LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - This computer-generated animated adaptation of “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” brims with colorful, elastic characters and bountiful wit.
To take nothing away from Fox and its Blue Sky Studios division, much, much, much of this owes directly to the book published in 1954 by Theodore Geisel’s alter ego, Dr. Seuss. So credit the filmmakers for knowing a good thing when they see it. The film captures all the charm of the book from its rhyming text to its themes and fantastical characters.
This family entertainment represents the first big film of the year with a potential for $100 million-plus in domestic markets. A long life on many video shelves is assured.
Horton, given a comically innocent voice by Jim Carrey, is a rubbery elephant in the jungle of Nool who one fine day hears a tiny cry. It comes from a speck floating in the air, which actually is a tiny planet, home to a city called Who-ville, inhabited by microscopic-sized inhabitants known as Whos.
Horton can’t see these creatures but manages to communicate to its excitable Mayor (vocal magic by Steve Carell). Realizing the vulnerability of this entire civilization, Horton undertakes to shield it from harm while the Mayor must alert Who-ville to the danger. Both suffer mockery from fellow creatures unable to believe in what they can’t see.
Vlad the Eagle (Will Arnett) and the sour Kangaroo (Carol Burnett) torment Horton while the Who-ville citizenry call the Mayor a boob. But Horton, with advice from his pal Morton the Mouse (Seth Rogen), perseveres, believing “a person’s a person no matter how small.”
Directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino hue closely to Seuss’ drawings and designs, while writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio blend the author’s rhymes with hipper contemporary lingo.
Despite a brisk pace, Seuss’ many characters all get a chance to display their unique idiosyncrasies and viewpoints. The filmmakers imbue the harrowing experiences in the parallel worlds with both suspense and rich comedy. Thus do the filmmakers ride the coattails of Seuss’ imaginative powers to cartoon glory.
Horton: Jim Carrey
Mayor: Steve Carell
Kanngaroo: Carol Burnett
Vlad: Will Arnett
Morton: Seth Rogen
Councilman/Yummo Wickersham: Dan Fogler
Directors: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino; Screenwriters: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio; Story: Dr. Seuss; Producers: Bob Gordon, Bruce Anderson; Executive producers: Audrey Geisel, Chris Wedge, Chris Meledandri; Art director: Thomas Cardone; Music: John Powell; Editor: Tim Nordquist.