Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What about The Lorax

“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not”
-The Once-ler

I had the pleasure of going to see my favorite Dr. Seuss book The Lorax come to life. As a kid in elementary school we used to have Dr. Seuss days on Dr. Seuss’s birthday because it is a big thing in Massachusetts since he comes from our state. But on this day we used to go back to school at night, wearing our pajama’s and brought pillows and blackest with us so we could sit around and enjoy people reading many of Dr. Seuss’s books and the worlds that he had created. The book I looked forward to every year was The Lorax because I loved the story and the pictures that occupancies the book. The book was filled with bright colored, whimsical trees that caught my attention every time because I wished they were real.

Other than my love for the book, it has a great message that can last for many generations. The message that the book, movie, and the characters are trying to tell its readers and viewers is that you need to appreciate nature and our environment and take care of it because once it’s gone it’s gone forever. The quote that I wrote in the beginning basically sums up the whole message of the film because we need to learn from our past mistakes and take better care of our world.
This next part is an overview of the plot of the book and movie. The Once-ler, who is voiced by Ed Helms recently famous for The Hangover movies, in the beginning of the film tells Ted (Zac Efron) about his story and about trees. The Once-ler is a young entrepreneur that is setting out to find a material he can use to make his Thneeds. After traveling through many different areas n Dr. Seuss’s created world, he comes upon a valley full of Truffula trees and he decides this is what he is going to use to make his Thneeds. So with a couple of swift whacks with his ax, the first Truffula tree comes falling down and this is where we first meet the Lorax (Danny DeVito). The Lorax does not like that the Once-ler ahs cut down the tree and states that “he speaks for the trees” and tells the Once-ler that there will be consequences for him and everyone, humans and animals, if he continues to cut down the trees. The Once-ler disobeys the Lorax and his many warnings and cuts down all of the Truffula trees. While the trees are being cut down, the bears, fish, birds, and other animals move away because they no longer have a place to live anymore. The air is disgusting due to the Once-ler creating an over the top factory that produces his Thneeds in masses but in turn pollutes the water and air.

Ted (Zac Efron) listens to the Once-ler’s story and is determined to plant the very last truffula seed in the center of Thneedville which is completely plastic and fake town. At first Ted plans to plant the tree in order to win the love of the girl across the street, Audrey (Taylor Swift). Why plant a tree for a girl you may ask, well Audrey wants to see a tree because she is so amazed by them and she draws them all over the backside of her house. But once Ted hears the Once-lers story and he is being pressured by Mr. O’Hare to not leave the city limits and to get rid of the Truffula seed, he decides that he needs to plant the tree in the center of town and he does. When the tree is planted the Lorax and all the animals return and join the Once-ler outside in the real world again.

So since I gave the brief synopsis of The Lorax, I guess I’ll talk about what I thought about the film itself. The graphic animation in the film I thought was really good. My favorite animations were the Truffula trees, bears, and the Once-ler. The Truffula trees looked exactly like they did in the book which I thought was a big deal to get right and I didn’t want them to change them. One thing with the trees that really impressed me was the life like movement that the trees exhibited. They moved with the wind and when the Once-ler was cutting them down the trees “fur” moved every which way like they were actually being cut down. The little brown bears were probably my favorite characters in the film because they were loveable and cute characters that the animators created. These bears were wide-eyed, marshmallow loving, trouble making bears. The bears, but mostly the largest and tiniest bear, were extremely expressive showing emotions of horror, happiness, confusion, and sadness. The bears made me feel the same emotions that they were through their expressions. When the bears are forced to leave because of their environment being destroyed they are walking head down and just trudging along. The Once-ler called out for the tiniest bear that turns to the Once-ler with his tear glossed eyes and shakes his head and turns back to his head facing toward the ground. Finally the Once-ler was one of my favorite animations of a person because of the details put into him, even though he is seen through the two slats of the boarded up window. His eyes, hands, and what you think is possibly hair move with every movement that he tells.

When I saw the film, I saw it in 3D which was a special treat and when I say special I mean that most of the movie did not benefit from it being in 3D. There were only a couple of actions scenes that benefitted from the 3D animation. What attracted me to the film, other than it being my favorite Dr. Seuss book, was the stars that voiced the characters. Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Betty White, and Rob Riggle all lend their voice that helped in the creation of the characters. There was one person I was really excited about being in the film and no it wasn’t Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, or Danny DeVito, it was Betty White. Betty White, now at the age of 90, has not lost her sense of human and I love that. She adds her quirkiness to Grammy Norma as the strange but caring person that is trying to help Ted learn about trees.
So now I’ve given the synopsis and given my positive critics, so here are the negatives about the film. Going into the film I expected it to be a little silly because of it being a Dr. Seuss book, but I did not expect it to have musical numbers in it. The songs were annoyingly catchy for the most part with some songs just being annoying. I think John Powell and Cinco Paul, who wrote the songs, attempted to create music that would help benefit the story lines, but in my opinion did not at all. The most annoying song was “Everybody Needs a Thneed”, which is sung by the Once-ler in an attempt to sell his Thneeds. The repeatative lyrics and unnecessary lead guitar screeching throughout the song made me want the song to end right away, which it did not. Other than the music choice, the only other part of the film that I did not like was the character of Mr. O’Hare. I found him really annoying and I wanted him to not be in the film at all. But I guess the director achieved what he wanted to because Mr. O’Hare was after the bad guy in the film that wanted to keep Thneedville a plastic, fake society that depended on the fresh air that he sold.

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, I speak for the trees, for the tress have no tongues”
-The Lorax

Would I say The Lorax is my favorite Dr. Seuss book to film adaptation, no, but it is not the worst. My favorite of all time is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and then Horton Hears a Who, but The Lorax is by far standards better than The Cat in the Hat featuring Mike Myers. Even with its couple of flaws the entertainment factor of the film is great and it is an enjoyable and interesting film for people to see and also to think about. Would I see The Lorax in theaters again, no but I will probably end up buying it when it comes out on DVD.


  1. I don’t have the link on hand, but shortly after The Lorax came out there were a few articles about how its success meant future Dr. Seuss films by Universal Pictures would be made strictly in 3-d animation instead of attempting live-action interpretations again. I was immensely thankful to hear that news since I hated the live action The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat. It might have something to do with the way they take a nice simple story and fill it up with the world’s stupidest plots to add time.

    Since I have a fondness for the cartoon version of Dr. Seuss books that everyone had to watch in elementary school, I refused to see The Lorax, lest it should ruin the original cartoon in my mind like The Grinch did. But when seeing the trailers for it I was very impressed. I hadn’t expected them to try and keep to the illustrations in the book so accurately. I had assume being a 3-d production they might allow themselves some liberties and draw things in either a more current style. Looking back on it, would have been a terrible decision since Dr. Seuss’s stories are synonymous with his drawing style. This is why the article I had read made me so happy, that the company at least understood the importance of keeping with Dr. Seuss’s style and close in medium [illustrations to cartoons, not illustrations to live] even while butchering his plots.

    I now you’ve had the misfortune to listen to me repeatedly say how much I hate Pixar and Disney in our radio class, but you posted one of the trailers for Brave and I can’t help but comment on it. I’m actually really curious to see it because as much as I hate Pixar I will watch everything they make. Lately though, the presentation of it has kind of been annoying me. It seems to be trying for the whole ‘yay women empowerment’ which hasn’t been something Disney has been able to churn out since Mulan and Atlantis let’s be real. Also when you think Disney you definitely don’t think of women who can take care of themselves. But I just saw another trailer where it’s looking a little less ‘yay heroine taking control of her life’ and more ‘nobody here obeys old social norms isn’t it cute and quirky, please pay less attention to the girl not fitting in.’


  2. You're probably never going to check this again but I found the link I mentioned about making more Dr. Seuss films in animation only instead of attempting live-action again http://www.animationmagazine.net/features/illumination-eyes-more-seuss-with-cg-cat-in-the-hat/