Fox // 2008 // 86 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // December 24th, 2008
Now what have we here,
All you people milling about?
And, why, in my court
With such a need to shout out?
What's this you say about an elephant named 'Horton'
And a film needing 'story' that, you say, it's too short on?
Then take a seat now and let us get started.
We'll see about this movie some claim is half-hearted.
Let the record reflect, on some fifteenth of May,
That a pachyderm discovered his purpose that day.
He was minding his business, happy and free,
When he heard a faint noise from a speck that was wee.
Others said, "Fool! There's nothing possibly there!"
Still Horton looked after the speck with great care.
He coddled it and kept it, secure on soft clover.
For it was a tiny community of Whos Horton nobly looked over.
He didn't quite know how he'd adopted these folks -- or why,
But he had to convince others of the Whos presence, or at least try.
In the jungle, the citizens treated Horton with derision.
A kangaroo, in particular, felt she should make a decision.
She'd make an example of this elephant freethinker.
She'd put a stop to his rantings, save minds with which he'd tinker.
Especially the youngsters who'd surely believe him -- hook, line, and sinker.
On the speck, a Mayor fretted, knowing Who-ville was in danger.
The other Whos, however, didn't like this mood-changer.
The Whos lived in happiness every day of their life.
They didn't take kindly to this boob spouting strife.
Both on speck and off, then, two troubled beings brooded.
An elephant and a Mayor, both of whom concluded,
That unless others accepted an existence in there,
It could cause social aloofness or, at least, be unfair.
All people are important, Horton championed the call.
A person's a person, no matter how small.
So the two carried on, their burdens quite weighty,
While an unenlightened audience looked on, most born after 1980.
The once powerful analogy of humanity -- a mere speck,
Was now buried under a heap of modern references and dreck.
As is typical with these dreaded big-studio adaptations,
Horton Hears a Who! is the latest of these "progressive" aberrations.
Oh, the animation is splendid, the rendering top notch,
But it's the content of the affair that makes it a botch.
Older people, you'll find, know of Horton as a hero.
While younger folks never heard of him once -- that's right, zero.
But Horton, the elephant, was twice put to use,
By a writer of children's books, the beloved "Dr. Seuss."
Words were his paints, the page was his easel.
Poignant storytelling his specialty (though his real last name was Geisel).
Horton was admirable, to hear his stories I'd beg,
like this one, and that other time when he'd hatched a bird's egg.
A role model of sorts, with a trunk and big ears,
And these particular stories have been favorites for years.
Seuss wrote rhythmic lessons using anapestic tetrameter like a
A complicated term that makes reading sound better, just so you know.
For fifty-three years he wrote books to delight us,
Forty-seven as Seuss, with his goal to unite us.
An artist and writer and man of conviction,
Seuss was reluctant to license his work beyond his own fiction.
Even so, he agreed to some animated features,
A cartoonist himself who enjoyed fantastical creatures.
But this film is so full of hip and trendy new flair,
And the wannabe Geisel's show they really don't care.
References to pop culture and political disjoint,
Have burdened the noble elephant to an irrelevant point.
Gone is the story of a brave and caring soul,
And in place of its original heart, just a hole.
The voices are given by Jim Carrey and Steve Carell,
And they both perform their inflective tasks reasonably well.
Out of place seems Seth Rogen, his work usually adult-themed,
But, as a voice actor, he enjoys himself, or so it seemed.
"But how does it look?" the courtroom implores,
And, finally, here's where this disc earns high scores.
The image is stunning, the codec AVC,
The resolution is lifelike, take it from me.
Black levels are solid, the contrast well done,
The color's well rendered, this is eye-candy fun.
But what will you hear when listen to Horton?
It's a great DTS track all discs should be sportin'.
The HD Master Audio mix is most impressive,
From ambient sounds to a low-end that's aggressive.
Dialog and music is balanced and level,
Sonically, it's the stuff in which Blu-ray fans revel.
Extra goodies abound, on the swelling single disc,
With a filmmaker's commentary that's informative and brisk.
Eight featurettes are next, some compelling, some droll,
Plus many more elements that, by the clock, take a toll.
And don't forget the BD-exclusive here too,
A picture-in-picture feature to watch alongside a real Who.
By the end of the disc, this courtroom must say,
Horton Hears a Who is, well, just OK.
It's technically astute but narratively lacking,
And a verdict of "rent it" is this judge's best backing.
Court is adjourned without proclamation of guilt,
But, clearly, this isn't of the world that Seuss built.
Review content copyright © 2008 Dennis Prince; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p Widescreen)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* Director's Commentary
* Ice Age 3 sneak preview
* Ice Age short: Surviving Sid
* Deleted footage
* We Are Here! game
* Digital Copy
* Official Site