April 6, 2008

A Person’s A Person, No Matter How Small

Posted in Adventure, Animated, Comedy, Family-Oriented, Movies at 11:06 pm by inflickted

There is a general opinion that the two live action movie adaptations of Dr. Seuss’s books fall short and do not achieve the atmosphere the books create. I grew up without any real exposure to Dr. Seuss’s work, so I got to appreciate “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Cat in the Hat” purely off their film viewing merits. And I must honestly say I didn’t completely dislike them. Jim Carrey was excellent as the Grinch but I can’t say the same for the rest of the actors. As for Mike Myers portraying The Cat, he was off-putting but the movie was entertaining all the same (ironically, thanks to the rest of the actors).

Since then, the wife of Dr. Seuss was quoted saying her husband’s work will never be adapted in live action films. Thanks to advanced technology in animation nowadays, we who are still getting to know these great stories are given a chance still to appreciate them and see them come to life through the silver screen. Another great story from the wonderful author, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!

The moment I heard the narrator rhyming his lines, I knew I was once again in the world of Dr. Seuss. This time in full 3D animated glory. The animation was beautiful to say the least. I think it held true to Dr. Seuss’ own illustration. I saw not one straight line! You could practically spend weeks admiring the details in the film’s natural landscapes, from the lush tropics of Horton’s jungle home to the mayor’s cramped living quarters and of course, the imaginative and whimsical town called Whoville. I then understood that this cannot be wholly reproduced through a live-action movie. It is an appeal, only animation can provide.

The voice actors are just magnificent! First off, we have Horton, the playful, creative and naïve elephant voiced by Jim Carrey. We all like Jim Carrey for his facial expressions and exaggerated acting (best seen in his role as The Grinch) but his vocal veracity worked well. Both sappy and silly! Steve Carell voiced the Mayor of Whoville who is also the father of 96 daughters and 1 son. He was great! I completely forgot it was him! The rest of the voice actors were Amy Poehler as the wife of the Mayor, Seth Rogen as Morton, Horton’s best friend, Will Arnett as the evil Vlad, not the cookie-making rabbit Vlad., and the talented Carol Burnett as Kangaroo, the skeptic antagonist who doesn’t believe Horton can hear people in a speck.

The story lends itself to several morals and themes, but one echoes through-out the entire film, “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” The line speaks of acceptance, value of life and standing up for what you believe in. It balances out with all of the silliness, action sequences and witty jokes. What makes the story enduring is the fact that it can be read as a parable with a variety of positive messages or nothing more than a fun tale. For me, the messages I took from it is a deeper sense of commitment, dedication and the fulfillment of a promise. It broaches on the topics of faith and responsibility.

Few things I do have to say. I think the musical number at the last few minutes of the movie although funny, was strangely out-of-place. I also think the movie and the jokes are somewhat more for adults. The kids will of course enjoy the movie because it is an animated film and there are visual gags, but some of the jokes are some that teens and adults may really get.

“Horton Hears a Who!” is fun and enthusiastic, but also sweet and affecting in all the right moments. The movie feels as carefree and confident of its unpretentious virtues as its long-nosed hero. It’s a movie that can be both appreciated by young and adult movie goers. If the kids don’t completely get it, then the adults surely will.

It gets a whimsical 4.5 out of 5 or 90% infectious


1 Comment »

  1. gonzo said,

    I agree. by far the best among the three movies about the books of Dr. Seuss. me and my little siblings enjoyed the film!

    good review!

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