On December 9th, Fox Home Entertainment released the heartwarming animated tale Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! on as a Two-Disc Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) including Digital Copy. Already featured for the first time as a brand new balloon in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade November 27, 2008, Dr. Seuss’ book Horton Hears a Who! (1954), comes to life with the help of an all-star voice cast including Golden Globe® winner Jim Carrey* (How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Bruce Almighty), Golden Globe® winner Steve Carell** (“The Office,” Get Smart), and six-time Emmy® Award winner Carol Burnett*** (“The Carol Burnett Show”). Dr. Seuss’ whimsical tale imparts to children and adults alike the meaning of compassion, forgiveness and faith.
Horton the elephant who lives a pleasant life in the Jungle of Nool, spending time swimming, basking in the sun, and teaching the animal children about leaf bugs, until he happens to hear a speck as it floats by. Sensing something... or someone is in trouble, Horton sets out to rescue the speck. He discovers the tiny world of Whoville, and meets the mayor. Everyone in Nool thinks Horton has lost his mind as he talks about the voices coming from the speck, and everyone in Whoville thinks the Mayor has lost his mind when he talks about the giant elephant who holds the future of their world in his... trunk. Horton faces great obstacles and danger as he attempts to save the small world. In the end, he is captured by his foes. All he has to do is admit there is nothing in the speck, and he can return to life as he knew it, avoiding a painful life of derision in a cage. However, "an elephant is faithful, 100%", and Horton will not give up the speck or the invisible lives therein. After all, "a person's a person, not matter how small."
Despite his disavowal of interest in any particular organized religion and his claims to not have a moral in mind when he wrote his books, Dr. Seuss reportedly drew on the deep structures of esoteric Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in books like "The Lorax," (http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/forseus.html), and Horton Hears a Who! seems to have a very clear message about faith as Horton and the Mayor come to believe in each other -- Horton in a world he cannot see, and the Mayor in a Saviour he can only hear through a drainpipe. The small world of Whoville faces certain destruction, but in the end the small world is saved by the 100% faithful elephant. There are all sorts of spiritual parallels, including how the small world of Whoville was blown off track to begin with. With the political leanings of Dr. Seuss, many have also said Horton is an allegory for the American post-war occupation of Japan, as well as about anti-isolationism and internationalism. (Wikipedia)
Beyond the possible spiritual and political implications, Horton Hears a Who! is funny and touching tale that will appeal to young and old alike. The Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! Two-Disc Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) including Digital Copy are loaded with bonus features, big and small, including commentary with directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino, eight featurettes, exclusive deleted footage and the debut of the Ice Age short “Surviving Sid.” Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! DVD is presented in a flipper disc featuring both full screen (1.31:1 aspect ratio) and widescreen format (1.85:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 Dolby Surround, Spanish/French Dolby Surround with English and Spanish subtitles. DVD bonus features includes:
Individual disc bonus materials include:
Single Disc Flipper – Widescreen and Pan & Scan Version
• Directors’ Audio Commentary w/ Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
• Ice Age short “Surviving Sid”
o All-new animated short focusing on the Ice Age characters Sid and Scrat.
Two-Disc Special Edition Including Digital Copy
Includes all above single-disc content with the following extra material featured on the second disc:
• Deleted Footage and Animation Screen Tests (w/ Introductions and optional audio commentaries by the directors)
• That’s One Big Elephant: Animating Horton
o In an animation-focused featurette, learn how Blue Sky brought Horton to life.
• A Person Is a Person: A Universal Message (with the expected obligatory PC connotations - please always watch these things with your children)
• Featuring interviews w/ cast and crew, we will take a closer look at the characters, the story and interpret the meanings of Horton Hears a Who!
• Bringing Seuss to Screen
o Learn how Hayward and Martino maintained the authentic look and feel of Dr. Seuss’ world.
• The Elephant in the Room: Jim Carrey
o Profile on Jim Carrey voicing Horton
• We Are Here! Game
o Memory game in which you have to repeat the correct pattern of Who-noises
In related news: in May this year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver announced that Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place December 15 and his widow, Audrey accepted the honor in his place.