Horton Hears a Who

Horton Hears a Who PosterI have always been a fan of Dr. Seuss (which may explain why I’ve enjoyed so many films which can only be described as ‘odd’) and, while I was not sure how anyone could make an 86-minute film out of one of his books, I was curious as to how it turned out. Surprisingly, it was done quite well and Horton Hears a Who turned out to be an enjoyable journey.

 

The Story

Horton Hears a Who is based on Dr. Seuss’ classic book by the same title. The story is about an elephant named Horton who hears a cry for help coming from a small spec on a clover flower. Horton responds to the call and decides to help the small people who live on the flower. The other inhabitants of the jungle take offense at Horton, as they can’t hear the people on the speck, and declare he is going mad and must be stopped. Still dedicated to helping his small new friends, Horton must get the clover to safety before it’s too late.

 

The Good

This film, like the book, contains biblical pro-life themes. Throughout the film Horton insists that “a person’s a person no matter how small” and is dedicated to his mission of protecting the small people no matter what the cost. Down on the spec, the mayor must overcome the corruption in his town and convince the people of Whoville that while their town may have been stable for centuries, it’s not stable anymore. The people then band together to help Horton save Whoville from imminent destruction. Also present in this film are sub-themes of friendship and dedication to a higher cause.

On a more technical note, the film’s animation is quite well done, but what really stands out here is the soundtrack. John Powell has once again composed a score that fits the movie like a glove but is also quite enjoyable in it’s own right. While some of the characters seem a little overdone at times, they were cast well and the sound design complemented the picture excellently.

 

The Bad

Toward the beginning of the film it becomes evident that the mayor of Whoville and his only son, Jo-Jo, do not have a healthy relationship. The father’s and son’s visions for Jo-Jo’s future are at odds with each other and it plays out in a sullen silence on Jo-Jo’s part. Fortunately, by the end of the film, father and son work together to save Whoville and I think it’s safe to assume that their relationship goes uphill from there. Besides that, some slightly rude humor and a bit of name calling is all that can be considered negative in this film. As a warning, there are a few scenes that may be slightly scary for young children.

 

Conclusion

Horton Hears a Who is a safe, clean option for an enjoyable family night. While there are a few problems with it, I believe that it can be enjoyed together by people of all ages. It’s another one of those films that gives me some slight hope that Hollywood might not be completely dead.

Let’s hope they make many more.

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