"Horton Hears Who?"
What You Need To Know:
HORTON HEARS A WHO often drags and annoys although it has some funny and entertaining moments. It also sends some conflicting messages, although the movie’s dominant message extols faithfulness, compassion, self-sacrifice, and looking out for others. The movie does have colorful images and humor. The animation and voice work are first rate. It’s too bad, therefore, that they couldn’t make the script better.
(B, C, RoRo, H, PC, V, M) Moral worldview extolling faithfulness, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness with redemptive sacrifice of self to meet the needs of others that reflects a Christian worldview, marred, however, by some Romantic notions, plus light humanism rebuked in presentation of one character who supports the humanist belief that “if it cannot be seen, heard or felt, it does not exist,” but there is a negative, politically correct left-wing reference portraying home schooling as bad and politically correct notions that, in order to get along with others, all we need to do is accept everyone; no foul language but some insults such as idiot spoken twice and mayor referred to as a boob numerous times; light violence with vulture seeking to destroy speck of dust that really is a whole other world, vulture seeks to destroy main character, and angry mob mentality as Horton is grabbed and chained and speck in danger of being thrown into a vat of boiling liquid; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking; and, mild miscellaneous references to authority being bad and requiring Horton to reject authority, multiple negative references to governmental systems, and young kangaroo defies mother and it is extolled as good behavior.
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, but 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%!” 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 could 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.