|Horton Hears A Who!|
One Elephant One World One Story
Horton Hears a Who!, also known as Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, is a 2008 American CGI-animated feature film based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name, the fourth feature film from Blue Sky Studios, and the third Dr. Seuss-based feature film. It was made by Blue Sky Studios, the producers behind the Ice Age films. This is the first Dr. Seuss CGI-Animated feature film after the poor critical reaction to the 2003 film Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat.
In the Jungle of Nool on the fourteenth of May, a caring, imaginative teacher elephant named Horton (Jim Carrey), the jungle's nature teacher,pushes a whole tree, takes a dip in the pool. A dust speck floats past him in the air, and he hears a tiny yelp coming from it. Believing that an entire family of microscopic creatures are living on that speck, he places it on top of a pink, fuzzy clover that he holds in his trunk.
In fact, he finds out the speck harbors the city of Who-ville and all its inhabitants, led by Mayor Ned McDodd (Steve Carell). He has a loving wife, Sally (Amy Poehler), 96 daughters (Selena Gomez) who all have names that start with the letter H, and one son named JoJo (Jesse McCartney), who, by Who custom, is next in line for the mayoral position. JoJo does not want to become mayor, which leads him to become sullen and mute, despite Ned's giving him extra attention.
The Mayor finds out from Dr. Larue (Isla Fisher) that Who-ville will be destroyed if Horton does not find a "safer more stable home." So Horton resolves to place the speck atop Mt. Nool, the safest place in the jungle. This outlook earns Horton nothing but ridicule from the inhabitants of Nool, especially from the strict official of the jungle, the Sour Kangaroo (Carol Burnett), who tries to get Horton to give up the speck, so as not to put supposedly ridiculous ideas into the heads of the children. Ever faithful to his motto, "A person's a person, no matter how small," Horton refuses. Also taking force toward Horton are the Wickersham brothers (Marshall Efron and Tim Nordquist), a group of angry bullying monkeys who love making misery.
All the small incidents that Horton experiences on his trek across the jungle have a catastrophic effect on Who-ville. He almost falls off a rickety bridge over a gaping chasm with a river of dangerous saltwater crocodiles at the bottom, which causes a dentist's needle to accidentally slip into the Mayor's arm while getting a root canal. When Horton left the clover outside overnight, it frosted over, which created winter in the summer down in Who-ville which gone away thanks to Horton's massive breath. As the other Whos become suspicious, the Mayor finally reveals the truth, but at first, the Whos do not believe him any more due to the Chairman than the animals believe Horton.
In the meantime, the Kangaroo has enlisted a nefarious buzzard named Vlad Vladikoff (Will Arnett) to get rid of the speck by force. Vlad manages to steal the clover with the speck on it, flee from a chasing Horton and drop it from hundreds of feet into a valley full of nearly identical clovers, (the one holding the speck has a striped stem)to show what the wind means in Whoville. The impact nearly demolishes Who-ville like an earthquake. Horton painstakingly picks 2,999,999 clovers through the field and finally finds it "on the 3 millionth flower." The earthquake, combined with hearing Horton's voice through the drain pipe, is enough to convince the rest of the Whos that the mayor is not crazy, and they all tell Horton they believe in him.
The Kangaroo finds out that Horton still has the speck, and, as her patience completely runs out, organizes a mob by telling lies to get rid of the speck once and for all. The animals plan to rope and cage Horton, but the Kangaroo turns this into a chance for attention, and offers Horton an ultimatum: give up the speck and "admit" he was wrong and that she was right, or pay the price. Despite a heartfelt speech from Horton that clearly touches the animals, Kangaroo still takes this refusal as an insult to her authority, orders them to proceed, and drop the speck into a pot of boiling beezlenut oil to "teach him not to make up stories of people on specks!"
The Mayor enlists all of his people to make noise by shouting, "We are here," as well as playing a variety of instruments, so the animals can hear them. JoJo runs off to Who-ville's abandoned Star-Studying Tower and soon Ned takes off after him. Inside, he reveals his ingenious invention: the Symphony-Phone, a giant machine that serves as an orchestra, and proceeds to add it to the mix of sounds. Still, the sound is not loud enough. The animals do not hear anything and the Kangaroo, who has had Horton caged, takes the clover, holds it over the oil and releases it. In a last-ditch effort to make Whoville heard, JoJo grabs the horn used to project Horton's voice, runs up the highest tower and yells "Yop!" A sound wave emerges and ripples up to the already pressured clouds and collides with them, causing the clouds to break and the sound to come through.
Hearing the Whos' cries, Rudy (Josh Flitter), the Kangaroo's son (who has been in his mother's pouch throughout the film despite being old enough to be out and too large for her pouch), grabs the clover before it hits the oil and returns it to Horton, refusing his mother's orders to return to her pouch. The animals finally realize the atrocity they almost committed. The Kangaroo is miserable for her behavior, but Horton forgives her, and offers his friendship, which the Kangaroo accepts with the umbrella. At the end of the film, everyone helps Horton carry the speck up to the top of Mt. Nool. After a big number of the cast singing REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling", the camera zooms out, revealing that along with numerous other worlds in our universe, the jungle of Nool is just one speck among numerous others like our planet.
- Horton the Elephant, voiced by Jim Carrey, the main protagonist of the film.
- Ned McDodd, the Mayor of Whoville, voiced by Steve Carell, and the deuteragonist.
- JoJo McDodd is voiced by Jesse McCartney, and the secondary tritagonist.
- Morton the Mouse is voiced by Seth Rogen, and the tritagonist.
- Jane Sour Kangaroo is voiced by Carol Burnett, and the main antagonist.
- Vlad Vladikoff is voiced by Will Arnett, the secondary antagonist of the film.
- Yummo is voiced by Dan Fogler, and the tertiary antagonist.
- Sally O'Malley is voiced by Amy Poehler.
- Rudy is voiced by Josh Flitter.
- The 96 Daughters of Ned McDodd are voiced by Selena Gomez.
- Dr. Mary Lou Larue is voiced by Isla Fisher.
- Mrs. Quilligan is voiced by Jaime Pressly.
- Jessica Quilligan is voiced by Laura Ortiz
- Tommy the Tiger is voiced by Jonah Hill.
- Katie is voiced by Joey King.
- Miss Yelp, voiced by Niecy Nash
- Various people, voiced by Mona Marshall, Danny Mann,
- The Chairman, voiced by Dan Fogler, and the quartenary antagonist
- The Wickersham Brothers, voiced by Marshall Efron and Editor Tim Nordquist
The film received generally positive reviews from film critics. As of May 8, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 78% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 123 reviews, and an even better 84% rating from the top critics on the site based on 31 reviews, both classifying the film as "Certified Fresh", and making it by far the most favorably reviewed Dr. Seuss film adaptation on the site. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 71 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews", based on 31 reviews, also the most favorably reviewed Dr. Seuss film on the site. Brian Eggert of Deep Focus Review gave it one and a half stars out of four, criticizing its numerous pop-culture references, calling it a "mish-mash of incoherent babble" and claiming it ends up "reducing Seuss' otherwise admirable message to ordinary storytelling, when Seuss' work is anything but."
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $45,012,998 in 3,954 theaters, averaging $11,384 per theater in the United States and Canada, and ranking #1 at the box office. The film had the 4th largest opening weekend in March, behind Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and 300. In the United States and Canada, Horton Hears a Who was also the #1 film its second weekend of release, grossing $24,590,596 over the Easter frame, in 3,961 theaters and averaging $6,208 per venue. It dropped to #2 in its third weekend grossing $17,740,106 in 3,826 theaters and averaging $4,637 per venue. Its fourth weekend ranked at #4 grossing $9,115,987 in 3,571 theaters and averaging $2,553 per venue. Its fifth weekend ranked at #6, grossing $5,920,566 in 3,209 theaters and averaging $1,845 per venue.
As of July 20, 2008, it has grossed a total of $295,133,433 worldwide; $154,245,889 in the United States and Canada and $140,887,544 in other territories. This makes it the first theatrical film in 2008 to pass the $100 million domestic mark.
- When it is JoJo's turn with the mayor, the clock starts at 12 seconds. After you can see JoJo watching the Mayor, the clock goes back to 12 seconds when it should have only 6 seconds left.
- Mayor: "A Beautiful wife ninety-six daughters and one son." Horton: (later in the film) "They have a mayor, who has 96 daughters and one son named JoJo." The Mayor doesn't mention his son's name. Unless they have another conversation we don't see, Horton couldn't have known JoJo's name.
- On the bridge, when Horton blows himself back, the clover flies off his trunk. It is then soon seen back in place.
- When Horton looks through the clover field, he has to pick the clover to find it, and the clover wasn't growing on the ground.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss adaptation to receive a G rating by the MPAA. It is also the first Blue Sky Studios film to have been designated that rating.
- This is also the only Seuss adaptation to be released under the 20th Century Fox label (the first two and The Lorax were released by Universal Studios).
- This is the second Dr. Seuss related movie that Jim Carrey stars in.
- During the time the mayor addresses the town, on the right side of the screen are three green Whos and another who carrying a plate of green eggs and ham, a reference to Dr. Seuss' book Green Eggs and Ham.
- During the scene where the mayor introduces Horton to some of the people in Who-ville, the mayor introduces "Bert from accounting" who we see holding a coffee cup that appears to say "Who Sky" on it. This is a reference to "Blue Sky", the animation studio that made this film.