There are probably not many people in the Western hemisphere who have not read a Dr. Seuss book. They are beloved by millions as he was able to create a wonderful, odd, dynamic, and colourful world that kids love. It is always dangerous territory to undertake translating the wonders of kid’s books to film, but I think that directors Jimmy Hayward (animator on Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc) and Steve Martino (first film) have proven themselves up to the challenge.
Horton (Jim Carrey – Bruce Almighty, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is an elephant and the largest creature in the jungle, but is a harmless, happy-go-lucky, poetic creature. Looked up to by many of the younger animals he has taken on the duty of educating some of them. This upsets Kangaroo (Carol Burnett – from television’s The Carol Burnett Show), who believes that Horton is a dangerous influence on the young ones due to his eccentric ways. Her disapproval of him grows when she finds out that he has a speck on a clover in which he believes he heard talking. She is out to nip this nonsense in the proverbial bud.
Horton does hear a cry from a piece of speck and upon further investigation he discovers that the entire town of Whoville lives on that speck. The Mayor of Whoville (Steve Carell – from television’s The Office) is able to communicate with Horton and they come up with a plan that unless Horton gets the speck to a safe place the town of Whoville is in peril.
No one else in the jungle can hear the Whos’ voices, so everyone, including his best friend Morton (Seth Rogen – Superbad, Knocked Up), believes that Horton might be losing it. Horton embarks on a voyage to a far off mountain where he thinks the speck will be safe all by himself and has to battle off many dangers including Vlad (Will Arnett – Blades of Glory, Ratatouille) the vulture who the Kangaroo has hired to stop him.
Younger viewers will love the film as it retains all the humour, colour and liveliness of the book. Older viewers will be able to enjoy the messages of believing in what you cannot see, loyalty, bravery, equality, and justice that crop up in the film. And everyone will love the voice work by Jim Carrey (who was born to do this kind of stuff) and Steve Carrell. There are some dark parts and some slow parts, but all in all the lively colour and fun characters make up for the film’s faults.
This is by far the best adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book of the three made so far. Though at times the film does drag on a bit, it is still a fun watch for young and old alike.
-Audio Commentary by Directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
-Ice Age Short: Surviving Sid
-Deleted Footage and Animation Screen Tests
-Bringing the Characters to Life
-That’s One Big Elephant: Animating Horton
-Bringing Seuss to Screen
-The Elephant in the Room: Jim Carrey
-A Person is a Person: A Universal Message
-Our Speck: Where Do We Fit In?
-Elephant Fun: The Facts
-We Are Here Game