Hollywood dilutes Horton's charm
Appropriate content appeases parents, elicits no laughs
While the basic storyline of Horton Hears a Who remains the same, Hollywood has diluted the charm of this classic children's book. From too much humor geared to adults to little creative content, the movie lacks depth.
A few years ago, somebody in Hollywood got the bright idea to subject viewers to a live-action Dr. Seuss with How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Following that blight on the movie landscape came the even more horrific The Cat in the Hat.
After two excruciating live-action Dr. Seuss adaptations, Hollywood seems to have gotten the message. Heeding critics' jabs and general tomato throwing, creators of the next Seuss film chose the animation route over green makeup.
However, creators failed to understand the root of the problem with the first two movies: a lack of classy humor and kid-friendly jokes alike.
Horton Hears a Who! is the story most kids hear before bedtime and adults may still remember owning the colorful rhyme book. With a CGI makeover and warm familiarity, Horton has lured in parents and kids in the hopes of a comedy to wipe the Seuss slate clean.
The basics of Horton Hears a Who! remain the same: Horton the Elephant (Jim Carrey) must save the town of Whoville and its residents, all found in a tiny speck stuck to a pink clover. Ned, the Mayor of Whoville (Steve Carrell), is able to speak with Horton through a megaphone and both become dedicated to saving Whoville.
The skeptical Kangaroo (Carol Burnett) believes Horton's relationship with the "imaginary" speck is poisoning the children's minds while the Whoville Counsel silences Ned's attempt to evacuate the city.
The actual true spirit of the original rhyme stops there. The basic story remains the same, however, Hollywood has diluted the charm. Though the film has good heart, the slightly off-kilter sense of humor (thanks to Jim Carrey and constant pop-culture references too random for anything other than an eye-roll) distracted from the ultimate message: "A person's a person, no matter how small."
What is funnier than the actual movie is the popularity of this film among prominent movie critics. I cannot say why this is, other than the fact that Horton Hears a Who! is one of the first kids movies out for the new year not completely mind-numbing for adults.
That being said, nobody in the theater laughed from what I heard; when kids sit slack-jawed in a "kid's movie", something must be amiss. At one point, Horton muses, "I love the smell of bananas in the morning". No one between ages three and 13 will comprehend a reference to Apocalypse Now and the joke is too overused to elicit a chuckle from adults.
The bright side of Horton still lies in the family-centered theme and parents will find no inappropriate content. However, trying to fill up 88 minutes with a story originally a large print rhyme book definitely hindered the film.
Those averse to wasting money for a decisively plain theater experience may want to stick Horton Hears a Who! in their Netflix queue.
Horton Hears a Who! is currently playing at all local theaters. For show times, visit Fandango.