Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who! (U)



Family (2008)
86mins US

Starring: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett
Director: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino
Writer(s): Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Loveable elephant Horton lives in the jungle with his animal chums, who all quake in fear at the mention of officious Roo. She enforces the laws of the land, preserving the way of life for all animals and ensuring nobody bucks the trend. During a swim in the river, Horton is startled to hear voices emanating from a speck of dust lodged on a clover. He soon discovers that the speck is actually the microscopic world of Who-ville. Realising that the fate of Who-ville depends on finding a safe resting place for the speck of dust, Horton embarks on an epic quest to the mountain that dominates the skyline.

Seen that movie? Leave a comment / review here >>

Read Kiernan Maletsky's Review
Read Sam Cannon's Review

LondonNet Film Review by Kiernan Maletsky
Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!

The third of a recent spate of feature-length Dr. Seuss adaptations, Horton Hears a Who is by far the best, because it is the most loyal...

Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who. Fox UK FilmIt's sort of amazing that this is the first time Dr. Seuss has been rendered in CGI. No matter how much make-up and special effects you slap on your actors and sets, a world as surreal as his is bound to come across as a sort of nightmare version of the world we already live in, rather than the altogether new one created by the doctor's wonderful books.

Horton successfully inhabits this alternate world with some beautiful computer animation from the people behind the amusing Ice Age and it's tepid sequel. Like every animation studio but Pixar, it's been hit and (more often) miss for Blue Sky. Here, they've found the restraint necessary to keep Seuss' voice alive and the audience is rewarded with a very decent children's movie.

Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who. Fox UK FilmAlso showing restraint are both Jim Carey and Steve Carell, neither of whom is known for holding back. And while Carrey in particular is often silly, he's rarely ridiculous, and never so much so as to lose the sympathy of parents. Carell, meanwhile, is excellent, lending his Who-Mayor an earnest depth.

Horton Hears a Who is, like all of Seuss' tales, timeless. He wrote it as a reaction to McCarthyism in the 1950's, reminding his young audience there can be a world outside the bounds of the one they know. It can also be viewed as a religious allegory or a plea for hard-earned devotion or any number of other things. It is important to note, however, that it cannot be used as a defense of abortion control. Pro-life groups have taken Horton's oft-spoken line, "a person's a person, no matter how small" as a slogan, but that's missing the point. The line, after all, is not, "a person's a person, no matter how sentient" and Dr. Seuss himself considered legal action against such groups in the waning years of his life.

Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who. Fox UK FilmAll of this is important because Dr. Seuss carefully constructed these verses, weaving deeper themes into the rhymes. But he was always a firm believer in entertaining and teaching children above all other concerns. And so in the end the test of a Seuss adaptation is whether children will be entertained and taught.

There are the inevitable jokes added in the name of relevancy, and not all of these land, but enough of them do that parents will stay amused. But unlike the Seuss films that came before, this one remembers the point, and I think Horton Hears a Who will be well-loved by its young viewers.

- Kiernan Maletsky


LondonNet Film Review by Sam Cannon
Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!

The colourful characters and gentle wit of Dr Seuss (The Cat In The Hat, How The Grinch Stole Christmas) provide the creative spark for this animated comedy, which promotes the valuable message of equality for all creatures...

Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who. Fox UK FilmOr as the film eloquently puts it, "A person's a person, no matter how small." Unfortunately, Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who! insists on tarnishing its sweet and simple message with myriad pop culture references. Thus, the tuskless hero echoes Apocalypse Now when he declares, "I love the smell of bananas in the morning", and a character impersonates Arnold Schwarzenegger to lament, "I fear the democratic process is beginning to break down." Who knew that the cartoon inhabitants of the jungle were so well versed in 20th century celebrity and affairs? Jim Carrey is surprisingly - and blissfully - restrained with his lead vocal performance as the eponymous pachyderm, who risks hide and trunk to save an entire universe he can barely see. Funny accents and ad-libs are kept to a minimum, giving supporting performances a chance to emerge from the undergrowth and steal the film.

Loveable elephant Horton (voiced by Carrey) lives in the jungle with his animal chums, who all quake in fear at the mention of Roo (Carol Burnett), an officious kangaroo who enforces the laws of the land and ensures no creature, great or small, steps out of line. "The jungle is no place to act like a wild animal," she tells Norton, which might explain why she insists on pouch-schooling her impressionable son, Rudy (Josh Flitter).

During a relaxing swim in the river, Horton is startled to hear voices emanating from a speck of dust lodged on a clover. He soon discovers that the speck is actually the microscopic world of Who-ville, where the Mayor (Steve Carell) merrily goes about his business, juggling work responsibilities and caring for his 96 daughters and one son, Jo-Jo (Jesse McCartney). The elephant shares the startling discovery with his best friend, a blue mouse called Morton (Seth Rogen). "You might want to keep it you yourself. Talking to a clover doesn't look good," advises the rodent.

Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who. Fox UK FilmSimilarly, when the Mayor tries to tell his wife Sally (Amy Poehler) about Norton and impending doom, she is equally dismissive: "If you're seeing elephants and flowers, don't tell anybody else." Realising the fate of Who-ville depends on finding a safe resting place for the speck of dust, Horton embarks on a trek to the mountain that dominates the skyline. Unfortunately, Roo learns that Horton is talking to the clover, and telling the children that it is home to hundreds of tiny people. "If you can't see it, hear it or feel it, it doesn't exist," she decrees. Determined to prevent Horton threatening her way of life and corrupting the children, Roo hires dastardly bird of prey Vlad Vladikoff (Will Arnett) to destroy the flower and bring the elephant back to his senses.

Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who! bursts with colourful visuals and fluffy critters, which should guarantee brisk sales of stuffed toys and other merchandise. The grand finale successfully tugs the heartstrings as the residents of Who-ville race against time to make themselves heard and avert the destruction of their home, coming together in a massive show of Who-vian solidarity. Yet, for all its aesthetic charms, Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino's film lacks well-sketched characters, genuine emotion and a constant stream of laughs. The big set pieces - Horton traversing a rickety rope bridge and escaping Vlad's airborne attacks - fail to set our pulses racing, while Horton's search for his bloom in a field of clovers seems to be an apt metaphor for the film's desperate attempts to curry favour with parents and children alike.

- Sam Cannon


London Cinemas

From Friday 21st April
To Thursday 27th April

- The Gorringe Park
From Friday 28th April
To Thursday 4th May

Not showing at any
London cinemas this week.


« Back to Index

Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 21st April
To Thursday 27th April

Not showing at any
UK cinemas this week.
From Friday 28th April
To Thursday 4th May

Not showing at any
UK cinemas this week.


« Back to Index