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Chuck Jones, Ben Washam
Hans Conried, Chuck Jones, June Foray
Writing Credits:
Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who is the 1970 animated classic based on the 1954 book of the elephant who is the only person who can hear the people of the tiny planet floating on a speck of dust. The Deluxe Collection is fully remastered and includes three features from The Best of Dr. Seuss: Butter Battle Book, Daisy-Head Mayzie, and Horton Hatches the Egg!

Rated PG-13

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Stereo
French Stereo
Spanish Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 26 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 3/4/2008

• Three Bonus Dr. Seuss Animated Stories
• “In Search of Dr Seuss” Documentary
• “You Can Hear Horton, Horton Can Hear You!” Singalong Music Video
• Trailers


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Horton Hears A Who!: Deluxe Collection (1970)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 13, 2008)

After more than four decades, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas remains the most embraced Dr. Seuss adaptation. Much less well remembered is 1970's Horton Hears A Who, but that doesn't mean it's not a strong program. Actually, I think I prefer it to The Grinch, though some of that may be the result of too much repetition of the latter.

While I saw Horton as a youngster, I definitely didn't watch it nearly as many times as I did The Grinch, so it doesn't possess the same level of familiarity. I mean, pre-DVD days, I couldn't remember the last time I saw The Grinch - it's been more than a decade, I'd guess – but I still know it by heart. The same can't be said for Horton, which looked familiar but not to nearly the same degree.

While my lack of knowledge of Horton is part of the reason I liked it more than The Grinch, I also think it's a more adult-friendly feature. Face it: while The Grinch has a lot going for it, most people of my generation will enjoy it mainly because for nostalgic reasons. Horton, on the other hand, offered some very intriguing aspects, not the least of which was the intense and creative wordplay on display. The song "Mrs. Toucanella Told Me" was just insanely over the top with puns and word variations that propel the tune along, virtually all of which would be lost on the intended age group. How many kids know much about psychoanalysis?

Horton also offered a more deft piece of societal analysis as well. The Grinch has a message that amounted basically to "remember the meaning of Christmas" and little more, whereas Horton a wide variety of judgmental sorts. It's quite clever and creative in that way, and it doesn't bop you over the head with its meanings. And unlike The Grinch, you can watch Horton any time of year and not feel stupid!

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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