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The Lorax-A Message For Children And Adults Alike

Updated on June 27, 2015
The Once Naïve man
The Once Naïve man

The Lorax

O Hare Purified Air Commercial

The Once-ler

The difference between Seuss' original story and the film lie in the padding, the extra bits added to make it a feature film, and one of these is a backstory for the Once-ler, pUtting a youthful face to him, and a desire to be successful takes from his villainy slightly, it shows how he was enthusiastic and misguided, with a terrible family, ones that refused to show how he was making mistakes, instead opting for making him more of a corporate demon. His Family are awful people who pay very little attention to him until he makes his small fortune, suddenly they are supportive and needy, leading him down a path of destruction for profit. This dynamic takes the responsibility from him, it is after all him who cuts the first tree, then continues when he's making money, ignoring the Lorax's words of wisdom. He is as much after profit as his deadbeat family. Growing up with a crappy family is no excuse for destroying the Earth, nor should it take responsibility from those who make their own decisions.

A look at environmental awareness through film

The new Hollywood version of Dr Seuss’s The Lorax hit cinema’s in July and already there have been various comments and reviews. Some good, some not so good and some plain ridiculous. For people worried about overly in your face environmental awareness or pushy political agenda’s then I would say this film is not for you but it’s an unavoidable part of the story that Dr. Seuss intended. Why should the young not be taught about the importance of trees and having real living things rather than synthetic, especially in times where food is being synthetically made and sold worldwide and with artificial furniture, flowers and body parts part of everyday life?

The film begins showing a colourful town, clean and free of any living things save for the people inhabiting ‘Thneed-ville’. The story goes on to show a boy who wants to find a real tree to impress a high school girl. His grandmother tells him to find the ‘Once-ler’, the only person who knows what happened to the trees. And so he does, to the dismay of the O’Hare, a man who has profited hugely off the lack of trees by selling bottled fresh air.

The film portrays the ‘Once-ler’ as a normal man, an entrepreneur who sought fame and fortune so that his family (A rather horrible, manipulative family at that) would finally be proud of him but becomes gripped with the need to make more money. He invents the ‘Thneed’, a multi-purpose scarf thing that becomes a huge success. He uses the trees to make them however and when he cuts his first one down it brings about the ‘Lorax’ a spirit who speaks for the trees. He is an annoying little orange moustached creature that follows the Once’ler around, along with some very cute animals, making sure he doesn’t harm the trees. When His greedy family arrive they manipulate him into cutting the trees rather than harvesting the fluff bit by bit to which he agrees. He is by no means truly monstrous though and resembles the attitudes of many with his song “How bad can I be?” In the song he asks How ba-a-a-ad can I be? I'm just building the economy.” With his family telling him that the trees need to be cut down in order to save time and money and for his company to flourish he ignores the Lorax and continues cutting each tree until there is none left. He is a misguided boy who is thinking of his company in short term. When his company finally fails after the destruction of every tree he hides away in shame and anguish in a hollowed tree.

One review of the ‘Lorax’ said “The behaviour of the man, known as the Once-ler, is the most flagrantly unrealistic element: Industrialists who devastate large swaths of land don’t stick around to experience the consequences. They move on to the next target and the next. They buy houses in Palm Beach.” (The Badness of The Lorax Is a Shock By David Edelstein on Vulture.com). The one problem I find with this comment is that the whole point of the story is that the ‘Once-ler’ felt such misery about devastating the land that he couldn’t leave it. If he had indeed gone off to the next target what would there be to learn from the story? It’s the point behind the whole story-“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” The ‘Once-ler’ couldn’t forgive himself unless he found someone willing to help him change what he had done to the land, and when he did find that person, the ‘Once-ler’ gave him the chance to do the right thing.

Another social aspect of the film was the Villain 0’Hare. He made millions off selling bottled air when the Once-lers factories polluted the atmosphere and directly influenced diferent aspects of society to ensure that clear air was always a profitable commodity. The realism behind this was very accurate, portraying him as selfish and manipulative; manufacturing plastic trees that keep the citizens dazzled with their high tech twinkle lights so that no clean air is ever produced. he is so absorbed with profit that he is constantly trying to come up with new ways of selling this fresh air as seen in a very amusing scene with his executives trying to find ways of advertising the air as ‘cool’, and come up with selling it in small plastic bottles, literally selling nothing at all. The advertisement they create sees hip, young, bored, 20 somethings on a roof, until they open a bottle of O Hare Purified Air which immediately turns the roof into a party. The likeness with actual advertising is another comment on how Advertising executives can sell you everything and nothing at all at the same time.

The film over-all was cheery, colourful and interesting from start to finish with many moments for myself of sincere laughter and joy. It has a story that pushes environmentalism and also warns against corporation’s short-termism in destroying trees and the environment and with replacing natural goods with artificial ones. It teaches an important lesson about the world and certainly feels like a possible look into our future in this world. And in a world where things are quickly becoming more and more artificially manufactured, where we are now paying for natural resources like water-something we as living beings have a right to, is there anything wrong with making the younger generations aware of this, of their future? Or maybe its message is aimed at the people bringing the children to the film.

5 Stars....

I give this film 5 Stars because it is family friendly, fun and still educational without being pushy. Comical and lighthearted at the beginning, it slowly turns dark, without ever reaching scary levels, the Once-ler is a character that is haunted by his mistakes, and while he is certainly a villain, redemption seems possible.

My Rating

5 stars for The Lorax

'How Bad Can I Be?'

Comments

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    • profile image

      Carmen 2 years ago

      Nora is played by Betty White that autlmaticaoly makes the character awesome. White is a total boss. Characters better reco-nize.I do wish they had done more Ed Helms. Once-ler is the most popular character with fans

    • profile image

      Wilmer 2 years ago

      Is it bad that when I saw this film today I saw half Lorax for a few moments and half Phil from Hercules? Two dneferfit film made by two dneferfit companies but as for animated movies I just pictured the Lorax as a hybrid of both Danny's characters. ^^;

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      Excellent review of the Lorax....my older kids grew up reading The Lorax almost every night....for a good 2 year span. I was always amazed that Dr. Seuss wrote the story in early 1970....it seems way ahead of its time. I have no issue with the message of the story.....I think kids are very smart and can still enjoy the story. The biggest kick I got was hearing my son took his daughter to the movie and clearly remembers reading the story with me....so the Lorax has had a three generation impact on us....voted up and awesome.

    • belleart profile image
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      belleart 5 years ago from Ireland

      I'm not Dr. Seuss' biggest fan either only having ever seen 'Horton hears a Who' before. I loved this film though...thanks for reading :)

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      Garifalia 5 years ago

      I didn't even know about that movie. It does look beautiful although I'm not crazy about Dr. Seuss, despite having been raised on 'Green Eggs & Ham'.

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      bigdawg27 5 years ago from Ireland

      While this film may come across as being simplistic when compared to other titles of the same genre, The Lorax is completely relevant when it comes to content.

      There may be a "blunt" message in here, but let's not forget that this story was written by Dr Seuss with children being its intended audience. The message in The Lorax is a valid one, and consideration for the environment is not merely "tree-hugging hippy crap," but prudent if this planet is to continue spinning!

      Great review, I agree that The Lorax is an entertaining show and is definitely the kind of thing young children should be exposed to.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 5 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks, I really did think it was brilliantly done, why people think its not beneficial to teach children the importance of these things I do not know but I definitely don't see the harm in it!

      Glad someone liked it as much as I did :)

    • vegaswriter profile image

      vegaswriter 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I commented on this last night to my boyfriend about the movie and what a good message it was for kids without trying to force it on them.

      They are more likely to absorb it and it is something they should be learning and thinking about.

      I've done educational programs at schools with live animals teaching both conservation and why you probably don't want a monkey or a tiger as a pet type stuff.

      I viewed it as an animated film for children with an important lesson rather than from an adult or film buff / technical perspective and enjoyed it as well as appreciated the moral of the story.

    • belleart profile image
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      belleart 5 years ago from Ireland

      Wow, Im actually so surprised so many people are saying that, I may just have a very different view of an overall good animated story :)

      I loved this film, I was genuinely saddened when the Once-ler decided to cut the trees and the songs were incredibly entertaining, but to each their own I guess :)

    • Hazzabanana8 profile image

      Hazzabanana8 5 years ago from Southern Realms of England

      A good message. Clean animation. Yet nothing exceptional. Nothing too memorable and overall, was fairly mediocre. That shouldn't be a criticism but compared to the likes of Toy Story and Finding Nemo, I guess it is.