“Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is the latest of Theodore Geisel’s classic children’s books to hit the big screen.
“The Lorax” is a tale of environmentalism and anti-consumerism and one of Dr. Seuss’ most popular works. The movie is based off the original book, but adds in extra characters and plot lines.
The movie follows a young boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) who travels to see the Once-ler (Ed Helms) to ask him where he can find a real tree. The Once-ler tells the boy about his past travels to the land of Truffula trees, where he began cutting them down to make “Thneeds.”
The Lorax (Danny DeVito) appears from a tree stump, as he speaks for the trees, and warns the Once-ler of the dangers of cutting down all the Trufullas. The Once-ler disregards the warning and proceeds to greedily cut down trees until the very last Truffula is chopped down and all the wildlife are forced to depart the now smog-filled area.
Danny DeVito made for a better-than-anticipated Lorax. DeVito has the stern voice needed to be the environmental protector of the trees, but also injects some humor into the character to keep kids laughing. Ed Helms is a curious choice for the grumpy secluded Once-ler, but he pulls the part off well with his charisma.
The best character in the movie that wasn’t in the book would be Grammy Norma (Betty White). White displays her wit through the character and provides a lot of laughs and comic relief.
The movie is in a futuristic setting, and there are significant other changes from the book. The flaws of the movie directly derive from the challenge of extending a short children’s book into a feature length blockbuster movie.
In order to lengthen the story, there were additional characters, such as Mr. O’Hare (Rob Riggle). This character was created solely to bring a modern plotline in to play. Mr. O’Hare is a greedy corporate boss who makes a living by selling canned air to the city of Thneedville, since all the trees have already been chopped down.
The story of Ted was also modernized, as he’s seen gallivanting around on a futuristic uni-ball scooter.
Some plot sequences differed significantly from the book “The Lorax.” Hollywood is always a sucker for a love story and they couldn’t resist adding Aubrey (Taylor Swift) as Ted’s love interest and motivation for finding a Truffula tree. This plot line will agitate die-hard fans as it strays very far away from the book.
This is what plagued other Seuss adaptations like “The Cat in the Hat” with Mike Myers. There are also several musical numbers in the film that feel like plain filler.
The movie manages to stick to the themes of anti-consumerism and environmentalism pretty well throughout, despite the additions. There is even a subtle jab at capitalism as a “Too Big to Fail” sign can be seen on the Once-ler’s wall.
One of the best aspects of the movie is how the pages of Geisel’s book are brought to life. The colors are bright and vibrant and the movie looks just like the drawings in the original book. The Truffula trees look exceptionally beautiful swaying in the wind with their cotton candy leaves.
Seuss’ original story is so charming and brilliant that even a movie would have a hard time wrecking it. “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is certainly a Hollywood adaptation that features a lot more action than the children’s book. Some of the additions to the story work while others fall flat, but overall, the charm of Seuss is still there.
“Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is a glitzy modernized version of the classic environmentalist tale of saving the trees, a certainly relevant topic as the Save the Stadium Woods campaign continues. With the negative aspects of the movie aside, and judging the movie for what it truly is, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is a charming and entertaining children’s movie with a good message.