Movie Name: The Lorax
Studio: The Cat in the Hat Productions
Release Date(s): February 14, 1972
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
The Once-ler has found a means to make a fortune. The truffula trees can provide the material to make Thneed and everyone needs Thneeds. As Thneeds pick up in popularity, more and more truffula trees are needed. The only one speaking for the truffula trees, the Swomee Swans, the Humming Fish, and Bar-ba-Loots is the Lorax…but the Lorax can’t seem to explain to the Once-Ler about the danger of eliminating a forest that might never return.
Directed by Hawley Pratt, The Lorax was an animated TV special. The film was based on the 1971 environmental children’s story by Dr. Seuss and originally aired on CBS on February 14, 1972. The special was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 14, 2012 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the special and the feature film release.
Though I had a lot of Dr. Seuss books, I never had The Lorax. I therefore don’t have a natural soft spot for this film. Despite having never read it, I do find The Lorax rather progressive for Dr. Seuss and much like some of Dr. Seuss’s earlier works which were sometimes political cartoons taking on things like Hitler.
In 1971, the hippie movement was thriving. Peace, love, and understanding were blossoming, and The Lorax was a perfect fit for a world at war. The story is rather short and sweet and doesn’t need a lot of expanding (something that the big screen adaptations of Dr. Seuss don’t seem to understand).
The movie employed Eddie Albert to provide the opening narration. Albert is a perfect narrator with his distinctive voice. The voice of the Lorax was provided by voice actor Bob Holt. Holt also provides the voice of the Once-ler (which makes sense since the Once-ler is really relaying the story to the generic Dr. Seuss “boy”.
The animation for the series is faithful for Dr. Seuss’s designs. The animation brings Seuss’s whimsical world to life and enhances the telling of the tale. As a kid, the Dr. Seuss animated specials like How the Grinch Stole Christmas were good because it showed you how his characters moved and they were no longer just images in the book. The Lorax in that sense is no exception.
The Lorax is a nice, short animated special. The movie was expanded into a full length feature film in 2012. Despite still being topical, I see little need for a longer Lorax. This version of the tale is long enough and gets the points of the story across. I will admit however with the world as it is now, it might need the Lorax more than ever to speak for the Earth.