Directed by Jimmy Hayward. US. 2008. Ages 4+. 86 min. Fox. 35mm.
- Sat, Mar 9, 2:00 pm
“After the calamity that was “The Cat in the Hat” — one of the nastiest children’s movies ever made — you’d think Dr. Seuss’ widow and executor, Audrey Geisel, would never let a filmmaker near her husband’s expansively humanist worldview again. Yet here she is with an executive-producer credit, only this time on a movie I suspect both of them would love, albeit with minor reservations. Warm, playful and inventive, this tale of an elephant with a spirit as generous as his waistline comes juiced with the genially goofy animation of the folks who brought us “Ice Age” coupled with a respectful doffing of the cap to Geisel’s exuberantly wacky visual style. Voiced by Jim Carrey, Horton is a pachyderm so open-minded and empathic that he detects, then moves heaven and earth to rescue, a tiny micro-society (headed by Steve Carell) housed in a speck of clover from the clutches of a power-hungry kangaroo and helicopter parent from hell (a hilarious Carol Burnett). The catch is that Seuss’ storytelling depends on brevity and economy, a fact that opens any feature-length adaptation to the risk of bloat. A host of added characters works beautifully, but the scads of extra action feel like so much padding. Hang in, though, for the extravagantly operatic finale, whose plea for mutual understanding was written during the Cold War, yet ought to be graffiti’d on every door in the West Wing.” (Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly)