Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (U)

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The Independent Culture

If they're going to dramatise another Dr Seuss book, why not Hop on Pop, a text that seethes with unexplored mystery and barely felt tension: why does Mr Brown go into town? Why does he come back with Mr Black? Is whatever Mr Black wants linked to the fact that dad is sad, very very sad, he had a bad day, what a day dad had?

Horton Hears a Who, on the other hand, is thin stuff: an elephant realises that a passing grain of dust contains an entire world of tiny creatures in need of rescue, and sets out to transport them to a safe place. The animation does full justice to Seuss's tussocky topography and his bestiary of pompadoured birds and hatrack-antlered elk.

But the Blakean vision ("To see a world in a grain of sand...") is converted, through the dreary alchemy of Hollywood, into a sloppy fable about the evils of social conformism and the necessity of fathers showing their sons they love them; a few more jokes wouldn't have hurt, either. My two 10-year-old guinea pigs declared it OK, but a bit boring; with the Easter holidays in prospect and the weather forecast unpromising, that may be all the endorsement many parents will need.

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