This is one movie which just about released around April – May 2008 (the time I was travelling back from the US to India) which is probably the only reason why I missed out watching it in theatres. And things have been so busy back home since then that it was only this weekend that I actually got around to watching this movie. And boy oh boy, did me and the Missus enjoy it or what.
The premise of the story itself is quite simple in terms of the fact that it involves an entire world – Whoville which is located on a speck of dust. Now this speck somehow finds its way across the Jungle of Nool, and ends up being audible to Horton, the affable elephant whose credo in life is “a person’s a person, no matter how small” and who believes in being of assistance to anybody who requires it.
The Whos (especially the Mayor) realize that unless taken care of, could be in grave danger and therefore request Horton to protect them from harm. And Horton being Horton gladly obliges to do that. However, issues arise when the Sour Kangaroo doesn’t approve of Horton feeding the kids stories and tall tales regarding an entire world existing on a small speck of dust and tries to do everything in her power to stop Horton from engaging himself in helping the Whos.
In fact, she engages the services of Vlad, the Vulture and even the Wickersham Brothers to make Horton get rid of the speck of dust. The particular sequence in which Vlad (voiced over wonderfully by Will Arnett) chases Horton, manages to get the flower from him and drops it into a field full of similarly colored flowers, and how Horton manages to retrieve the flower with the speck of dust on it is one of the more memorable sequences in this movie.
How Horton is ridiculed for having believed in something like the Whos, how Vlad, the Wickersham Brothers and the Sour Kangaroo instigate a mob against Horton, and how the Mayor of Whoville manages to convice the rest of the Whos to make enough noise so that the bigger world can hear them forms the rest of the plot. As is the norm, the movie has a happy ending with Horton offering his cookie to the Sour Kangaroo and both of them taking the Whos to a safe place.
What is rivetting about this movie are two things. One, the animation. Sheer brilliance in terms of the use of colors, the characters themselves, Horton, Vlad, the Kangaroo, the Mayor, Morton, all the characters stand out in your memory long after you have watched the movie. Two, the amazing vocal talents in the movie. Some of the biggest names such as Jim Carrey (Horton), Steve Carrell (the Mayor), Carol Burnett (Kangaroo) have done an amazing job of giving these memorable characters some wonderful voices. In fact, I’ve always believed that more than 50% of the credit in a good animation movie goes to the Background Music and the voices that play the main characters. And this movie scores more than 100 out of 100 points on this front.
The various little sub-plots such as the friendship between Horton and Morton, the over-protective nature of Kangaroo when it comes to her kid, the Mayor and his troubled relationship with his son JoJo, the wonderfully mafia-esque portrayal of Vlad the Vulture, the stupid lovable Wickersham Brothers, all of these make this a must-watch movie with the family.
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