Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Movie Journal: Horton Hears A Who!

This was a somewhat difficult movie to diagnose for me. On the one hand, it is after all based on a very intellectual story by Dr. Seuss exploring not only the concept of believing in things without proper empirical verification(seeing, touching, tasting, or smelling), but also the sacred worth of any form of life, great or minuscule. As Horton so eloquently puts it, "A person's a person, no matter how small." On the other hand, themes and messages aside, the movie itself is not so intellectual. Not only is Horton himself something of an idiot, he's also a boring stereotype, and undergoes little convincing development over the course of the storyline. The result is that his philosophical musings, which happen to be the whole point of the story, appear to be emitting from a talking head more than a character.

All things considered, the real stars are "the Who's": microscopic creatures living inside a small speck that Horton somehow happens upon. In fact, most of the time, Horton the elephant is just filler, as evidenced by an extensive 2D-animated scene of heroism taking place in Horton's mind that shamelessly and inexplicably pokes fun at Japanese anime and culture. Shame on you, Ken Daurio and/or Cinco Paul; whichever one of it's two authors that came up with that scene. Shame! Shame!

Anyhow, it's the elephant who somehow manages to contact the respectable Mayor of Whoville, who hears Horton's booming voice from above. It's a revelation to the Mayor that, as it turns out, his world is nothing but "an infinitesimal speck floating in space." The ramifications are tremendous: seeing as Whoville is small and fragile, the slightest impact could completely obliterate it. It's then Horton's job to find a soft, safe refuge for the world of the Who's.

Visually, Dr. Seuss' own graphic style has been recaptured fantastically. Not to mention that voice-actors Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, and others do an amazing job of bringing the characters to life. And that's all well and good, but I also can't stand the fact that the plotline itself, aside from Dr. Seuss' original touches, is almost completely uninspired. It may be fun and actually quite entertaining, but somehow I think many of it's creators(aside from the artists and voice-actors) deserve little merit. Seriously: is there some "animated movie" guideline I don't know about that states that unless you're Pixar, at the ending of your movie all the characters must sing a song together? There's nothing worse than uninspired entertainment, so let's just be thankful Seuss had some in emergency reserve.

7 out of 10

No comments: