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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Annamarie Parker
Annamarie Parker
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I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Dr. Seuss’ ‘Horton’ fun for all ages

Animated computer generated (CG) films always worry me. Chances are, if it’s not Pixar at the helm, it’ll be a disaster. I try not to hold everything to these high standards, but when Pixar consistently puts out quality films while other studios shovel out flops like “Doogal,” it’s hard not to.

I’m equally as leery about Dr. Seuss adaptations. The late author had a wonderful imagination perfect for books, but films like “Cat in the Hat” prove they should stay as books. Nonetheless, first-time directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino decided to attempt the impossible: make a good CG adaptation of “Horton Hears a Who!” The film is actually entertaining, but it never achieves the heights of Pixar’s films.

While going for a swim, Horton the elephant (Jim Carrey) hears something odd as a tiny speck floats past. Curious, he catches the speck on a flower and learns that there’s life on the speck – Whos. Whos live in Whoville and are led by The Mayor (Steve Carell).

The Mayor and Horton are able to communicate with each other and both are amazed to find life they didn’t know about. But not everyone believes them. The Mayor tries to convince the residents of Whoville that their world is in grave danger and they need to take shelter, while Horton must protect the speck from no-nonsense Kangaroo (Carol Burnett). If they are both going to survive, they have to help convince each other that life really does exist, whether it’s on a speck or beyond their sight.

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For the most part, the film feels like a Dr. Seuss story. There’s a constant sense of the fantastical along with Seuss’ trademark humor. And it’s well paced with an endearing message. But “Horton” tries to cram as many morals into the film as possible. For younger viewers, this won’t be a problem. For adults it means some cliché moments, but thankfully there aren’t enough to ruin the experience.

I was also surprised at how preachy the film sometimes seemed. Sometimes I felt like I was listening to someone’s philosophy on life rather than a heartwarming children’s film. Still, the message came through without ever feeling like they were totally beating you over the head.

A crucial element to any CG film is its voice actors. While Carrey and Carell do a fantastic job with the rhythmic nature of the script, I couldn’t help but feel like these actors were cast because their characters were the stereotypical goofballs they always play. Horton is a CG version of Ace Ventura while The Mayor is Seuss’s version of Michael Scott from “The Office.”

It would have been nice if the directors found actors who were acting out of their comfort zone. Not surprisingly, the only actor to do this is Will Arnett, who voices Vlad the vulture. His voice work is the best in the film.

Thankfully, technology has reached a point where CG films aren’t as concerned about visuals as they used to be. Although it may not look the best, “Horton” definitely gets the job done. The art direction is simple – characters and settings lack a fine detail, but this is done to make the film feel more like a Seuss book. As a contrast, there are some vibrant colors which make “Horton” come alive, specifically in the scenes in Whoville. “Horton” definitely proves that any director wanting to adapt a Seuss book should abandon live-action films and stick with CG.

“Horton Hears a Who!” is an entertaining kid’s film that certainly won’t bore adults. It may not be as captivating as Seuss’s books, but it’s worth watching at least once.

If anything, it will help CG fans pass the time until Pixar’s latest masterpiece, “Wall E,” finally reaches theaters.

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