A Movie Review on Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012)
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss has published hundreds of children books, which many of them I had read as a child. His most popular books seem to be The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Grinch that Stole Christmas. Adaptions of his books have been occurring since Horton Hatches an Egg in 1942. Many of the films are animated works, but the most recent adaptions of The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas were live-action. The most recent Dr. Seuss adaption is The Lorax, based off of the 1972 book of the same name. The movie opened on March 2nd 2012 and went to have the highest grossing opening weekend of any of Seuss' adaptions with $70.2 million. The movie currently ranks as number two on the all time Dr. Seuss adaption list, only behind How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Although the movie did not fail to find an audience, it did fail to win over the critics, scoring only a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. Many criticized it for not sticking with the original message from the book, while others thought of the movie as a great family film with a strong message.
The Lorax follows a young boy, Ted, from the town of Thneedville, who lives in a world without real trees. Within the town there are artificial trees that are powered by batteries. When a young girl who he's had a crush on for sometime expresses her desire to one day see a real tree, Ted sets out to find a real tree. Ted must travel beyond the town to find someone by the name of the Once-ler who apparently knows what happened to all the trees and may be able to help him find one. The Once-ler agrees to help but under one condition. That Ted listens to his entire story, told over multiple days, about how his greed for money led to the extinction of the trees. Ted, inspired by the story decides that he wants to take action. The mayor of Thneedville, and owner of a company that sells bottled air, will stop at nothing to see that Ted fails.
The movie has a strong environmentalist, and anti-corporation messages behind it that tries to get the message across to the kids that our environment is important to us, and that corporate greed will take it away. At one point in the movie one of men that works for the mayor says something along the lines of "you could put anything in a plastic bottle and people will buy it," and its so true. Millions of plastic water bottles are used each day, even though it is the same exact water you could get from using a water filter on your faucet, and the water filter would be cheaper in the long run. I feel like the movie plants a seed in its young audiences mind, in hopes that it will one day grow into an idea or belief. Although the movie carries this environmentalist message about how important our trees and environment are to us, it is also a very fun, family oriented film.
I thought the story was great, and although there are some differences, I felt that the filmmakers stayed very faithful to the events of the book when trying to turn it into a movie. While the look of the Once-ler was changed for the movie, I felt that the rest of the characters from the book remained very similar. It was great to see these characters brought to life in the movie. There are a few new characters introduced to us from the movie such as Ted's crush Audrey, Ted's Grandma, and Mayor O'Hare. I did not mind the addition of these characters, with Ted's Grandma providing plenty of laughs throughout the film.
All the voice actors do wonderful jobs, with Danny DeVito as The Lorax, Zac Efron as Ted, Ed Helms as the Once-ler,Taylor Swift as Audrey, and Betty White as Ted's Grandma. All the voices accurately fit the look and personality of the characters, with the filmmakers doing a great job casting the movie. The animations look beautiful, with the world of trees being filled with various colors, and the world without trees looking very bleak and gloomy. Unfortunately I was only able to catch the movie on Blu-ray so I was unable to to experience it in 3D, which I could only imagine was fantastic.
Overall, I thought The Lorax was a great family film, and the most interesting animated film since I saw How to Train your Dragon. The movie contains a strong environment friendly message that I found to be very accurate. I think its great that a kids movie can be so entertaining yet provide a strong messages to kids about taking care of the world they live in, and the importance of the environment around them.
The Lorax was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 7th 2012.
Directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda. Screenplay by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul
Starring (voices) - Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Betty White, Rob Riggle, and Jenny Slate
Rated PG. Runtime: 86 Minutes