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"DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO"
(2008) (voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Moderate *Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Moderate None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Minor Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Animated Comedy: Despite no one believing him, a jungle elephant does what he can to protect the inhabitants of a tiny world that exists as a speck sitting on a piece of clover.
PLOT:
In the jungle of Nool, Horton (voice of JIM CARREY) is a likable elephant who enjoys hanging out with his friends, including Morton (voice of SETH ROGEN), Tommy (voice of JONAH HILL) and little Katie (voice of JOEY KING). One day while frolicking in the river, Horton thinks he hears a voice coming from a little speck that floats by him in the air.

While no one believes his claim -- especially the mother Kangaroo (voice of CAROL BURNETT) who doesn't want the elephant stirring up any sort of make-believe commotion among the kids -- Horton takes it upon himself to protect the speck. With it landing on a piece of clover, the elephant tries his hardest to communicate with whatever or whoever might be on it.

Little does he realize the latter is more accurate as the speck is really a world that contains a town -- Whoville -- comprised of various Whos. They're blissfully unaware that they're so small in such a big world, and are planning on celebrating their centennial. The only doubter is Mayor O'Malley (voice of STEVE CARELL) who, with wife Sally (voice of AMY POEHLER), is a parent to 97 kids, all of them girls except for JoJo (voice of JESSE McCARTNEY) who keeps to himself and never speaks.

The Mayor realizes something odd is happening to their world, but the Chairman (voice of Dan Fogler) and the rest of the council don't believe him, and certainly don't want him rocking the boat. Yet, when he finally makes contact with Horton, he knows he isn't crazy. The same holds true for the elephant, although the fact that he's the only one who can hear the Whos means that the Kangaroo will do anything to quiet him, including hiring hit-eagle Vlad (voice of WILL ARNETT) to get and dispose of the piece of clover and the speck on it.

From that point on, Horton and the Mayor do what they can to get the rest to believe them, all as others try to put them in their place, actions that will ultimately threaten all of Whoville.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Yes, especially younger ones.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
Presumably for not containing anything to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
While it's debatable whether kids view animated, non-human characters as role models, here's a quick look at the characteristics of the main characters.
  • HORTON is a friendly and playful jungle elephant who thinks he hears a voice emanate from a speck that's floating by, and thus takes it upon himself to protect whoever that might be. Despite others thinking he's crazy, and the Kangaroo constantly trying to undermine him and his claim, he does what he can to protect the speck.
  • THE MAYOR is the elected leader of Whoville, a married man with 97 kids who wants his lone son to follow in his footsteps. He must also deal with naysayers to his claim that something is amiss with their world and that he's talking to an enormous, invisible elephant in the sky.
  • KANGAROO is the self-appointed guardian of right and wrong in the jungle, and she doesn't like Horton's claim (about tiny beings existing on the speck) and the effect that might have on the other children and their imagination.
  • VLAD is the sometimes fearsome and sometimes goofy hitman eagle who the Kangaroo hires to take care of that matter (by grabbing and disposing of the speck).
  • MORTON is Horton's best friend who sticks with him despite not being sure about his claim.
  • THE CHAIRMAN is the leader of Whoville's council who doesn't believe the Mayor's claims and thus wants to quell him lest their centennial celebration be disrupted.
  • SALLY is the Mayor's wife, mother to their 97 children.
  • JOJO is their only son, a somewhat disillusioned and introspective kid who keeps to himself, doesn't speak, and doesn't want to follow in his family's long line of male mayors.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this G-rated, animated comedy. No profanity is present, but various colorful phrases are, as is other behavior that might be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    A few scenes might be unsettling or suspenseful to the youngest of viewers, while there's some brief contact between characters, as well as various bits of slapstick style material. Some characters have bad attitudes, a few hold drinks (although we don't know if the content is alcoholic or not), and a little bit of crude humor is present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy camerawork as we see Horton's point of view as he runs away from Vlad.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Horton and Morton have tropical style drinks from half-coconuts, but we don't know the content.
  • A condo construction foreman holds what looks like a martini after his project is suddenly complete.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • About her make-believe world, Katie states that everyone there eats rainbows and poops butterflies.
  • Having to cough up a bone that was choking him (used as a metaphor for what he's going to do to Horton's speck), Vlad then says he'll regurgitate the speck and then eat it again.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Kangaroo doesn't believe Horton's claim and worries that it might cause the kids there to become imaginative. She is a rabble-rouser and fear-monger, and tries to turn everyone against Horton in a mob mentality way. She also employs Vlad and a bunch of monkeys to do her dirty work.
  • The Council of Whoville tries to make the Mayor sound like he's crazy as they don't believe his claims.
  • Some viewers might not like a brief joke where we see quick images of the Mayor's male ancestors (as he comments on them being great) including one in a ballerina outfit, with the Mayor commenting, "Not so great."
  • After the Mayor suggests the town's centennial celebration be postponed (due to fears of what's occurring outside their world), a glass chamber descends over him, and another character is seen grabbing him by the throat, and then pointing to the picture of a donkey -- the joke being that he's silently referring to him as a "jackass").
  • Some might not like the terms "nuts" and "bananas" being used for "crazy."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers but probably no one else.
  • Wanting to protect the people of Whoville, Horton suddenly realizes all of the potential dangers in the jungle, and appears quite nervous, stating, "This entire jungle is a house of death" (but the scene is played lightly and for comedy).
  • Trying to transport the denizens of Whoville to a mountaintop, Horton comes across a rickety and narrow suspension bridge that doesn't look safe (it's long and quite high above the ground below). Nevertheless, he starts to cross it, with boards breaking, the bridge swaying and such, but the scene is played for light comedy and adventure.
  • The Mayor goes to the dentist and hears drilling and screaming sounds from another room. The dentist then comes in and moves a huge syringe (filled with Novocain or something similar) toward the Mayor's open mouth. Just then, Horton accidentally shakes their world, causing the dentist to miss and inject the Mayor in the arm, causing that to go numb, and the rest is played for comedy.
  • Kangaroo tentatively goes deep into a scary looking forest at night with lots of sharp tree branches and rocks all around. She then encounters Vlad (a scary-looking eagle with sharp teeth, etc.), but she's there to hire him to take care of Horton and the speck he's carrying around.
  • Vlad chases after Horton, trying to get the clover and speck on it from him. He comes at him with his claws, but they land in a tree when they miss getting Horton.
  • Vlad gets the clover from Horton and flies off, with Horton giving chase. Vlad then drops the clover into a massive field of look-alike clover (and thus kids may worry that Horton will never find his new friends again).
  • The Mayor must resuscitate his fish after their world is jolted.
  • Kangaroo's mob of various animals races toward and then surrounds Horton. When he won't give up the speck, Kangaroo has them capture Horton and says she'll drop his clover into a vat of boiling oil (thinking he's delusional about people living on it). Accordingly, various monkeys throw ropes over Horton and start pulling him back toward a cage, where some poke him with sticks. At the same time, Kangaroo takes the clover and walks over toward the vat of oil and prepares to drop the clover into it. During this, everyone in Whoville tries to make enough noise to alert Kangaroo and the others that they really exist (and they manage to do that just in the nick of time).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "A bunch of harebrained half-wits," "Banana in the hole," "Alright, fat-boy, you want some of this?" (said generically by Horton, not to anyone), "What's shaking?" "Good luck with your illusional superiority," "You babbling boob," "The mayor was merely being an idiot," "Oh, we're doomed," "This entire jungle is a house of death," "Leave the freaking out to me," "I will make monkeys of those monkeys," "Act swiftly, awesome pachyderm" (what Horton thinks ASAP stands for), "Time to hit the hay, I guess" (go to sleep), "Eazy-peazy," "Holy moly," "Yes, score," "I'm an all you can eat salad bar -- take a bite," "Nuts" and "Bananas" (for crazy), "I said what I said, and I meant what I meant," "Boob" (not meaning a breast), "The mayor is just being a moron," "What a non-boob I am," "Idiots," "You boob," "Read my beak," "Shut up, mouse," "Jeez," "We are here!" and "Dude."
  • A bunch of monkeys cheer on one who's stuffed many bananas in his mouth (to see how many he can put there).
  • To sound an alarm, one monkey bites into another's leg, causing him to scream in pain (thus the alarm).
  • The Mayor meets the members of the council, with all making a greeting sign of placing their thumbs to their foreheads and raising the rest of their fingers.
  • Horton shakes his butt around while dancing.
  • The Mayor carries and balances 96 glasses of water for his daughters.
  • A miscellaneous resident of Whoville has spiked hair.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Vlad suddenly surprises Kangaroo when she goes to find him.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • As the Whoville town shifts at an angle, a fish bowl lands on the Mayor's crotch (it isn't clear if this is supposed to be just a "crotch shot" joke or something more).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • JoJo doesn't speak to his father (or anyone), preferring to keep to himself, and he doesn't seem to want to follow in his family's long line of male mayors.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The comment that a person is a person, no matter how small (or different).
  • Standing up for what one believes in, and not giving in to naysayers.
  • The Mayor and his wife having 97 kids.
  • JoJo doesn't speak to his father (or anyone), preferring to keep to himself, and he doesn't seem to want to follow in his family's long line of male mayors.
  • VIOLENCE
  • There are various scenes where Horton and others fall, get knocked around, or run into things (all slapstick style), but they and the things they run into or hit are unharmed.
  • Monkeys throw bananas at Horton, trying to trip him up (a bunch finally do).
  • To sound an alarm, one monkey bites into another's leg, causing him to scream in pain (thus the alarm).
  • After the Mayor suggests the town's centennial celebration be postponed (due to fears of what's occurring outside their world), a glass chamber descends over him, and another character is seen grabbing him by the throat). A mechanical device then escorts the Mayor out of the council hearing, with its boot repeatedly kicking the Mayor on his rear.
  • Frustrated, the Mayor throws a stapler at a painting. It bounces off that and hits the Mayor on the head, leaving a staple implanted there.
  • Kangaroo accidentally kicks little Katie aside.
  • The Mayor goes to the dentist and hears drilling and screaming sounds from another room. The dentist then comes in and moves a huge syringe (filled with Novocain or something similar) toward the Mayor's open mouth. Just then, Horton accidentally shakes their world, causing the dentist to miss and inject the Mayor in the arm, causing that to go numb. As the Mayor then leaves and moves about, his numb arm flops around and occasionally hits him, while he also accidentally closes a door on that numb arm (all played for comedy).
  • When they awaken to snow in the summer, all of the Mayor's girls run over him (in several packs) as they race to get outdoors to play in it.
  • As the Whoville town shifts at an angle, various things slide and hit the Mayor, including a stapler to his head and a fish bowl to his crotch.
  • Horton accidentally runs head-first into the side of a mountain.
  • Kangaroo's mob of various animals races toward and then surrounds Horton. When he won't give up the speck, Kangaroo has them capture Horton and says she'll drop his clover into a vat of boiling oil (thinking he's delusional about people living on it). Accordingly, various monkeys throw ropes over Horton and start pulling him back toward a cage, where some poke him with sticks.



  • Reviewed March 8, 2008 / Posted March 14, 2008

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