Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

This fun movie's dizzyingly high USP is testament to the tale's origins in another media, specifically the well-known Dr Seuss book. Hollywood could never have green-lit this great idea all by itself.

Using his enormous ears, Horton the elephant perceives a slight noise emanating from a tiny speck on a flower. Living on the speck is an entire race of microscopic beings - the Whos of the title - whose fragile existence is at the mercy of events in Horton's comparatively ginormous jungle.

The agenda behind this production is admirable - to broaden its audience's imaginations and sweeten the lesson with plenty of fun along the way. Enter Jim Carrey and Steve Carell as the two leads, almost reunited from Bruce Almighty, and both playing loopy eccentrics in danger of ostracisation from their respective societies for believing in another world which cannot be seen.

This is a pretty effective metaphor for treating those of unfamiliar beliefs in our own world with humility and reconciliation. Religious tolerance is an obvious one, but I reckon the lesson applies to those with less popular convictions too, such as belief in ghosts or aliens for example.

Although the film encourages the viewer to think, it paradoxically also punishes this attitude, as again and again violent events in Horton's jungleverse fail to have any impact on the Whos whatsoever. Just how many times does he stumble and fall around whilst holding that flower, without causing any earthquakes?

Another scene features Horton inadvertently destroying a bridge behind him as he crosses a wide gorge, even though many characters later follow him across off-camera with no problems.

Though I found it took a little getting into, there are enough ideas and inspired lunacy in here (the manga sequence!) to make this one very fun movie by the end, even if Channel 4 did speed-up the closing credits, without doing the same to the characters' dialogue.

And then they squashed the picture by 50% because, y'know, they just had to trail the upcoming Annie, 100 Greatest Toys with Jonathan Ross and Come Dine With Me, the first two of which weren't even scheduled until the following day.

Come on Channel 4, learn from the film, these movie characters are supposed to be real too.

Available here.


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