I've got to make a mental note that movies that have trailers playing in the cinemas for the longest time, do not a boring movie make, even if the first half of the movie plays like the extended version of the trailer, telling us things we already know, spelling out the premise all over again.
Jim Carrey and Steve Carell unite on the big screen again after their short pairing up in Bruce Almighty, although this time they're animated as animals / creatures from Dr Seuss' fictional world, and don't share the same scene (split screens don't count). Jim Carrey voices Horton, an elephant who in moments where you least expect, spew lines of poetry as dialogue. We're introduced to his character from the onset, though his backstory isn't really fleshed out, except that there are those (like the Kangeroo) who hates all for what he stands for. And simply put, Horton exudes all qualities typical of what elephants are made out to be - excellent memory, frightened about the unknown, and trustworthiness.
These qualities are put to the test when he chances upon a speck on a clover. That speck turns out to be home for an ecosystem populated by Whos, minute creatures who seem to live very mundane, repetitive lives in their very own little paradise. Things start to go awry, especially with severe environmental changes, and despite the Mayor of Whoville (Carell) warning of the great unknown out there, like all predictors of impending doom, get ridiculed by the population. So begins the friendship between HOrton, trying to protect the world of his new found friend by relocating the speck to safe haven, and the Mayor, who must warn his disbelieving population about more dangers to come.
For a while it drags on, with childish banter between the two lead characters, and the plot by Horton haters to bring him down by destroying his toy of the moment, not acknowledging his mantra that a person's a person, no matter how small. They want proof, and they're not getting any, since the Whos are also laughing at the fact that there are bigger creatures out there, outside the realms of their known atmosphere. It's as if one's trying to convince a large group of atheist that there is a supreme being up there and he's up there watching our every move (ok, so Horton doesn't actually get to see them, but you get my drift).
But the struggling with existentialism, is what made Horton Hears a Who shine brightly, and made the ticket worthwhile. A pity we have to really wait out for it, but at least these tense moments came, better late than never, that really brought out enough drama and excitement that I never saw coming my way. Otherwise, the animation's pretty standard fare in 2D, and chock full of supporting characters (voiced by Seth Rogen, Carol Burnett, Dan Fogler, Isla Fisher, Amy Poehler and Jaime Pressly et al) just to ramp up the cute factor, without giving them much to do anyway, though I must admit the gorillas almost always crack me up (you should see what they can do with their bananas!)
Smart to debut this during the school holidays this week to catch hold of school going kids. Oh, and get yourself into the hall early as you'll get to see Ice Age's Scrat up to his antics to promote Ice Age 3, due on in Summer 2009 (yes, 2009!)