We read the reviews that indicated that Horton Hears A Who was a good film and had nothing offensive for children, and so we took our five-year-old twins to see it. We all enjoyed it very much.
The story, as in the original Dr. Seuss book, is about aheroic dedication to justice, no matter the cost. Also, as Scott Holleran wrote at Box Office Mojo – click here – it upholds careful thinking and learning about all the evidence rather than following pre-existing assumptions, tradition, or faith. It alsoupholds the value of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and of respecting every individual’s right to live regardless of non-essentials (“A person’s a person, no matter how small”). Obviously, in the story, any creatures that think, talk and act like human beings are considered persons.
This film contrasts dramatically with the offensive movie destruction of How The Grinch Stole Christmas of a few years ago(surprisingly directed by the usually talented Ron Howard). That film was full of vulgarity and it stretched out and undercutthe climax so that anyimpact was dissipated. I heard similar atrocities were committed against The Cat in The Hat ina recent version.
I understand the animators of Horton had previously created the film Ice Age, which I did not likebecause of too much vulgarity and scenes of torturous pain, inappropriate for children and unpleasant for me. Here with Horton Hears A Who, they clearly made an effort to be classier, and sensitive and respectful to the original material. However, there is a short preview of an Ice Age sequel before the Horton movie starts, and it is slightly disturbing for small children, but to a relatively minimal extent.
Incidentally, the same story is the major plotline in the musical Seussical. We took our children to see the shortened-for-children 90 minute version (or was it 60 minutes?) of Seussical when it played New York for free last summer and they loved it too. And the Seussical Broadway Cast Album became a great favorite.
In fact, our children have seen and loved every version of Horton Hears A Who, including the original book, and the superb Chuck Jones animated TV special.