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HORTON HEARS A WHO

SYNOPSIS:
When Horton the elephant (voice of Jim Carrey) hears a faint cry for help from a tiny speck of dust floating through the air, he is keen to save anyone who needs his help. He discovers that the speck of dust houses the entire city of Who-ville, which is home to the microscopic Whos, lead by the Mayor (voice of Steve Carell). While Horton is ridiculed by his animal friends at his determination to save the particle and its invisible inhabitants, the Mayor is facing problems of his own; he can understand the impending serious threat but the townsfolk do not, and cannot understand his reluctance to proceed with Who-ville's Centennial celebrations.

Review by Louise Keller:
Delightfully frivolous, but grounded in reality, this inventive animation based on the Dr Seuss story, will amuse, enchant and inspire one and all - no matter how big or small. With its universal theme that everyone matters irrespective of size, Horton Hears A Who is a wondrous mix of a classic tale into which new life has been massaged and imaginative touches injected. The filmmakers have remained true to the essence of Dr Seus' tale with integrity, lovable characters, rhyming couplets and a production design with all the desirable elements. Jim Carey and Steve Carell head a top voice cast that inhabit the characters from the two vastly different worlds which are connected only by sound. It's credit to them both that the transition from the lush jungle to the miniscule and delicate Who-ville is as smooth as honey.

Every action has a consequence and life changes forever for the tiny Whos in Who-ville, when a single drop of water falls from a leaf, and in doing so, dislodges the speck of dust that is their home. The two key characters connect by chance and could not be more different. Horton the elephant (voiced by Jim Carey) has a heart as big as his bulky frame, and his playful nature is captured in the opening scenes when he twists his floppy ears around his head as a swimming cap, before plunging into the river for a swim. Carol Burnett voices the only sourpuss among the colourful jungle animals, an outspoken kangaroo, who alleges 'If you can't see, hear or feel something, it doesn't exist.' Her mission is to destroy both the speck of dust and Horton's credibility, and commissions the hilarious participation of a Mafioso-style vulture called Vlad.

Steve Carell voices the conscientious hard-working Mayor of Who-ville, a family man with 96 daughters and a son, who staggers nightly to his children's room balancing an unsteady tray filled with water glasses. Nothing has ever previously gone wrong in Who-ville, so the impending disaster (heralded by freak climate change and turbulence) is a perceived impossibility. Wonderful ideas and abundant visual treats are on display as we leap from impending perils in the jungle to the unfolding horrors in Who-ville. It's uplifting, funny and charming as the odds are overcome for a happily ever after conclusion.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HORTON HEARS A WHO (PG)
(US, 2008)

VOICES: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Dan Fogler, Isla Fisher

NARRATION: Charles Osgood

PRODUCER: Bob Gordon

DIRECTOR: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino

SCRIPT: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul (book by Dr Seuss)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: Tim Nordquist

MUSIC: John Powell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 20, 2008







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