Sunday, March 16, 2008

Horton Hears a Who: 80 Minutes Well Spent

So this past Saturday... oh, wait, I guess I'd better re-introduce myself since I haven't posted a review in a long, long time. I'm Stew, I'm pretty busy with my own work schedule, family schedule, and my wildly popular (toot toot) blog over at, and just plain fell out of the loop. Anyway, as I'm prepping to dive back into this one foot at a time, I figured I'd attempt to quell any rumors to the contrary of how this new Horton flick has turned out. So, where was I... Oh, right: so I took my two boys (6 and 5) to see Horton on Saturday not really having super high expectations on how this could have turned out. But I have to say right off: it was a blast and a fun ride all the way around. Yes, I, for one, understand our own Doug Waltz's chagrin towards remakes -almost borderline deep-seeded anger, to be truthful- and he formally voiced his opinion to me a few days prior basically saying, "It has already pissed me off." Well, I'm here to say, in all sincerity, that this film is perhaps the most faithful adaptation of a Seuss film in recent memory. Oh sure, the Chuck Jones classics will always hold a special place in everyone's hearts as the standard set by which all others much achieve even a close proximity, but this one sure hits the clown on the nose. Now, having the two boys with me was surely going to limit my enjoyment, just because I was going to have to keep half an eye on them and try to keep their excitement levels at a mere simmer, but I have to say, I barely had to bat an eyelash at them the whole time they were that enthralled and captivated. Jim Carrey did an absolutely bang-up job as the voice of Horton even going so far as to toss in just a hint of congestion to mimic the obviously nasally-elongated elephant. Yes, there were some parts where bits of humor were tossed in that were certainly funnier the first twelve times I'd heard them, but all in all, the humor was fresh and the pace was manic from nearly the get-go. Next, Steve Carell as the Mayor of Whoville was absolute genius. Few could have pulled off his slap-dash, hyperactive, almost disheartening movements and cadence as he tried in near vein to convince the town, and especially the City Council, that their world -now much, much smaller- was in grave danger and only by the graces of a brave pachyderm did they even have a prayer of survival. Couple all of that with the fact that the poor guy has relationship issues with his 96 daughters and one, brooding son and you have the makings of a Heart Burn Medicine commercial for sure. Jim and Steve's comedic forces played off of each other perfectly matched only by the scathing wit of the Kangaroo, -leader of the Nool Jungle citizens - Carol Burnett. She was quick-witted, snarky, and as bull-headed as you'd imagine from reading the book yourselves and an absolute perfect fit. In fact, she reminded me of her roll in the original Annie film... just that bitchy. Lastly, out of all the evil ne'er-do-wells sent out by the Kangaroo to stop Horton in achieving his goal, was Vlad the Vulture voice absolutely perfectly by Arrested Development's Will Arnett. His use of a thick, over-the-top Eastern European 'Vampire' drawl was almost too much and made me sing with laughter. Just so much talent crammed into one beautifully animated feature almost has to make one wonder if too much is too much, but let me tell you, with this film, it all gels so nicely together without any one voice stepping on the toes of another. Such rich, vividly-colorful backgrounds just screaming Seuss, sharply rendered fur and fuzz that just leaps off the screen, and a split-second guest appearance by the Grinch, and you've got yourself one fun, fun ride. Oh, and the icing? Ending the movie with a full-cast rendition of "I Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon. Go have fun, you'll be so glad you did.

1 comment:

Douglas A. Waltz said...

Great review, Stew! I'm still not probably going to watch it. Watched It's The Easter Beagle Charlie Brown last night. Thought it was too little and too fluffy. Know whut I mean?