118 of 138 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.
14 of 19 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.
39 of 55 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 27, 2012
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." Ted (Efron) is just like any boy. Rides around on his bike trying to impress the love of his life Audrey (Swift). Her dream is to see a real live tree. The city they live in is made of plastic and air is sold in bottles. When Ted's grandma (White) tells him of a man called the Once-ler (Helms) he risks everything to go and talk to him. I have to admit the only reason I really watched this is because my daughter wanted to see it. I am actually glad she forced me to go because I really enjoyed it. There is enough adult stuff mixed in to make it enjoyable for everyone and not just kids. Danny DeVito being cast as the Lorax is genius and actually makes it funnier. I expected this to be a total "Save the world from humans" type movie but while the message was there it didn't seem preachy and was more funny then anything. If you are looking for a good family movie this is one of the best ones to come out in a while. Overall, much, much better then I expected and one of the best family movies in the last few years. I give it an A, my daughter gives in an A+.
20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
Being a fan of Dr. Seuss, I was looking forward to watching this animated film. It was a huge disappointment. I contrast this experience with re-watching a Charlie Brown Christmas, which was made in 1965. Although some of the animation was interesting, they went way overboard trying to make this movie into a in-you-face, fast action film. Maybe this is the current status of animation? Anyway, as a result, the filmakers of The Lorax completely lost the subtlety in Dr. Seuss's message. While I understand they need to stretch a short book that you can read in minutes into a feature length film, they probably shouldn't have tried. In my opinion, they just killed the entire book.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
After numerous attempts at live-action films, have animators finally found their groove when depicting a tale by the late, legendary Dr. Seuss? Or are the majority of professional reviewers correct in their belief that the subject matter is not expansive enough for a full-length feature?
Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) is a twelve year-old boy in the perfectly plastic metropolis of Thneedville. Everything in Thneedville is artificial and air itself is only available to those who pay for it. Ted (Efron), more than anything, wants to impress Audrey. Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift) wants to see a real tree, but all the ones in Thneedville are electric and powered by batteries. Some even come equipped with a disco function utilizing music and mirrored balls. Ted asks his family where he might find a tree and his grandmother (voiced by Betty White) says that if he wants to know about trees he'll have to venture outside of town and ask the Once-ler. The Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms) is a hermit who never leaves his house and refuses to even speak to visitors until his very specific, very peculiar demands are met. Once they are, he begins to recount the epic tale of his arrival in the forest and eventual introduction to its protector and advocate The Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito).
In such politically-charged times, there'll no doubt be critics who decry this film as preachy or anti-business. Perhaps if I held beliefs similar to said critics, I might agree. As I don't hold such beliefs, what I saw was highly entertaining and even hilarious. I'm no fan of Zac Efron or Taylor Swift, but they were up to the task and while Danny DeVito might not have been the best choice, in my opinion, he managed. If you have young children, this film is a must-see that you might actually enjoy and if you don't have children, who knows? You might just enjoy it anyway. I did.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2012
After seeing mixed reviews on Rotten Tomates my expectations for this movie were low. However, by the end of the movie my opinion was pretty high. I give it only 4 stars because I thought it dragged in spots in the first half.
There is extra material added to the book, which is more or less necessary to make this into a full-length movie. I thought the added content kept the spirit of the book and made for a more interesting movie.
Where this movie shines is in conveying the messages of the book. Dr. Seuss's book is not subtle. This movie is not subtle either. I was a little shocked at how heavy-handed it was, particularly in the song "How Bad Could it Be." I'm sure it will offend people. But by being in your face, this movie is keeping the spirit of the book.
I'm glad for this movie. It does gets the message out even more effectively to kids than the book, in my opinion.
Are all corporations evil and greedy? Of course not. But whether they are conscious of it or not, their actions often have very adverse effects. People like to ignore this and tell themselves it's not that bad. How bad could it be?
One of the easiest ways to make a lot of money is to convert life and health into money. Think about it. Have you ever heard of any companies selling products that were harmful or unhealthy? How about dumping toxic manufacturing byproducts into the land, water and air that we all depend on? How about mistreating employees or demanding too much "life" from them? If you have worked very long in corporate America some of these things will likely ring a bell.
The answer to the movie's song "How Bad Could it Be" is that it could be very bad. We really are making our planet uninhabitable in the long run. We have to change how we do things.
I enjoyed the hopeful, upbeat ending to this movie. I hope the reality of our future is as upbeat. Trends are not promising, I'm sorry to say.