2 January 2010 | Electrified_Voltage
Often silly and kiddish, but an informative film on the life of an extremely influential author
I think I saw just a bit of this made-for-TV movie on TV when I was around eight years old (around the time it was released, or shortly after), but didn't know it was called "In Search of Dr. Seuss". I remember so many Dr. Seuss stories from my childhood, both books and animated cartoons, but don't recall seeing much of this biography film. After fifteen years or so, I've finally seen the entire film on DVD. By the time that happened, I knew the lead character was played by Kathy Najimy, and knew her as the voice of Peggy Hill in "King of the Hill", and the role of Beverly "Bev" Pear in "Rat Race". I was also familiar with several other cast members. If I had seen the entire film as a kid, it probably would have been more entertaining, but it was still interesting.
Kathy Lane is a news reporter who comes to the home of the late Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) to get as much information as possible for a report on the famous children's author, information she couldn't find anywhere else. The first character she meets turns out to be the Cat in the Hat, one of Seuss's famous characters! She then sees a book entitled, "Open a book, open your imagination," and opens it, which takes her on a magical adventure through the world of Seuss, full of surprises, with the Cat as her tour guide! Many of the author's famous stories are included on this adventure, and Kathy finds herself taking part in them! She also gradually learns about his life, career, the inspiration for some of his stories, etc. She gets some information from the Cat in the Hat, and some from other characters she meets in different places on her adventure.
There's lots of humour in this film, but it certainly didn't make me laugh much. With Christopher Lloyd, Andrea Martin, and Robin Williams all in the cast, it could have been so much funnier than it is, at least for adults. There are parts I found mildly amusing, but not many. This was the most disappointing aspect for me. For the most part, the humour is very kiddish, and it might not just be the humour, as the sets often look like they're from a low-budget kids' show, though I'm sure that was intentional. However, it is an interesting biography on Dr. Seuss, focusing on different parts of his life and sometimes showing documentary footage. There are also some pretty good presentations of Dr. Seuss stories, sometimes with edited versions of animated cartoons, and it's also good that the morals of these stories are mentioned. The author was well known for those. The film is informative in a way I've never seen before.
I don't know if I should be rating this film 8/10, and I'm definitely not doing so because of how entertaining I personally found it. I would usually have to find a movie more entertaining than this to even give it a 7. I don't think I could exactly say I found most of "In Search of Dr. Seuss" that entertaining, especially with the lack of laughs. Still, it's an interesting way of telling viewers about the life of Dr. Seuss, and to me, there is something charming about it. I'm sure many kids would like it a lot, and I'm sure the humour would probably be more appealing to them, though I don't recall liking the part of the film I saw as a kid. Also, if you're an adult who grew up with Dr. Seuss, then this is probably worth watching for information on the influential author (though you may wish it were presented in a different manner), and you could find more entertainment value than I did.