Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Movie Review: Horton Hears a Who

"Horton Hears a Who" is clearly a cruel bastardization of a decent children's book. I won't see it. But it's also a movie that's big enough to deserve a review. So I give you a review written by Inomi.

It's safe to say this was not even close to being as execrable as it could have been. In fact, it was actually quite nice and not as overwrought and painfully manic as Jim Carrey's last turn as a Seuss protagonist. I took the girls out to see this after the morning events for Zombie Jesus Day wore off and we were looking for something to do that involved not being in proximity to chocolate for a while.

To be fair, I've read "Horton" to the girls numerous times, and I know it only takes 10-15 minutes to get through the book, even when using my reading-a-book-voice and meter, so it's inevitable that a metric ton of extra content would have to be added to pad the movie out to a requisite 90 minutes or so, and about 80% of it is perfectly fine.

The characterization of Horton is really quite nice, and Carrey does a good job of playing Horton's resoluteness and steadfast personality on its own. Maybe keeping him from actually being /on/ camera is the trick to pulling out a good performance from him.

What makes this movie work is that it really keeps the unnecessary "adult" jokes to a minimum. By "adult", I don't mean inappropriate or obscene, but the unfortunate legacy of "Shrek" where every modern kids movie seems to be intent on tossing in so-clever asides and "over-the-kids-heads" jokes, as if the parents had worse attention spans than their kids. Aside from a few zingers, the movie had a very storybook feel to it, and was better because of it.

An interesting aspect of the movie... there were a few scenes where Horton's imagination takes hold, and it turns into a cell-animated fantasy vision, looking a great deal like the style of the old Chuck Jones "Grinch" cartoon. However, one aside, when Horton is running for the mountaintop to drop off the speck, turns into a 2-minute anime freakout, complete with bad dubbing, huge, glistening eyes, garish colors and everything. It's a completely unexpected trip and the audience sat in stunned silence when it was over. I'm not sure if it was meant to be hilarious or just ridiculously unexpected, and therefore random, therefore appropriately post-ironic, and maybe the mother of all grown-up-targeted movie jokes, but it was extremely weird, for which I can appreciate it on that level, I suppose.

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