My Review of Horton Hears a Who

14 Nov

from April 21, 2008

“M. Blog went to see Horton Hears a Who?” you may be wondering. “Why didn’t he see The Forbidden Kingdom with Jet Li and Jackie Chan? That’s the film he really wanted to see.” Well, there’s a good story behind that. Too bad you won’t get it. You’re stuck with this review instead. Let’s just say that he  is a sweet guy and leave it at that.

Horton Hears a Who is an animated film (we used to call them cartoons back in the day) based on a children’s book by Dr, Seuss. Every kid for decades has grown up with Dr. Seuss- The Cat in the Hat, If I ran the Zoo, Green Eggs and Ham, Green Eggs and Ham Part Two: Sam Gets Botulism. Dr. Seuss must have been on some serious drugs. I take my hat off to him. As a writer who stubbornly insists on writing sober, I can only marvel at how he must have churned that stuff out as high as he must have been- talking cats, flying fish, the Grinch, and sexy little Cindy-Lou Who. Trust me- if Seuss wasn’t high as a flying tomato at the beach no way would he thought of anything more interesting than Timmy and Jane Get Syphilis. And trust me, venereal disease makes for a lousy children’s book.

I also have a great volume of wartime Dr. Seuss political cartoons. Entitled Dr. Seuss Goes to War, it reprints all of his WWII anti Japanese and German propaganda. Not only is this true, I used three of them in lessons at work. At any rate, none of his racism enters the acid trip he called Horton Hears a Who.

Horton is an elephant voiced by Jim Carrey. At one time Carrey was a major star in his own right. Now he’s a cartoon elephant. His last film was, I think, a bomb, and his previous film was, I think, I don’t know. It was forgettable.  Horton is a juvenile pink elephant, meaning that he is simply a figment of some young alcoholic’s imagination. As was Dumbo. Anyway, Horton one day is splashing around in a river in the jungle. Where is this jungle? I don’t know. This jungle contains elephants monkeys and kangaroos, so this jungle obviously only exists in Dr. Seuss’ trippy brain.

At any rate, there’s Horton, splishing and splashing away, playing with his trunk (this was a little risqué for a kids film) and just generally goofing around when a speck floats by. This wasn’t any ol’ speck, this was the speck with Whoville on it.

I have a problem. I am a big fan of the Grinch. And this could not possibly be the same Whoville that he stole Christmas from. Yet the Whores (what, you prefer Whovians? Whovillians, Whoites?) look like the ones from the Grinch and the town looks just the same. So is the Grinch microscopic? Is Whoville just bad luck? So right away I am angry at the lack of continuity. Being a Doctor Who fan, however, I’m used to that sort of thing. For example, the very second episode establishes the Daleks as coming from the far future, but their very next appearance contradicts that. And don’t get me started on Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers “trilogy.”

So Horton’s enormous ears pick up the Whores cries for help and saves them from drowning in the river by sucking up all the water. The very same water he was bathing and possibly pleasuring himself in. Yuck.

The Mayor of Whoville is played by Steve Carell, best known as the anchor of a fake newscast. Perfect for a politician. Anyway, Mayor Who has 97 kids. For real. He has 96 daughters and a son. Easily, Mayor Who is the biggest sex machine to star in a cartoon since Marilyn Chambers starred in A Very Special Smurfs Christmas.

The problem, from the Whores point of view, is that unless their speck finds a soft place to land, like Marilyn chamber’s bosom, the speck will be blown by the wind forever, and the whole town will go all topsy-turvy and no Who will ever get a normal night’s sleep or digest a meal again without severe nausea. Plus the town will probably eventually get crushed and all will die.

So Horton, like the genial buffoon he is, decides to take the speck to the top of a high mountain where it will be safe. Sort of like when Frodo decided to take the One Ring to the top of Mount Doom, except that Frodo wanted to destroy the ring and clumsy Horton will probably unintentionally destroy the speck. Wait- my comparison gets better, because Carol Burnett and Will Arnett show up, acting as Saruman and Sauron, maybe not respectively, depending on which one was Christopher Lee with the fake nose and which one lived on Z’ha’Dum. Honestly, it doesn’t matter, and I’m sure that the Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who references have grown a bit thin. Plus the one Babylon 5 reference I just sneaked in.

Carol Burnett played an evil kangaroo and what is a kangaroo doing in the jungle? I don’t know. But remember when, at the end of every Carol Burnett Show, she’d tug her ear? The big sly in joke here is that, as a kangaroo, she has huge ears. Obviously, she tugged them so much they just grew and grew. She doesn’t like Horton because- and hold on to your seat, this is revolutionary for a kids story- he’s different. Yep. That’s it. Just because Horton is pink and gay Carol Burnett wants to take away his right to pleasure himself in a public river. And she wants to take the speck away too, for no real reason other then SHE’S EVIL.

Will Arnett plays Vlad, an evil buzzard. If you don’t know Will Arnett shame on you. He was Gob (pronounced Job) in the brilliant FOX show Arrested Development. Now I know that “brilliant” and “FOX show” rarely got together, but do yourself a favor and get these DVDs.

Honestly, there’s little plot for me to make fun of. The Mayor of Whoville comedicly and broadly panics, Horton acts goofy, Carol Burnett hams it up, and Will Arnett does a funny voice. Then the Mayor’s gothic son (for real) turns out to have a social conscience and not really be totally depressed like most Goths, and Horton runs from the buzzard and gets to the top of the mountain. There’s a message about how everyone is equal no matter how small (or big or stupid) you are, and then it’s over.

The animation is great, the voices are solid, and despite the fact that I’m about thirty years past the target audience I liked this. Of course there was no Jackie Chan and the only nudity I saw was animated gopher butt, but I guess that’s true of most kids films.

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