hortonhearsawhobluDr. Seuss’ childrens books have been making their rounds as feature film adaptations over the last few years. First there was ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ and then ‘The Cat in the Hat’ with both bringing in a nice amount at the box office, but not being well received by critics. In 2008 we have another new chapter in the Dr. Suess world, ‘Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!’. This film is directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino under the 20th Century Fox animation studio Blue Sky Studios. This time around the film is brought to life via animation. ‘Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!’ was successful at the box office with a world wide total gross of a $345 million dollars.

‘Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!’ is a more enjoyable feature film as opposed to the previous two films that were released. I found the animation to not be overdone as what they had tried to do with the live action films. This allows the animation some breathing room to not look overly stylistic. Blue Sky Studios have done a fine job making this a beautiful looking animation, but the execution of the story is where the film falters a bit.

The story tells a tale of being able to understand the value of others. Our main character Horton (Jim Carrey) is an elephant that one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust. This is where he looks down into the dust and sees that there is a group of beings by the name of Who’s. This is the first time that the Who’s have encountered some kind of threat to their existence. They are led by The Mayor (Steve Carrell) who has never had a problem like this to deal with. Horton promises to protect them since they are so small in size. Back at home in the Jungle of Nool, Horton is looked at as a crazed animal since nobody can see or talk to the Who’s but him.

The remainder of the animals led by a moralizing kangaroo (Carol Burnett) decides that they are going to take this plant from him so he can stop talking all crazy. Horton along with his sidekick Morton (Seth Rogen) must make sure that they protect the Who’s at all costs. At this point with a huge threat on their hands, the Who’s

The Mayor of Who-ville is having trouble trying to maintain a relationship with his son due to communication issues. This part of the story is a bit of a stretch since it enters an area that would have never been a part of actual Dr. Seuss’s world. This is one example of where the story was expanded beyond the books adaptation.

The voice acting is top notch filled with A and B-list actors such as Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, Seth Rogan, and Carol Burnett. Then add Jonah Hill, Dan Fogler, and Isla Fisher as part of your B-list cast and you have a winning combination.
Movie Content: 4/5

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Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film is absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray. Colors are absolutely stunning, vibrant, and pop off the screen. With the 3D pop, the image is so life like. The film never loses that Dr. Suess world look at all with the transition to animation over a live action film. Details are also very good, especially in some of the darker scenes in the jungle. I was literally amazed as to how far Blue Sky Studios has come since ‘Ice Age’.
Video Quality: 4.5/5

Audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. The DTS-HD mix takes advantage of the soundfield in this film. The soundtrack and sound effects can be heard coming from all around as this is one dynamic audio experience. At times animations tend to be more dialogue driven with lack of atmosphere. Dialogue is clean and center with no balance issues.
Audio Quality: 4/5

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Special Features

Disc 1

  • Audio commentary by co-directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
  • All New Ice Age Short: Surviving Sid (7:59) [HD]
  • Picture in Picture Bonus View – Watch the film with a Who [HD]
  • Deleted Footage [HD]
  • Introduction with Co-directors (:25)
  • Storyboard Versions (14:50) [SD]
  • Rough Animation Versions (2:39) [SD]
  • Almost Done Versions (1:09) [SD]
  • Animation Screen Tests – Introduction with Animator Nick Bruno, Horton, Mayor, Whos [SD]
  • Bringing the Characters to Life Featurette (5:29) [HD]
  • That’s One Big Elephant: Animating Horton Featurette (8:08) [HD]
  • Meet Kate Featurette (3:49) [HD]
  • Bringing Seuss to Screen Featurette (8:14) [HD]
  • The Elephant in the Room: Jim Carrey Featurette (4:52) [HD]
  • A Person is a Person: A Universal Message Featurette (3:42) [HD]
  • Our Speck: Where Do We Fit In? Featurette (4:01) [HD]
  • Elephant Fun: The Facts Featurette (5:28) [HD]
  • We Are Here! Game (:53) [HD]
  • FOX On Blu-ray – City of Ember, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs [HD]

Disc 2

  • Digital Copy of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!

I am rather impressed with the amount of special features available for ‘Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!’. The special features are available in both standard and high definition. The one feature ‘A Person is a Person’ gives those that are unsure of the films story a better understanding.
Special Features: 4.5/5

Final Thoughts:

‘Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!’ is one of the better releases of Dr. Suess feature length films. With stunning video, great audio, and special features that make this a great release on Blu-ray. Now if more studios would follow the lead as FOX has here with how to release their films on Blu-ray. I would recommend this film as a rental before making a blind purchase as the story could detract a bit from some people’s enjoyment.
Overall Rating: 4/5 (Rental)