Movie Name: The Lorax
Studio: Illumination Entertainment
Release Date(s): March 2, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG
In the town of Thneedville, Ted Wiggins likes a girl named Audrey…and Audrey’s dream is to have a real tree. Out to impress her, Ted goes to see the mysterious Once-ler who lives in the outskirts of town. The Once-ler tells Ted the story of the Lorax and how his actions to make Thneeds destroyed all the Truffula trees and drove away the animals. The Lorax was the only one who spoke for the forest and now Ted must become the new spokesman for the trees. A businessman who sells air named Aloysius O’Hare has other ideas and will do anything to stop Ted.
Directed by Chris Renaud, The Lorax is musical comedy based on the 1971 Dr. Seuss book. The film was previously adapted as an animated special in 1972. A marketing ploy having the Lorax advertise a Mazda SUV did cause some controversy upon the film’s release (since SUV’s and the Lorax don’t mix). The film received average review but a strong box office return.
The Lorax was a Dr. Seuss book with a message. We are all Loraxes and we and the only ones who can protect the Earth for ourselves. It was a nice, sweet message…but that was as a short children’s book and not a movie that is an hour and half.
The story just doesn’t have enough substance for a full length film. Much like the live action How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which is far worse), the movie would have been better suited as an animated short…which it was in 1972. The secondary storyline of Ted, the girl he loves, and Aloysius O’Hare just seems tacked on…the real heart of the story is the Lorax which gets buried.
Danny Devito is a good choice as the Lorax with his gruff voice and diminutive stature matching the character. Ed Helms plays the foolish Once-ler that wrecks the world. Zach Efron and Taylor Swift are the voices of the kids trying to save the world. Betty White is the voice of Ted’s grandmother and Rob Riggle is the heavy as Aloysius.
The movie does look and sound good. It was a smart move to turn the story into a musical. The songs are alright and fit with the whimsical world…and at least they fill some of the added time. The visuals are in tune with Dr. Seuss and that is a must for a Dr. Seuss movie.
The Lorax is a rather dull film. Horton Hears a Who! has proven to be the best adaptation of Seuss’s work, but Hollywood keeps trying…sometimes the work is best left on the paper where it will remain classic. We the people are the only ones who can speak for the population Hollywood likes to kill.