Friday, March 16, 2012

Movie Review: The Lorax

Anyone who loves Dr. Seuss will no doubt be tempted to check out the latest big screen Seuss romp: The Lorax. The Lorax is a computer animated song and dance through Seuss' story of the same name, which follows the main character, Ted (played by Zac Efron), through an adventure with an earth-conscious message. Ted's grandmother weaves a tale for him of the once free-growing Truffula tree, which apparently brought happiness and beauty into the world. A young entrepreneur made a fortune from chopping down Truffula Trees, and in the process destroyed the entire eco system. The world Ted inhabits in the present is a sad, concrete and treeless, nature-free environment, where fresh air is sold in bottles. Ted is lonely and longing for love, and despairs of the loss of the fabled Truffula Tree. He embarks on a journey to find a living Truffula Tree, and thus his on-screen adventure is born.

The book. Dr. Suess' The Lorax is known to be his most serious work. It is a moral tale about the need to take care of the earth's resources. Although it is arguably a wonderful read, it is not full of Seuss' typical anarchic slant and light-hearted, whimsical language. As a book with a serious theme, it is written in a serious tone . . . and is not necessarily ripe for adaptation into a children's musical.

The script. Perhaps because of the serious nature of The Lorax (the book), script writers for the screen version strayed so far from Seuss' original lines that there is little indication left that The Lorax ever had Seuss' brilliant hands in it. There are a couple of authentic Seuss lines, spoken at the beginning of the movie by the female (Taylor Swift), which are quickly shot down by Ted: "what is that even supposed to mean?" Frankly, it's an insult to Seuss fans, and anyone who pays to see The Lorax in hopes of soaking in some genuine Seuss will be poorly disappointed.

The music. As previously mentioned, The Lorax is a musical. This could add to the fun of the film, but the musical numbers are awkwardly written and generally forgettable. Therefore, the musical element adds nothing to the movie, and is even distracting at times.
If anything, The Lorax is fun. It's just not too thoughtful. However, children who aren't familiar with Seuss (and/or who aren't biased to the Seuss aesthetic) will enjoy the top-notch animation and inspiring, eco-friendly message. It's worth a watch, if you aren't expecting too much of it.

About the Author: Paul Heckstall loves reading classics with his children and enjoys taking them to see movies made from them - after they've read the books. In his "adult" time he enjoys sipping the oolong tea he orders from http://www.goldenmoontea.com and reading his own favorite books.





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