Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who Review

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

This phrase, spoken by Horton the elephant throughout the story, “Horton Hears a Who,” is the theme that Dr. Seuss constructs for the reader, or in this case the viewer of the animated film version of the story. Of course Seuss writes his stories for children, but this theme is of course a universal message that we can all learn from. The good ‘ole Doc! Horton the elephant is a great big gray mammal who spends his days in the jungle wading in pools of water and bathing himself with his trunk. But Horton is a strange kind of elephant, according to the other animals in the jungle (and according to me, because he looks more like a cat than an elephant).

One day, a small speck of dust floats through the air and he hears a small sound coming from the speck. At first: “Squeek! Squeek!” (Which also reminded me of a cat because it sounds like a meow.) And finally as it becomes more clear: “Help! Help!” Horton realizes there is a person inside this speck of dust and he announces proudly that “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” He’s tormented by the other jungle beings, such as a few birds and a few blue monkey-like animals that look like scary versions of Smurfs. These tormentors tell him that he’s crazy and that of course there’s no small person inside of the speck of dust.

Horton is not alone, however, because this one small person he speaks to inside the speck, lives amongst others of his kind, Whos, and his Who-town mates do not believe that there is a world outside of their own. You see, inside the speck is a town of hundreds, complete with stores and houses and families of Whos. But these Whos are of course egocentric, as most species are, as to believe that they are alone in the universe…but one man, the small voice he speaks to in Whoville, believes there is more out there and he knows their small speck needs a protector. Horton offers to be this protector and must defend against the animals of the jungle who capture Horton and his speck, intending to boil the dust to prove there’s no one inside!

Seuss, as usual, takes us and the drawn characters on a strange 26-minute journey which ends up giving us a warm feeling that can only be created by something as odd as an elephant whose heart is big enough to hear a small world inside a speck of dust. This speck he carries throughout the animated film rests atop of a bright pink flower that he carries in his trunk by the stem.

The colors are very vivid in this Blu-ray of Horton Hears a Who , which gives it a more lifelike quality than you could ever get from the other versions of the film. Similar to How the Grinch Stole Christmas! which also came out on Blu-ray, Horton’s sound quality isn’t the best, but the cartoon images are really brightened up and defined in this high definition short. The characters are very silly and meant for children, but we were all kids once and can appreciate the message that the movie sends us. Do yourself a favor and get yourself this cartoon, and allow Seuss to remind you that “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”

Blu-ray Bonus Features

The extra features on Horton aren’t nearly as good as the ones on How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, but it has a few segments that are not bad. The best one is “In Search of Dr. Seuss,” because it’s a short biography of Seuss’ life and his stories. Other than that there’s a few trailers available, a music video sing-a-long that is definitely for the little Whos at home, and a few character portraits from Seuss’ collection.

"Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who" is on sale December 1, 2009 and is rated NR. Animation, Children & Family. Directed by Ben Washam, Chuck Jones. Written by Dr. Seuss. Starring June Foray, Hans Conreid.

Erin Burris

Erin is not buff, she’s quite gangly really—but she is a major film buff.  She writes movie reviews because, second to film, her passion is writing.  With a background in writing and cinema studies, she sees film in three ways: as a scholar with an eye for reviewing, as a total film geek and as you see movies.


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