart and make you walk out of the cinema feeling as if you are prancing on air.

Jimmy Hayward pulled out all the stops when it came to recruiting the voice talent for the film, and you’ll find a host of celebrity actors partaking, including Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Dan Fogler, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jaime Pressly, Seth Rogen and Jesse McCartney. Of course, the stars of the show are undoubtedly Jim Carrey as Horton himself and Steve Carell as Mayor Ned. The two of them work exceptionally well together and breathe absolute life into the two main characters, stealing the show without a shadow of a doubt. Both are as comedic and heartfelt as you would expect in a story like this, and together with the rest of the phenomenal voice cast, help immerse you even further into this fantastical wonder piece.

Visually, Horton Hears a Who! is an absolute treat on the eyes. The designers have gone for an extremely exaggerated, organic look and the CGI brings this vision to life. The jungle and the creatures that inhabit it are lush, vibrant and each and every one is an absolute character. The character designs stay very true to Dr Seuss’ original designs and this makes the dual worlds of Nool and Whoville spectacularly wacky. Thrown in with the absolutely brilliant CGI are a couple of traditional 2D animation sequences that are particularly entertaining and as well executed as the rest of the scenes.

Like I said the character designs are all pretty quirky and a lot of the look of the characters is used in driving the humour and light-heartedness of the story forward. However, even if this organic world is slightly exaggerated in nature, one must not take away from the great physics engine employed here as we are treated to a host of very special CG tricks and sequences. Truly CGI has now finally come into its own.

The score for the movie is composed by John Powell and it is a brilliant blend of music, sound and visuals because Horton Hears a Who! is a aural treat. The soundtrack is 100% fun, but look out especially for the crossing the rope bridge sequence where a simply sublime choice of music makes it one of the funniest sequences you will ever see and is guaranteed to bring tears of laughter to your eyes!

Horton Hears a Who! can only be described as a loveable must see for the whole family. The kids will love it simply because no kid will be able to resist the loveable elephant’s charm and the adults are sure to get more than one or two chuckles out of the various situations that arise. Actually, forget that statement, adults will be laughing just as hard as the children. It is a great story with a good moral backing, it looks and sounds gorgeous, it’s charming and in short it is a great, enjoyable movie that you HAVE to take your kids to see.

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Related Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451079/

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.