119 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Based upon the book by Dr. Seuss (whose name is officially part of the title), THE LORAX has been contemporized a bit making it accessible to not only super-environmental-types, but to those who were raised upon conservation and not environmentalism. In THE LORAX, Ted (Zac Efron) is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in the plasticized, walled city of Thneedville. Ted is in love with a teenage girl named Audrey (Taylor Swift). Audrey doesn't quite fit in Thneedville and paints the back of her house full of colorful trees which no longer exist. She longs to see a real tree and Ted becomes determined to find one for her. During dinner one night, Ted's Grammy Norma (Betty White) tells Ted that in order to find out what happened to the trees and if there's another one to be found, he needs to speak with the Once-ler (Ed Helms) who lives outside the city walls. Ted has never been outside the city, but sets out on a mission to meet the Once-ler and find a tree. He succeeds in finding the creature on the edge of town and the Once-ler tells Ted his story of how he started life off as an industrious, young man with a heart who just wanted to be a success, how he found a valley of paradise, and how he met The Lorax (Danny Devito). Before the story is through, the Once-ler's tale will merge with Ted's and perhaps revive the valley again.
Visually, THE LORAX is stunning. Both the natural beauty of the paradise valley and the plastic artificiality of Thneedville are full of bright and beautiful colors. These are contrasted by the present day greys of the world outside of Thneedville, the world that the Once-ler created.
The story stays fairly close to Dr. Seuss' original tale. However, there are a few differences. The Once-ler isn't a creature that's only seen by his hands, but instead has been transformed into a thin and tall man. When we first see the young Once-ler, there are distinct feelings of sympathy for him and empathy with his plight. It's hard to believe this industrious man will be responsible for cutting down all the Truffula Trees, but the temptations of family and fortune are strong. There are a couple of scenes in the forest that are added to pad the story. Also, instead of leaving at different times, the animals of the forest leave together in a mass exodus. Personally, I thought this element weakened the story.
Like the book, there is a strong conservationist message to THE LORAX, but I didn't see any anti-capitalistic undertones. The Once-ler is "punished" not because he was industrious and wanted to earn a living, but because he gave in to greed and destroyed the very thing that was allowing him to earn a living. Mr. O'Hare, the Mayor of Thneedville isn't a villain because he's a businessman, but because he's manufactured his fortune based upon a lie and even when confronted with the truth, he refuses to concede.
There's a lot of music in THE LORAX that comes in a variety of styles, folk, rock-a-billy, and some Broadway-type showtunes. Personally, I liked the smaller numbers which are mostly sung by the Once-ler (Ed Helms).
THE LORAX has broad appeal. It's a film that kids will enjoy for the characters and bright scenery, while many adults will enjoy for some of the subtle bits of humor. The mass consumerism message isn't as blatant as in WALL-E, but it's still there. Overall, it's a movie that The Lorax himself would probably enjoy watching.
54 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2012
In the age of Hollywood's seeming endless films aimed against greed, consumerism, and environmental destruction, "The Lorax" is not to be outdone. Unlike the other films with hidden messages, this one is very direct. The voice of Danny Devito and Betty White made the film very special as you can see them in those roles. The film incorporates some of the original Dr. Seuss poetry to convey the message, but doesn't bog down the film with it as to lose the target audience who may not enjoy it as much as we did when we read the original first edition hard covers in the third grade.
The story is about the Once-ler (what's in a name? Ed Helms) who cuts down all the trees and at times looking like Elton John playing the Pinball Wizard. He did this to make the Thneed (a versatile Huggie) that no one wanted until a pretty girl wore one. Ted Wiggins (Zac Efron) wants to obtain a tree because the pretty redhead Audry (Taylor Swift) wants one. Sort of like Brad Pitt suddenly caring about hungry third world kids. There are musical numbers and numerous messages about consumer marketing, greed, bottled water, and the environment. SNL's Nasim Pedrad did the voice of the Once-ler's mom, reminding me of the grandmother in the old Carol Burnett series.
Perhaps the best message of the film is that individuals can make a difference. As an adult I enjoyed the film.
56 of 76 people found the following review helpful
There's a lot going for this Lorax movie. The effects beautifully mimic Dr. Suess' artwork. The voice acting really captures the Lorax. The changes to the plot generally fit the spirit of the original story - with a major exception I'll discuss later. In all, there's a lot going for the Lorax and casual viewers should enjoy it.
However, for fans of Dr. Suess' original book, the end result comes across as overly Hollywoodized. The movie imposes a meta-narrative on the original plot in which we learn more about the boy who seeks the Onceler's advice. Much of the meta-narrative works, although I think it does trivialize the environmental message. The boy now goes to seek the Onceler's advice because a girl he has a crush on wants to know more about trees. Even worse, the film has a typical happy ending, which again trivializes the book's environmentalist theme. The book's ambiguous ending leaves the reader concerned about the fate of the environment, whereas the movie allows viewers to forget about the trees once they leave the theater.
With so much going for this movie, it's a shame Hollywood chose the easy way out. This movie could have worked really well if it had ended the same way as in the book. In fact, I'd recommend watching it and pausing it right after the scene when the boy passes by the "UNLESS" stone marker.
40 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
I loved reading this book to my daughter. I loved its message of nature's beauty, bounty, and importance, along with each individual's responsibility to do their part to maintain it. The movie, on the other hand was filled with frenetic noise, pointless activity, an emphasis on evil bad-guys instead of personal responsibility for lack of long-range planning. I would not recommend this movie to anyone. I wish I could apologize personally to Dr. Seuss for watching this degrading version of his wonderful book.
40 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2012
My opinion of The Lorax stayed in flux as I watched the movie unravel. Sometimes I cringed at how heavy-handed they were with Dr. Seuss' simple message, sometimes I was just dismayed by the overabundance of nasty characters they invented and imposed upon his story. Too many times I wondered where Dr. Seuss was in this messy adaptation of his book. He seemed to be missing. The reason for this became clear in the bonus feature. Apparently, the filmmakers felt it necessary to attach things not Seuss to the story because it was somehow deficient as it was; requiring their extensions. One of them even had the gall to call it a homage. But tampering is tampering; clearly they were dissatisfied with most things in the book, especially the notion of having to adapt Seuss' two-dimensional drawings into......two-dimensional drawings in motion. A lot of work was required to "make them come alive." Again, a slur against Dr. Seuss' work. If they didn't like the book, why bring it to the screen? Why add dopey songs that were less than memorable and subvert the plot? Why ignore the language, what makes Seuss' work so distinctive? There was a reason Dr. Seuss kept his book somber from page one to the end. His point was concise, not easily forgotten. But they had to turn everything into a carnival atmosphere complete with slapstick, a romance, a city, and another villain that wasn't even required. When you overhaul someone else's work to this degree you're not honoring their work, you're desecrating it.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
Don't let the hypocritical advertizing campaign turn you off of this new Dr. Seuss adaptation. Although the film, inevitably includes a lot of padding to make a 72 page book into a 90 minute feature but the movie retains the message of the original book. The movie has some pretty catchy songs and their aren't too many slapstick jokes and attempts to be "hip".
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2012
I think this a terrible interpretation of the Lorax. I love reading the book to my son and he has the old video too. Loved the original when I was a kid and now he does too. He is 5 and really didn't like this film. Too silly and the songs are dumb.
It should be called The Lorax goes Hollywood!
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2012
I loved The Lorax as a kid. i loved the book, and I loved the cartoon that would come as an evening special on network tv. I was extremely excited when I saw it would be made into a full length film, and couldn't wait to see it. I would have watched it in the theatre, but I couldn't swing the funds at that time, and when I could I had other things I needed to do.
So when it came available to rent online, i did it. I was pretty disappointed. Not so much for the story, or anything that was great, and that is why it got two stars. The songs ruined the whole movie. It would be one thing to have intelligent, humourous lyrics to add to the film. That would have been ok. However, the songs were inane, idiotic and did not add anything to the film. In fact they were very irritating, and as I stated before ruined the whole thing. If you want to watch it, that is your choice...however I will not be purchasing this film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
Having seen the earlier version of the Lorax, the new one pales in comparison. The original Lorax had some of the best artwork and color palette of any animated film to date. The film was aesthetically pleasing to the core.
The new version is formulaic. The artwork is actually pretty good, but the story and pacing are uninspired and uninteresting. There is also a very serious, realistic tone to the new film (i.e. character mannerisms, music, etc) that ruin it. The old version had an almost "magical" look and feel to it.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
Adapting the timeless works of Dr. Seuss into feature films has proven to be a lucrative, if not always creatively successful venture. The problem has always been in finding a style that can adequately capture the author's unique style. Live-action movies like How the Grinch Stole Christmas were hamstrung by leaving the animated format, and The Cat in the Hat suffered a similar fate made worse by Mike Meyers' inability to be funny. A CGI version of Horton Hears a Who! better interpreted Seuss' daffy visual style, and that model is employed yet again with equal vibrancy in The Lorax, a film that shows the author's cautionary tale is as vital today as ever.
Dr. Seuss(real name Theodor Geisel), who never went into one of his many classic children's books with a moral in mind, nevertheless expressed many of his views on the world through his stories, with The Lorax perhaps being the most overt. Essentially a cautionary tale about the dangers of over industrialization on the natural environment, the rather simple story has been given some extra padding by the folks at Illumination, bringing some of the same zany humor from their hit, Despicable Me(including a couple of nods to the film). Taking corporate greed and ecological neglect to an apocalyptic nth degree, the story takes place in Thneedville, a city completely made up of plastic and not an ounce of nature in sight. A chirpy little song in the beginning tells us that the people of Thneedville like it this way, with their plastic trees and bottled air(a clear shot at those who pay for packaged water). 12-year old Ted(Zac Efron) exists in this bright but bland composite town, zipping past his blissfully unaware neighbors on his motor scooter. He's infatuated with his neighbor, Audrey(Taylor Swift), and when she expresses the desire to see an actual living tree, Ted makes it his life's mission to make sure it happens. Heck, he might even get a kiss out of the deal. With the help of his mischievous grandma(Betty White), Ted learns of a mysterious recluse outside of town known as the Once-Ler(Ed Helms), who may know where the last trees can be found.
Braving the smog filled world outside of Thneedville, and drawing the suspicion of the town's benefactor(Rob Riggle), Ted discovers the Once-Ler is a man burdened by years of guilt. The architect of Thneedville's creation and destroyer of the once plentiful Trifula trees, the Once-Ler was once just a man with a dream to strike it rich. Discovering that his silken invention could only thrive by chopping down all the trees, he runs afoul of the Lorax(Danny Devito), a little orange blob of a creature who serves as the spiritual protector of the forests. If Ted wants the last Trifula seed, he'll have to listen to the Once-Ler's story of how he let corporate greed blind him to the destruction being done to the world around him.
The Lorax has come under scrutiny lately from some who feel it's "indoctrinating" children to despise big business by painting them all as evil. Those dirty industrialists! The story is actually a redemptive one for all involved, not just the Once-Ler but for Ted also. Ted's mission starts off as completely selfish, he could care less about the environment or making the world a better place. He just wants to impress the hot girl in town. Through the Once-Ler's story, he learns to appreciate nature in all it's forms and the benefits it provides that plastic and steel simply can't replicate. Those complaining about The Lorax's lessons either don't know the book has been around for some forty years, or have never seen the film. Probably both. Those same people, who always seem to make more noise equivalent to how wrong they are, fail to realize that The Lorax isn't all that different from most children's stories. Then again, these are also the same folks who think suggesting healthier meals for kids is akin to turning the country into a police state. It's all just nonsensical political pandering. The Lorax, who is friends with the Once-Ler early on, doesn't have a problem with industry. He gets angry when it destroys everything else just for some short term profit. Surely, somebody like Lou Dobbs can see the difference, right? Eh, probably not. He's not paid to understand nuance.
Directed by Chris Renaud, The Lorax is bold and dynamic visually, although the 3D adds little real value. Calling this simply a film for kids seems inadequate, because the message truly is universal and one that all people need to hear. It's about taking personal responsibility for the welfare of this planet. How something like that can be considered a hot button issue nowadays is absurd, but The Lorax gets its point across in the most fun way possible, just like Dr. Seuss would have wanted.