Synopsis: The 3D-CGI feature Dr. Seussâ The Lorax is an adaptation of Dr. Seussâ classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a boy as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.
Danny DeVito will lend his vocal talents to the iconic title character of the Lorax, while Ed Helms will voice the enigmatic Once-ler. Also bringing their talents to the film are global superstars Zac Efron as Ted, the idealistic young boy who searches for the Lorax, and Taylor Swift as Ashley, the girl of Tedâs dreams. Rob Riggle will play financial king OâHare, and beloved actress Betty White will portray Tedâs wise Grammy Norma.
Release Date: March 2, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Animation, Children and Family
The world of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (The Lorax) is saturated in manufactured color. No longer do beautiful trees, flowers, and all things natural exist; Thneedville is a city dependent on batteries and electricity. Houses are landscaped with blow-up bushes, that give their owners a bit of trouble when they deflate, or pop. The air in the city is heavily polluted, and what once would have been a person reaching for a can of Coke to quench their thirst they now reach for a can of fresh air, thanks to the manufacturing company owned by Aloysius OâHare (Rob Riggle)–the same company whose factories pollute the air. The majority of the people in Thneedville do not remember what it was like to live in a world where real trees grew, and they did not have the option of a disco party when turned on; an invention that is the latest in tree technology. When a girl, Audrey (Taylor Swift), paints pictures of the beautiful and extinct Truffula trees on her house’s exterior walls the very enamored Ted Wiggins (Zac Efron) decides he must find a Truffula tree in order to win the heart of Audrey. The motivation behind changing the world of Thneedville with the help of one boy comes down to the simplest property–to win the heart of a girl.
The Lorax takes root in the desire for Ted to impress Audrey by finding a Truffula tree. What the film ends up being is a plea for nature, a lesson in appreciation, and most of all a very pro-green thinking film awash in magnificent color, and the occasional musical interlude. Ted’s journey finds him leaving Thneedville in search of the Once-ler (Ed Helms), after his Grammy Norma (Betty White) tells him how only the Once-ler can help him find the long-lost Truffula tree. Ted and the Once-ler forge an odd friendship, as the Once-ler is held up in the wasteland that used to be the beautiful Truffula Valley and does not leave his shackled home. As the Once-ler tells the tale of what was once Truffula Valley, and how it came to be a place more likely seen in a post-apocalyptic movie similar to Mad Max or the more recent Priest the viewer is introduced to the “star” of the movie, The Lorax himself (Danny DeVito). The Once-ler’s story takes you back years, and it is through his story that we learn of the complete devastation of the Truffula trees by man. This man being the Once-ler himself, out of his selfish dreams to mass-produce Thneeds–an invention with multiple uses. The Lorax is a type of supernatural being, in the form of a furry creature, who is the guardian of the forest and speaks for the trees. The main conflict of the film arises here, between The Lorax and the Once-ler, as they fight over the protection of Truffula Forest; man vs. nature at its best. There is also the story of Ted and how with knowledge there can be progress. Ted learns to respect what once was, and to believe in rectifying past mistakes made by man in order to bring about a new future. It is through him that the Once-ler can find redemption for his acts; and in turn get the girl of his dreams, Audrey.
What is wrong then with The Lorax that makes it a less than stellar film? The story does manage to hold the attention of a viewer, but the story is also very one-sided and too pushy to appeal to a viewer completely. The pro-green theme is important, and welcome in a children’s geared film, but The Lorax excels in the political, not the allegorical to emphasize this theme. The cute animals that frolic in Truffula Forest are adorable, and great for laughs, but the main character of the Once-ler is a tad obnoxious, as are his trailer-living family. The constant push-pull of the war between The Lorax and the Once-ler becomes repetitive, and the obviousness of the course of action that will occur in the story leaves it unoriginal in a variety of ways. The creativity is there with the animation’s production design, and the crucial themes for a children’s film are impossible to miss, but altogether The Lorax is missing a spark of ingenuity and in desperate need of subtlety on its views toward capitalistic principles.
The opening musical number for The Lorax is choreographed to perfection. Swiftly moving through the town of Thneedville, showcasing the glorious color of the manufactured homes, plants, and well, everything. The people dance around in joy, proclaiming just how much they love their home. It is a great way to start the film, and definitely gets the excitement levels up for children and adults alike as to what will come next. Unfortunately what comes next is not very good, nor does it exactly make sense. There are not many musical numbers in The Lorax and when the second one happens, after the initial opening sequence, it comes as quite a shock. It is common for animated films to have musical numbers, but there is something about The Lorax that makes it not feel appropriate. Perhaps it is the fact that the Once-ler does not perform the song very well, or that the music he plays on his guitar is dreadful. The song “Everyone Needs A Thneed,” is catchy, in the way you don’t want to catch something. The other random songs that happen have no staying power, and occur at times in the story where they feel inappropriate, like “How Bad Can I Be?” There is one song that is sure to stick with you, “Let It Grow.” Only because of the anti-grow proclamation by Aloysius OâHare to “Let It Die!” If you don’t laugh at this moment in the film you must be asleep because it is beyond hilarious–and the children afterwards were happily repeating it all the way into the parking garage.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Chris Renaud
- Producer(s): Ken DaurioCinco Paul
- Screenwriter(s): Zac Efron (voice of Ted)Taylor Swift (voice of Audrey)Betty White (voice of Norma)
- Story: Ed Helms (voice of Once-ler)
- Cast: Danny DeVito (voice of The Lorax)Rob Riggle (voice of O’Hare)Jenny Slate (voice of Ted’s Mom) Claire DodgsonSteven LiuKen Schretzmann
- Editor(s): Yarrow Cheney
- Cinematographer: John Powell
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA