Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Animated Film Catch-Up: Dr Seuss' Horton Hears a Who

For those just joining us, every couple of years I rent every animated movie that I missed in the theatre that I had a mild interest in seeing, and watch them all in an insane lost weekend. I call this my "Animated Film Catch-Up".

Seeing as to how a lot of TV stations really don't have Saturday morning cartoons, no better way to spend a Saturday morning than by watching animated films! So, let's continue with my lost weekend!

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!

Animation Studio and Best Known-Franchise: Blue Sky Studios; the Ice Age trilogy.

Directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino

Starring the voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnet, Seth Rogan, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Amy Poehler, and Charles Osgood.

The Source of My Mild Interest: When this film was originally being promoted, and I saw Jim Carrey was voicing the lead character, my mind went back to an interview Jim Carrey did way back in 1995 or so...after he'd just become famous. Since he was famous for doing crazy voices and impersonations in his act, Carrey was asked if he'd ever do a voice in an animated film. In that interview, Carrey firmly put his foot down, saying that he'd never do such a thing. "I've had offers," he said, "But they want to pay you nothing for it, citing that it's for the kids." 15 years later, and he's doing a voice in an animated film. Either Carrey's fortunes have really fallen, or things have changed enough in the animated film business that Carrey was finally get paid what he felt he was worth. Either way, I wanted to see if Carrey was as good leading an animated film as he thought he was 15 years ago.

Plot: It's a good chance that most of you read the original Dr. Seuss book when you were a kid, so I won't rehash it much. Horton is a free-thinking, imaginative elephant in the Jungle of Nool. One day, he hears a speck of dust speaking to him. It turns that the speck is home to the Whos, and Horton is able to talk to the Mayor of Whoville. Horton promises to take the speck to a safe place, where the Whos can live in safety. But this raises the ire of the Sour Kangaroo, who doesn't believe Horton's story, and sends various monkeys and vultures off to silence Horton, lest his imaginative story corrupt the children. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Whoville is having his own problems, as the people of Whoville think Horton is equally imaginary. Will Horton and the Mayor be able to convince their respective populaces of each others existence so they can live in safety?

What I Liked: I actually got all goosebumpy in one scene, as the music and animation and voice acting all connected in that magic way to make things work. Great score by John Powell. The animation was really good...I think this is Blue Sky's best looking film to date. A lot of the characters really managed to capture that Dr. Seuss style.

What I Didn't Like: Plot is still kind of cliched when it comes to talking animal animated films. And I'm not really sure the final musical number was appropriate.

Final Verdict: A highly enjoyable film, that felt free to cut loose and be cartoony. I read an article the other day saying that Blue Sky Studios might be on the cusp of becoming a major player, up alongside Pixar and DreamWorks. A couple more like this, and they could pull it off.

3 Nibs

Early lunch, and then back at 'er.

No comments: