Writer: Cammy ZulkifliWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Over The Hedge", "Open Season", "Madagascar"
If you grew up reading Dr. Seuss, nostalgia itself will reel you in to watch "Horton Hears A Who!" on the big screen. This wholesome, healthy entertainment is good fun for the family. However, it poses one major risk - the same enjoyment you experienced reading the books when you were a child may not translate as well now that you're all grown up. Even if you're not familiar with Dr. Seuss, your own children (or younger siblings) would haul you to the cinemas to catch it and yet, it still has the potential of exposing yet another flaw - that its recycled happy notions and resounding morals may be obsolete in the age of action-packed CG and fast-paced video games.
"Horton" is the first animation film to be based on one of Dr. Seuss' books, following the release of live-actions "The Grinch" and "The Cat In The Hat" in 2000 and 2003 respectively. The book attracted a strong following over its viral tagline - "A person's a person, no matter how small". The phrase became simple and sweet bedtime advice to children and adults alike around the world.
Horton, the titular character, is a happy and imaginative elephant who lives in the Jungle of Nool. Though happiness is always a good thing, too much happiness makes Horton a schizophrenic, and at worst, downright annoying. Children always love a 'good guy' to root for, but this movie falls flat when it calls for a memorable character, especially when it's one that's so happy-go-lucky, it's disturbing.
When Horton hears a cry for help coming from a floating speck of dust, he finds out that there are people called Who's living in a town called Whoville on the speck, and its Mayor Ned is desperately trying to save his town from impending disaster. Horton then offers to help by finding them a nice, safe and stable place to live on.
Though Hollywood's most beloved comedians Jim Carrey and Steve Carell voiced the two lead characters Horton and Ned, the whole line-up of voice talents equals a reasonably good performance. Carrey watered down his voice antics as Horton, which does not reflect the outrageous Carrey that we've come to know and love, while the only notable cast member is Carol Burnett as the Kangaroo.
While the decision to film the entire movie in full animation is a welcomed one, the story itself is far too small to stretch its potential. Its kindergarten-like colourful cinematography is charming but doesn't carry enough spice to sustain a viewer's interest, and the fleeting story is too predictable to generate momentum.
"Horton" certainly has its fans, but adults may have outlived the linear action and mediocre animation to undergo 88 minutes of just that. If it is any consolation, your kids would probably walk out of the cinema feeling the same way.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008