Monday, March 17, 2008


Horton Hears A Who

Took three of the grandkids to the movies Sunday; Horton Hears A Who was the movie of choice.

The Dr. Suess of memory was pretty spare with words. I don't remember reading anything to my kids that took longer than maybe 20 minutes. Horton expands on the good Doctor's story and, unlike the unwatchable How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the horrid The Cat in the Hat, Horton stayed truer to the Dr. Suess original while filling an hour and a half with silliness appropriate to a general audience.

I had actually dozed off during one part of the movie - it starts off a little slow, and I tend to drift off during kid shows anyway - so we're not talking Pixar quality entertainment here, but one thing I found noteworthy about Horton was the writing. I noticed it early on during the movie, and was later moved to comment to the wife that Horton - the Movie was as libertarian - brazenly so - a movie as I've seen in a very long time. Try as I might, I can't remember lines of dialogue, and I'd love to get hold of a copy of the script. I didn't go into the movie with the idea of reviewing it, so I wasn't prepared to take notes.

There was of course the inevitable incident where a kid comes off as morally superior to his parent, in this case the fascist Sour Kangaroo mother (Carol Burnett) - and playing like Hillary Clinton - is disobeyed by her oppressed son, who was "pouch schooled" (and, presumably, socially retarded.) There was also a contrived scene where Horton extends an olive branch to his tormentor that was less than satisfying, but the writers mocked liberal bromides throughout and got it mostly right. The scene where Mrs. Kangaroo was attempting to convince Horton to change "for the children" was particularly amusing.

In another shot across the bow of our materialistic would-be overlords, the evil Sour Kangaroo tells Horton, "If you can't hear, see or feel something, it does not exist." Of course, Horton knows different, he's heard the Whos, and, of course, "A person's a person, no matter how small." Horton's faithfulness in the face of peer pressure and even oppression by the community - Sour Kangaroo comes across as the president of the neighborhood association from Hell and it is Horton's neighbors who cage him and poke him with sticks as he strives mightily to keep his promise to the Whos to keep them safe. "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful, 100 percent," says Horton, who certainly is faithful.

The tribute to REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore" was cringeworthy, and came completely out of left field, almost as if they had to emulate Shrek or something. I could have lived without that, but otherwise take the kids to see Horton.


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