Horton Hears a Who appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. I thought the transfer seemed pretty good.
Sharpness was always quite satisfying. Virtually no softness interfered with the image, as it stayed concise and distinctive at all times. I noticed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. As for source flaws, a few specks appeared, but not many. Note that some sloppy clean-up work could create some distractions, but those were inherent to the original material.
Colors seemed nice. At times they were slightly heavy, but as with the clean-up marks, I think that’s just the way the source image looks. Overall, the hues seemed vivid and full. Blacks were fairly dark, while low-light elements showed good clarity. I felt quite pleased with this clear and smooth transfer.
Horton provided a stereo soundtrack, though only the music sounded that way. Dialogue and effects both emanated strictly from the center area. The stereo spread for the score worked quite well, as Horton displayed very nice delineation.
As for the audio quality, Horton showed good range and clarity for the music. The score and songs were clear and reasonably dynamic. The rest of it seemed more lackluster, though, as speech and effects came across as a bit flat and plain. Still, they seemed find given their age, and the show included so much music that those elements compensated to give us a “B-”.
How do the picture and audio of this “Deluxe Edition” compare to earlier releases? Audio remains similar, but the visuals look much better. This new transfer is cleaner, tighter and brighter. It’s a good step-up in picture quality.
In the past, Horton essentially existed as nothing more than a bonus feature on the Grinch DVD. Now that it gets its own “Deluxe Edition” – obviously meant to cash in on the animated feature film – Horton boasts a decent set of extras.
We start with three Bonus Dr. Seuss Animated Stories. These include Butter Battle Book (23:44), Daisy-Head Mayzie (23:43) and Horton Hatches the Egg (9:48). Butter focuses on the war between two societies that differ solely due to how they treat their toast. Dr. Seuss usually manages adept social satire, but Butter proves obvious and almost insulting in its commentary on intolerance and the arms race.
Mayzie suffers from a paper-thin plot. It boasts a strange premise in which a girl grows a flower from out of her head but it never manages to do much with the concept beyond a few songs and some forgettable sight gags. Finally, Egg brings back our elephant pal for a vintage 1940s Looney Tunes effort. It’s concise and amusing, unlike its two partners here.
A documentary from 1994 called In Search of Dr Seuss runs one hour, 30 minutes and 12 seconds. It features Kathy Najimy as a reporter who attempts to learn about the life of Dr. Seuss. That sounds good, but “Search” is a mess. It’s not much of a documentary, as instead it mostly acts as an excuse for folks like Matt Frewer and Patrick Stewart to dress up like Seuss characters and overact – really, really overact, that is. Annoying at best and embarrassing at worst, some interesting facts appear here, but the overall package is so obnoxious that the show becomes unwatchable.
You Can Hear Horton, Horton Can Hear You! presents a “singalong music video”. It mixes together the show’s various tunes and lets us sing along with them. This might be fun for some, I guess.
A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for The Smurfs, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, and It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. A collection of trailers also offers clips for Academy Awards Animation Collection, Tom and Jerry Tales V4, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo S1, and Pop Go the Wiggles.
Horton Hears a Who! offers an entertaining programs that has endured for decades. Horton sounds like prior DVDs but it provides significant improvements in terms of its visuals. It also comes with a mix of new extras to add value. These factors make the “Deluxe Edition” of Horton a nice release.