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Feature Film

How to Enjoy Horton Hears a Who!


Instruction site eHow.com is known for posting some silly subjects, with equally silly solutions, but this latest one takes the cake: How to Enjoy ‘Horton Hears a Who!’

In the Things You’ll Need section they suggest:

• An appreciation for the works of Dr. Seuss
• A love of animated films
• The ability to feel young at heart

Oh, and don’t forget “step 5” of their six-step program:

• Get some merchandise to extend the magic

I really want to like Horton, but with hard-sell marketing like this (to paraphrase Dr. Seuss) Oh, the places they’ll go!

(Thanks, Joe Cabrera)

  • A better suggestion… why not enjoy the Bob Clampett directed Horton Hatches an Egg instead!


  • red pill junkie

    I want to like this movie too, and since a)I’m not american, and therefore b)i do not have fond childhood memories of my parents reading me Seuss’ books, chances are I probably will.

    In fact, I predict this movie will do far better in foreign markets than in domestic boox office, precisely because of that. For many foreign kids this will be the first approach they will have with Horton and the Whos, so that’s a big advantage for Blue Sky.

    Besides, every still frame I have seen of this movie, like the one Jerry used for this article, is gorgeous (IMHO)

  • Corrado (Anthony)

    Supposedly, last night the promotion for Horton Hears a Who reached Bee Movie levels of annoyance with Jim Carrey in Horton garb appearing on American Idol.

    And the disturbing trend of over-promotion animated fare continues. I shudder to think what they’ll conjure up for Kung Fu panda.

  • PCUnfunny

    “• An appreciation for the works of Dr. Seuss”

    Well I can’t watch this film at all.

  • joecab

    Ha! Glad you used my item.

    I’ll also add that the only good thing about this is there’s now one less Seuss property left to ruin. Really, what’s left that’s viable for Hollywood to use? Maybe the Lorax? Or a Bartholomew Cubbins story?

  • FP

    • Get some merchandise to extend the magic

    It’s a good thing no one here has the bad judgement to attempt to make a joke about HORTON-branded male enhancement products.

  • Chuck R.

    Joecab, you’re writing as though this weekend’s release marks the end of Horton. Have you seen it? Have you seen the half-hour Jones version? Is this one really worse?

    I think a lot of critics have a valid point about stretching these short books to feature length, but nevertheless, I’m looking forward to seeing this on Saturday. I thought Clampett’s interpretation was really nice, and this looks like it might be even better. I hope I live to see a well-crafted treatment of “I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew” or “What Was I Scared Of?”

  • red pill junkie: Dr Seuss books have been published all over the world. Horton Hears a Who is as universal as Peanuts comics.
    The rest of the world knows Dr Seuss just fine and no, I will not be watching this movie. Looks too self-satisfied and sitcommy for my liking.

  • It’s not. At least here in Spain, practically no one has ever heard of Dr. Seuss.

  • red pill junkie

    That may be true Amy, but I can assure you that they have never had the cultural impact they have had in America or english-speaking countries. Possibly because Seuss’ charms may be hindered by the translation. All the rhymes in ‘Green Eggs & Ham’ would be lost, and the work looses some of it’s magic.

  • Chuck R.

    I’m currently reading a bio of the Doctor. Apparently, Dr. Seuss was a much harder sell in the UK during Geisel’s lifetime. I agree he’s universal thematically, but RPJ may be right, a lot may get lost in translation. You also have to consider that there are a lot less Barbaloots and Sneetches in the UK than what we’ve got here.

  • I saw this last Saturday with three of my friends (all in their mid-20’s). We’re all animators and we all loved it. Sure there’s some parts that were stretched out a bit, but the animation, the humor and the story were all really well done.

  • tom

    Why is Horton so snarky and ‘tudey”? Horton in the books is a wide eyed innocent! I hate this kind of Poochy-D treatment.

    Rastify him ten percent!

  • 1.) I don’t care which celebrities they’ve rounded up to do the voices. I care more about art and story than star power.

    2.) I do not need any amount of merchandise to enjoy a good animated movie. As a matter of fact, in most cases the abundance of merchandise is a major turn-off.

    3.) I don’t care to see movies like this where they tweak the original story to sneak in some cheesy love-and-family message.

    Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was good enough in sticking to the actual book until it got to the end, when it’s revealed that the reason Willy Wonka’s so bent on making candy is because he has deep unresolved issues with his dentist father.

    In this film, so the ads tell me, they’ve made Jo-Jo, the Who who says “YOPP!” at the end, the Mayor of Whoville’s disaffected son who he has trouble reaching out to.

    I like to watch animated movies simply for the artwork and the story. I don’t like being preached to.

    4.) I’d rather not see The Cat in the Hat. I’ve heard it blows chunks.

  • Charred and loving it all

    And don’t forget to smoke a big bowl on medical before you venture into the theater.

  • Andrew

    Here’s a quote from the director Dave Torres on HIS explanation as to why they decided to make Horton as “spazzy” as he is in the film:

    “When we started off into production, we just wanted to make his character different than a regular elephant. I think because previously we’ve done Manny [the wooly mammoth] in Ice Age and he was really reserved — the weight and everything was there. And obviously when Jim Carrey’s voice came into the picture, he’s a very expressive kind of guy and I think we really wanted to push it towards that. We wanted to capture that fun and appealing side of him. We wanted to make him really entertaining and we felt like he was the main focus of the whole film, the driving force of the film. If we had this guy who was kind of like Manny the whole time, it would come across dull, so we definitely wanted to be a little more entertaining and expressive and I think the team here did a great job of that.”

    Here’s an idea. Why not go with a lead that doesn’t drive off into crazy detours in his acting? Oh wait. Blue Sky doesn’t have control of that! FOX does. My bad to assume nobody can have complete control over ONE film.

  • joecab

    Is it worse? No idea unless I see it. I have to admit they captured the looks of the characters beautifully, I just don’t like what it looks like they’re doing to them.

    I’m with the most recent comments. Why do they have to snarkify almost everything to get people to see an animated film nowadays? Every book has to go through changes when they go up on the big screen, but I don’t agree with the parts they say need “improving.”

    And the marketing is a big turn off, though it’s not half as prevalent and greedy as DreamWorks does. Look at Pixar: they think about which voices are interesting, and they aren’t necessarily big names. Their advertising goes for the story and the characters. With Horton, they’ve been pushing the people behind the voices more than anything. And there’s no way you’re going to convince me most of them were picked because of their unique abilities rather than their names.

  • I was just planning on sneaking a 40 into the theater…

  • Bugsmer

    –It’s a good thing no one here has the bad judgement to attempt to make a joke about HORTON-branded male enhancement products.–

    Or even worse, a musical Horton anal thermometer.

  • Jody Morgan

    joecab: “Really, what’s left that’s viable for Hollywood to use?”

    The Seven Lady Godivas, perhaps? http://tinyurl.com/2nay8b

  • Quiet_Desperation

    “It’s what I do! It’s my thing!’

    AAAAAAA! Does every animated character have to be hip? Or, rather, what the coked out tiny brained in Hollywood think that the audience thinks is hip?

    All I needed to see what that snarky eyebrow on Horton in the poster and I knew I’d be going nowhere near this film.

  • I just saw this film.
    It’s nearly really good.

  • Love that quote Andrew. It’s not Horton hears a Who, it’s Jim Carrey hears a who. They should really re-title it.

  • Dav-Odd

    Horton Tweaks A Nerve! A new and snazzy production from FOX! He acts all adult-y!

  • MattSullivan

    Not that I like agreeing with anything John K says, but yeah, too much “tude” could possibly ruin the film for me

  • Oh how I wanted to love this… miss.
    Its good looking crap, that will still be a hit.

    Theodor Seuss Geisel has been spinning in his grave since the first Jim Carrey interpretation!

    You guys are missing the fundamental flaw in this “Dr Suess story”,


    Note this all important sentence from his wikki page:
    -Among Dr. Seuss’ trademarks were his rhyming text and his outlandish creatures.-

    This will be another piece of crap that uses modern and soon to be dated cultural references. These adaptations have already been done perfectly in the past by masters of the craft and remain timeless classics (Cat in Hat, Grinch and the 2 real Hortons) and they only needed to be 22 min!!!…
    again from wikki:

    Horton Hears a Who! was adapted into a half-hour animated TV special by MGM Animation/Visual Arts in 1970, directed by Chuck Jones, produced by Ted Geisel, and with narration by Hans Conried.

    I mean what I said, and I said what I meant, an elephants faithful 100%…

  • Steve Gattuso

    I think the art for this movie looks lovely, and captures Dr. Suess’ style well. But a microsecond after hearing Carrey’s voice coming out of Horton’s mouth my reaction was “Aw… HELL naw!”

    This movie is likely to make money by virtue of being the only family fare at all this Easter, but I won’t be adding to the box office. I’ll wait for the free screening for ASIFA-Hollywood members.

  • Lurch Poiuyt

    The visuals say Dr. Suess… the voices do not.

  • There’s some rhyming from a couple characters, and from the narrator (Charles Osgood). Funny and exciting moments, some in-jokes (reference to MySpace–say, doesn’t Fox own…?) and likeable characters. tried to see it as a boy of 9 or 10 would rather than a 46 year old man and I did enjoy it. Especially since I’m a fan of “giant and tiny”.

  • I just can’t stand Jim Carrey. He’s making this movie his own, which ruins the Seussiful magic about it.

  • Jim Carrey does a very nice job until they forget to direct him and he goes all dumbarse.

  • I have watched it dubbed. A missed opportunity IMO. The film has really nice visuals and even some inspired gags (I especially enjoyed the bridge/dentist sequence). Steve Carell’s character in particular is pretty fun, being different to the one in Jones’ adaptation, and Vlad is also kinda funny. But other characters like The Wickersham Brothers are underused and Mrs. Kangaroo is too much an stereotypical villain in this. She’s almost evil instead of really snob.

    I never read Seuss’ original but I’ve watched Jones’ and Clampett’s shorts. I think Clampett’s one is a real masterpiece, while Jones’ one is really, really good, but not perfect. How The Grinch Stole Christmas is better both in animation and pacing.

    BlueSky’s Horton includes some interesting ideas of their own, and some good gags here and there, and it’s visually quite funny and aesthetic for a CGI film but there are problems with the style and tone. Even in the dubbed version I can notice how much they have adapted the story and characters to their voice actors instead of doing it the other way, which would have been more reasonable. I don’t think some wild or even violent gags would hurt too much (like I said I enjoyed the dentist ones), but I can’t stand the modern/pop culture references in a film like this. Clampett’s short did include some Kate Hepburn references and a lot of his own style and it still works, but there is not a sense of self-control in this new modern films. They would include everything but the kitchen sink if they find it mildly funny, even if some of those things don’t fit in the general tone of the story at all.

    While The Grinch live action version was completely unnecessary, this could have been a more spectacular and fun version of Jones’ short. The results are a little dissapointing. Voice actors shouldn’t be more important than the moral or general tone in the film. However, the movie is not crap. At the very least it’s one of the most cartoony CGI films so far and I hope some others will continue this trend.

  • Dave

    I didn’t like it much. It tried to add a whole bunch of other stuff and dragged out a story which is nice and elegant into this 12-headed monster filled with other issues. You can barely see the Seuss for all the other stuff covering it.

  • Chuck R.

    I just saw the film. I agree with most everything Roberto said above. A lot of the “filler” was entertaining, but all that extra time could have been used to establish the relationship between Horton and his peers. In the book you can’t tell if he’s a pretty ordinary guy who makes this discovery and becomes a kook, or if he’s always a kook who suddenly crosses the line when he starts talking to the speck. In the movie he’s definitely kooky, but also seems accepted, so it gets confusing.

    The Kangaroo is a real weak point in the film because, as Roberto points out, she’s a terribly worn-out cliche. But also because she’s portrayed as a loner herself, yet she’s able to turn the jungle community into a Frankenstein-style mob against Horton. How? It seems as though the directors either wanted to push that stereotype or they were simply leaning on the voice talent way too much to write the story for them.

    Visually, this movie paves the way for future Seuss films, but I don’t recommend it. Clampett’s the winner.

  • MattSullivan

    I saw the movie. It LOOKED great. it had really cool 2D segments, which i’m surprised to say, didn’t bother me. Even the anime thing.

    But the REO Speedwagon songy-thing finale…just…made…me….cringe. And yeah, sadly, there was too much “tude” scattered here and there.

    I give up. Hollywood will NEVER learn.

  • Andrew

    Is it me, or do the Blue Sky directors (they are JUST starting to branch out beyond Chris Wedge) make movies that have the same kind of problems Wolfgang Reitherman made when he was directing: plot points to establish a direction for the story, only to be bookended by montages of gags? Ice Age, Robots, and Ice Age 2 all had those. If they focused more on the story, and then build the gags to support the story, would their films be better?

  • The film just opened in Oz last week. Dr. Seuss is common kiddy brain fodder down here. The visual style of the film has a strong Seussian appeal.

    I thought the writers and directors lost control to the bean counters on this film and it was driven a bit by a dollar sign. Dollars have no sense of story.

    Jim Carrey, I found to be, pleasingly subdued (but that’s not what other reviewers thought). It’s that success measured by how heavily the box office is ‘smashed’/ dollar reporting syndrome, as suggested by the original post, that sets the whole thing spinning and the nausea starts inducing.

    The animators, however, in most parts, did a great job under these conditions. There were some sequences where they seemed to be directed to over-act where JC didn’t. The whole thing tended towards entertainment rather than annoyance with good technical achivement.

    At least Dr. Seuss is all straightened out in his grave, for now, until the next attempt.