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(Special Edition)

2008ís DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO ($35) dusts off the charming 1954 book by Theodor Geisel, yet again, and produces a truly wonderful theatrical adaptation from the likes of Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox. This CGI animated version of DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO is not only beautiful to look at, it also features the vocal talents Jim Carrey and Steve Carell- whose comic abilities really make this adaptation a true comic delight. Of course, turning DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO into a feature length movie does require some expansion upon the prose of Geiselís book, but fortunately, nothing thatís been added, detracts or diverts one away from the nuts and bolts of the familiar story.

For those unfamiliar with the book or the Chuck Jones animated television special, DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO tells the slightly off centered tale about an elephant named Horton (Carrey), who is able to hear a population of tiny people living on a dust speck, which is floating through the air of the jungle or Nool. On said the dust spec, sits the city of Whoville, whose government is headed up by Mayor Ned McDodd (Carell). When circumstances threaten the continued existence of Whoville, Horton and Ned find themselves in communication with one another. Of course, no one else possesses Hortonís elephantine ears, so none of the other jungle residents can hear anything coming from the dust speck. Convinced that Horton is crazy, the Sour Kangaroo (Carol Burnett) decides that something must be done about the elephant before he becomes a danger to the jungle community of Nool. However, when Horton finds his own well-being is endangered, he decides to stand beside Ned and the people of Whoville- espousing his belief that "a person is a person, no matter how small." The vocal talent behind DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO also features Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Dan Fogler, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Amy Poehler, Jaime Pressly, Jesse McCartney, Selena Gomez and Charles Osgood as The Narrator.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. I have to say that even in CGI, DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO maintains a very cartoon-like styling that is quite beautiful to look at in 3D. Additionally, I was suitably impressed with this SD offering, thinking that it should fare rather well against its hi-def counterpart. Image clarity and detail are quite nice for this type of standard definition release of a CGI animated movie. Colors are vibrant and quite attractive. Blacks are deep and the whites are clean. Contrast is smooth, which should be no surprise. Digital compression artifacts keep a low profile.

DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO features 5.1 channel soundtracks that come in both the Dolby Digital and DTS formats. Personally, I couldnít detect too much difference between the Dolby Digital and DTS, as the material doesnít make very many demands on either format. The sound design does utilize the outlying channels here and there, but by the nature of the material, much of DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO is dialogue driven, with a lot of sonic information localized front and center. Fidelity is good for lossy 5.1; with the music having a nice sense of presence, plus sound effects maintain their amusing properties. The bass channel has little to do, other than keeping things grounded. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish Dolby Surround tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Disc one starts with a running Audio Commentary with directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino. Next is an ICE AGE inspires short entitles Surviving Sid. Deleted Footage features unused sequences in various states of animated completeness. Animation Screen Tests provides twenty-four minutes of test footage. Other Featurettes include: Bringing The Characters To Life (five minutes), That's One Big Elephant: Animating Horton (eight minutes), Meet Katie (three minutes), Bringing Seuss To Screen (eight minutes), The Elephant In The Room: Jim Carrey (five minutes), A Person Is A Person: A Universal Message (four minutes), Our Speck: Where Do We Fit In? (four minutes) and Elephant Fun: The Facts (five minutes). A Game entitled We Are Here!, plus Trailers and DVD-ROM features close out the standard extras. DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO also features a second disc that contains a Digital Copy of the film.

DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO is a delightful film given a fine release on SD DVD. Easily recommended.



Horton Hears a Who! (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) (2008)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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