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STUDIO:
Warner Brothers

MSRP: $19.98

RATED: Not
Rated

RUNNING TIME:
26 min.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
 

  • You Can Hear Horton, Horton Can
    Hear You! Sing-Along Music Video
  • In Search of Dr. Seuss – 1994
    Documentary
  • Three more delightful Dr. Seuss
    Animated Stories
    • Butter Battle Book
    • Daisy-Head
      Mayzie
    • Horton Hatches
      the Egg!

The Pitch

An elephant is faithful to a tiny society living on a speck.

The Humans


Teach enough kids to read and nobody will notice when you start a production company to launder money.

The Nutshell

Horton Hears a Who is presented alongside several other
classic Seuss tales in this Deluxe Edition. The main feature spotlights Horton
the Elephant, as protects the tiny town of Whoville
from the jungle forces of Nool. Alongside this central story, we get a 1989
Turner Television presentation of Butter Battle Book with animation by Ralph
Bakshi. If Cold War politics via Seuss aren’t your bag, then there’s the rather
lame Daisy-Head Mayzie and the original Warner Brothers cartoon adaptation of Horton Hatches the Egg.

The Lowdown

Horton Hears a Who: Deluxe Collection is a massive release of
everything Seuss outside of the Grinch and the Cat in the Hat. The main Horton
adventure is another one of those classic Seuss tales. This time the
rabble-rouser is asking for children to question authority, use Scientific
Reasoning and to respect all people. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just that it’s
a lot of material thrown at a little kid. But, there are the fantastical
elements to keep children entertained.


Dr. Seuss’s book about Watersports never got past the first draft. Somewhere, somehow, Seuss knew that kids wanted to read about Pissy the Pachyderm.

That’s the beauty of Seuss’s words and Chuck Jones’s deft
animation hand. A kid can pick up a book and use their steadily declining
imagination or they can use the animated films as a jumping off point. The
delightful color work of Jones’ adaptation of the Horton tale ends quickly and
begets the later animated works of Seuss stories. Ralph Bakshi’s The Butter
Battle Book
is the second story on the disc. It spotlights the Cold War arms
race as being between two groups of people who can’t agree on which side to
butter their bread.

A single stone wall divides their world and every couple of
years; they meet at the Wall to show off their latest weapons. Everything
escalates to a point where they create a weapon that may very well destroy them
both. Daisy-Head Mayzie was a posthumous work that appeared in 1995. The
illustrations weren’t by Seuss, but the story showed off all the key elements
that marked Seuss’s later years. There’s a distrust of fame and a desire to preserve
one’s identity. It’s all pretty basic and lacks the charm of Seuss’s work with
Chuck Jones.


Cut it with ammonia, cut it with baking powder. It’s not crank, it’s not chowder.

Then, there’s the final short. Horton Hatches the Egg! was
helmed by Bob Clampett for Warner Brothers shortly after the publication of the
children’s book. It’s a very dated short that bounces back and forth between a
straight retelling of the book and impersonations of Peter Lorre and Katherine
Hepburn. The short is dumbed-down, but it manages to convey the gist of the
book in a short amount of time.

In the end, it’s a very satisfying collection that’s topped
off with the 1994 TNT documentary In Search
of Dr. Seuss
. One wonders why Warner Brothers chose to put all of this Seuss
material onto a DVD re-release of Horton
Hears a Who
. But, I appreciate the effort and I can only hope that other Seuss
animated tales get the same deluxe treatment.


We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. But, we need the Lorax. He speaks for the trees among other things. Did I ever tell you about Dendrophites, boy? Well, sit down and prepare to have your mind blown.

The Package

Horton Hears a Who comes to DVD
with a deluxe single-disc release. You get the four features and a
feature-length documentary comfortably situated with decent transfers all
around. If that’s not enough, there’s a sing-along music video for the kids to
sing along. The entire affair is well-organized and not a moment feels wasted.
That’s why I can’t help but to recommend this release.

The A/V Quality on the DVD
is superb considering the age of most of the features. The Dolby 2.0 Surround
tracks are as crisp as anything released today. It’s just that the transfers
have grain; even the recent Daisy-Head Mayzie shows considerable problems.
But, it’s not enough to take you out of the features. It’s just that you’re
left wanting something a little more Digitally Remastered.


I was going to make a joke about outdated shit that your grandparents don’t ever remember saying during World War II. But, I’m just going to leave this caption alone. Yeah, how about that?

 

8.8 out of 10