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The Lorax and the Secret World of Arrietty: Two new Robwrite Reviews
The Lorax speaks for the trees...With Danny DeVito's voice
Dr. Seuss and Hayao Miyazaki...fun family fare
THE LORAX (3 stars out of 5)
Let’s talk about the Lorax; he speaks for the trees,
He was invented by Dr. Seuss in the 1970s.
My name is Rob and I’m reviewing a movie.
Some say it’s bad, but I thought it was groovy.
This is a message film, and not a subtle one,
It’s an in-your-face lesson, and it’s rather fun.
The reviews have been mixed and the verdict is split,
But I cast my vote by recommending it.
There’s been political debating a lot,
about this film being a left-wing plot.
Well, there is an environmental moral here,
but it’s not a leftist plot, so there’s nothing to fear.
The story follows 12 year-old Ted, (Zac Efron does the voice)
and the sight of local girl Audrey (Taylor Swift) makes him rejoice.
They live in the plastic, anti-septic city of Thneedville,
where everything is totally artificial.
The town is run by evil Mr. O’Hare
who makes people pay to breathe his factory-made air.
There are no trees left anywhere around.
Audrey would love to see one but they can’t be found.
Ted wants to prove to Audrey he’s worthy to be her steady guy.
He goes off to get a tree—or at least to try.
He slips out of the city and goes where trees used to grow
but now the forest is gone and polluted rivers flow.
No animals are left and the air really smells.
In this decimated landscape, only one person dwells.
His name is Once-Ler, and he lives with his guilt,
because nature was sacrificed for the empire he built.
Once-Ler tells young Ted his story,
about the consequences of his grasp at wealth and glory.
Years ago Once-ler invented the impractical ‘Thneed’.
Something everyone wanted but nobody really needs.
To make his trendy garment he took an ax,
and chopped down trees with gleeful whacks.
He chopped down as many as he pleased.
and thus appeared the Lorax, who speaks for the trees!
The Lorax (Danny DeVito) is the protector of the woods.
He tries to tell Once-ler that destroying nature is no good.
Once-ler won’t listen, no matter how hard the Lorax tries.
Once-Ler builds pollution-making factories, rising into the skies.
Soon there are no more animals, birds, trees or fish.
The Once-Ler comes to regret getting his wish.
With the land in ruin, along come O’Hare,
who becomes the new big-wig with his monopoly of air.
O’Hare doesn’t want there to be any trees at all,
because his empire built on supplying air would crumble and fall.
But Ted gets hold of the very last seed,
and knows that trees are what everyone needs.
O’Hare wants to stop Ted and recover that seed,
because having trees around is the last thing O’Hare needs.
So as far as the story goes, that’s all I will tell,
But that’s the gist of it in a nutshell.
The film strays far from Dr. Seuss’ 1971 children’s book,
but it retains the spirit and distinctive Seuss look.
The moral is heavy-handed, it’s very clear,
that the loss of the trees is something to fear.
There are some good jokes, puns and gags.
For the most part there are no major lags.
The singing fish are the funniest part,
and the movie as a whole retains Dr. Seuss’ heart.
It’s not a work of genius or great art,
But it’s fun and enjoyable for the most part.
Note: Before I begin my second review, let me say that I am a huge fan of the great Hayao Miyazaki; the man who has been called the ‘Disney of Japan’. His Ghibli Studios has replaced Disney as my favorite animation company. I’ve seen all of the films of Miyazaki, the master of anime. I won’t go into a long discourse about the genius of Miyazaki now because I’ve done that already in another hub. If you want to see my tribute to the great one, or if you’re unfamiliar with the work of Miyazaki and want to know more, feel free to check out my hub on the films of the king of Japanese anime.
Hayao Miyazaki: An Animation Legend
- Hayao Miyazaki: An animation legend
This is a look at the brilliant work of Hayao Miyazaki
The Secret World of Arrietty
THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY (3.5 stars out of 5)
You can always recognize a Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki film right away. Not only is their style of animation easily recognizable, but there is a good-hearted grace to the storyline. Even though the great Miyazaki only writes and produces this one but doesn’t direct it, it still has that uniqueness which separates it from any other studio. This film is based on “the Borrowers” childrens books by Mary Norton, which translates effortlessly to modern-day Japan.
As is the norm with a Ghibli/Miyazaki film, the main character is a young but strong-willed female who has to accomplish a difficult task while maturing from childhood to adulthood. What’s wonderful about the heroines in Ghibli films is that, unlike most modern film and TV heroines, they don’t save the day with fists or guns. They use brains, compassion, courage and love to empower them. Many young male fans today may get a fetishistic thrill seeing modern interpretations of Snow White or Alice in Wonderland charging into battle, sword in hand, but the female heroes in the Ghibli oeuvre manage to be strong role models without pressing the trigger or making a fist.
The story begins when a sickly young boy--named Shawn in the American dub (voiced by David Henrie)--with congenital heart trouble is sent away by his parents who are too busy with their careers to care for him. Shawn is sent to live in the country home of his grandmother to convalesce before a risky heart operation. While there he discovers the Borrowers.
Arrietty (Bridget Mendler in the US version) is the four-inch-tall daughter in a family of ‘Borrowers’ who live under the floorboards of the old home. They come out at night and purloin whatever they require to survive, but they only take what they need and no more. Rumors of “the little people” have persisted for generations and the family servant Hara (Voiced by Carol Burnett in the US dub) has long been obsessed with catching one.
When Arrietty is accidently discovered by Shawn, he just wants to help her and be her friend because he’s afraid he’s going to die soon and would like to do something that matters and be her hero while he still can. Arrietty’s parents are alarmed at the discovery because, in their experience, it has always been a disaster when a Borrower is spotted by a ‘Human Bean’. Arrietty is torn between her curiosity about her new friend and heeding her parents warning. Shawn wants to keep being friends but his actions make Hara suspicious, and she sees a chance to prove that the legends of the little people are real, if only she can trap one. When Arrietty’s mother is caught, it’s up to little Arrietty to surmount all obstacles in her path and rescue her mom, with a little help from Shawn.
The film is gentle and sweet, in the style of My Neighbor Tortoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. The innocent relationship between Arrietty and Shawn is touching. Shawn feels vulnerable because of his fragile health, and Arrietty because of her Thumbellina size. Together, they become stronger than they are individually. It's a nice message about how having a good friend can change your perspective on life and make everything seem just a little better.