The Lorax (2012) – film review

The Lorax (2012)
Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Writers: Ken Daurio (screenplay), Dr. Seuss (book)
Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito

On the face of it this is just a simple story of how a 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams, however The Lorax also has an important message hidden away under it’s surface. Dave Jennings, a big fan of the Dr Seuss books, reviews The Lorax for us.

For weeks I’ve been anticipating and dreading this new movie release. Anticipation as it’s one of our family favourite books and we’ve often discussed why there isn’t a movie of it when other Dr Seuss classics like ”ËœThe Cat in the Hat’, ”ËœThe Grinch’ and ”ËœHorton Hears a Who’ were all huge hits. Dread because I worried how the message of the book, the evils of ruthless corporate philosophy, would translate to the big screen and it’s the message of The Lorax that has encouraged me to write this for LTW.

In contrast to other very clever, but essentially light hearted books, The Lorax has a much darker subtext. Published in 1972, before such issues had become quite as widely supported as they are today, it deals with environmental vandalism and the consequent ecological damage caused by ruthless and essentially corrupt business practices. Aimed at children, it is clear Dr Seuss hoped to influence children to work for a better world.

The movie has to adapt the story slightly or it would be a very short experience so The Lorax begins in the town of ”ËœThneedville’, a world of plastic trees and bottled air, with a song and dance routine that had me fearing the worst. This was heightened when we are introduced to ”ËœThe Onceler’ as an actual person, despite this character being kept deliberately hidden in the book.

The plot revolves around young boy Ted (Zac Efron) and his desire to impress the girl of his dreams Audrey (Taylor Swift) by giving her what she desire most ”“ a real tree. His efforts lead him to meet ”ËœThe Onceler’ (Ed Helms) who relates the story of the Lorax (Danny Devito) ”Ëœwho speaks for the trees’. With the ”Ëœbad guy’ O’Hare who makes a fortune from selling bottled air and therefore wants to prevent any trees in ”ËœThneedville’, it seemed like we were going through a tired formula and losing the essence of the book. All this changes with the arrival of ”ËœThe Oncelers’ family who, in a much darker part of the film, encourage him to decimate the environment for vast profit. This is where ”ËœThe Lorax’ really hits the mark and ensures that Dr Seuss’ message comes through loud and clear. The inevitable hair-raising, good-guys v bad guys’ chase near the end, is followed by a ”Ëœlump-in-the throat’ ending which is not in the book but works really well.

If you have ever enjoyed the book, I’d guess you would enjoy the film and kids will certainly enjoy the story and different characters. Remember, ”Ëœunless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better it’s not’.

All words Dave Jennings. More articles by Dave can be read here.

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