Horton Hears a Who!a.k.a. “Horton,” “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who,” “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!,” “Ortone e il mondo dei Chi”
Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
Kids, Teens, Adults, Family
Animation, Kids, Adventure, Family, Adaptation
1 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
March 14, 2008 (wide)
DVD: December 9, 2008
“One Elephant. One World. One Story.”
Most everyone who sees this movie knows the stories of Horton the Elephant. Horton Hears a Who does follow the traditional story line with a modern twist. Horton (voice of Jim Carrey) lives in the land of Nool. During a peaceful afternoon, a speck of dust floats by and Horton hears a scream. Horton decides he is going to protect this speck of dust because there has to be some life on that dust that made that scream. During this entire movie, Kangaroo (Carol Burnett) goal is to stop Horton from his foolish behavior. She thinks that he is warping the children’s minds with his foolish beliefs and anarchy will result.
Horton and the Mayor of Who-ville (Steve Carell) talk, but nobody else can hear them. Both of them are thought to be crazy. Horton seems to be the only one who can hear the Mayor down in Who-ville, and when the Mayor finally gets someone to listen, Horton is not holding the clover and nobody can hear him. Horton’s goal is to find a safe place for his speck (and the people of Who-ville) to live because as Horton says “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
There is little in this movie that one can say is objectionable. Probably the worst scenes are ones that have a vulture named Vlad. The scenes are dark and scary to some children. My 3 year old used my coat to hide under during these scenes.
Most of the violence is comedic. A monkey uses bananas as ammo to shot at Horton. The Mayor is kicked, hit with a stapler on his head, hits people with his numb arm, and gets hit by a beach ball by an angry mob. The scenes of violence against Horton may be a little scary for some kids—he gets attacked by a vulture, an angry mob chases him, and he is roped and the clover taken from him.
There is no real obscene language in this movie; however, there are still words that they could have avoided. Boob and idiot are used numerous times, as well as fatboy and moron. There are a few other items that may offend: A painting in the Mayor Hall of Fame shows the first Mayor of Who-ville as a caveman; Horton has a young friend who has a speck of her own and says on her speck everyone worships her.
The Mayor has 97 children, 96 daughters and one son. The Mayor’s son, Jo-Jo is odd. He dresses in all black, wears his hair different, and doesn’t talk. He is silent because he is afraid of not living up to his father’s expectations. In the end we find that he expresses himself differently, but that he is a valuable member of Who-ville.
As I watched this entire movie, I kept thinking this movie was made by pro-lifers. I am sure that there were others who thought about other less fortunate groups of people. However, this movie is an excellent way to talk to your kids about the unborn. Kangaroo says to her son Rudy and to Horton—“If you can’t see it, hear it, or feel it, it doesn’t exist”. That is the argument made by pro-choice people all the time and as Horton points out repeatedly, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Horton defends those too small to defend themselves. That is an important message for children to learn. Whether it is the unborn, small animals, or just people who are not in the position to defend themselves, our world would be a little nicer place if we could teach our children this important principle.
The concept of believing in something you cannot see is also a theme in this movie. The Mayor knows that something bigger is holding the clover. He places his faith in Horton to get them to safety. Children do not always understand God because they cannot see him. They don’t grasp that something bigger than us is out there. This movie can help explain that concept.
There is also a scene in the movie that can be interpreted several ways. Towards the end of the movie, Kangaroo’s son leaves the pouch against his mother’s authority to save the people of Who-ville. Although, I want don’t want my children to rebel against me or authority, I want them to understand that sometimes to do the right thing, you have to go against what everyone, including those in authority have said. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-36:
There is also a wonderful scene of forgiveness. Kangaroo led a crusade against Horton the entire movie and in the end, he goes to her and offers her a cookie. In the Bible, Jesus is our example of true forgiveness. In Luke 23:34, He says “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Horton understands true forgiveness is forgiving those who have done the greatest harm to you.
Overall, I recommend this movie. It is cute and entertaining. It held my littlest one’s attention the entire movie and it was something I could take my whole family to see. While the original Dr. Seuss cartoons from years ago are great movies, and this cannot take the place of the original drawings direct from the book; I know that my 5 and 3 year old will want to own this when it comes out.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.