Lorax, The

Release date: March 2, 2012
Director: Chris Renaud
Original Book: Dr. Seuss
Screenplay: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Cast: Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Betty White

The Lorax‘s story line is fairly simple. A very unlikely hero, living in a city completely made of plastic, arises to save the day. It starts with 12-year-old Ted (Efron), who merely wishes to impress Audrey (Swift), his ideal girl, by finding a real Truffula tree.

Following his grandmother’s advice Ted ventures into the outskirts of the walled city of Thneed Ville to find the Once-Ler (Helms), the only one alive who could tell him about the trees. His involvement in finding these trees brings him to nasty encounters with Mr. O’Hare (Riggle), owner of O’Hare Air. Our villain opposes the idea of trees in Thneed Ville since his whole empire is based upon the absence of fresh air. With trees to produce oxygen for free who would pay for his fabricated fresh air?

Going back and forth between the present events and the tragic story of the Once-Ler, we learn the fate of the trees and we meet The Lorax (DeVito). Although the furry little guardian of the forest is the title character, he seems to play more of a supporting role. I would compare him to a Jiminy Cricket. He comes to personalize the collective conscience.

At its simplest, the movie is very colorful, vibrant and, above all, very comical. It will manage to get some laughs out of you. And if you’re a softie for all things nature, even a few tears in certain scenes. I fell in love with the Once-Ler’s musical numbers, especially ‘How Bad Can I Be’. It was quite chilling.  I also enjoyed Thneed Ville’s final musical number ‘Let it Grow’. That one managed to get me all teary eyed. The musical talent was well chosen, which in itself adds to the good sense of humor of the movie.

All beautiful design, vibrant colors and musical sequences aside, though, the movie feels like propaganda. It’s the ultimate battle between nature preservation and unreserved capitalism. There’s a whole scene dedicated to mocking the present consumerist culture instilled in everything that is North American. That was about 10 minutes of the movie in which two, obviously money hungry, businessmen try convincing Mr. O’Hare to sell bottled fresh air because, according to their studies, people like buying things in bottles.

Unfortunately or fortunately, take it as you will, this has become a repetitive concept in commercial cinema. With this movie, I am reminded of other hits such as Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E and James Cameron’s Avatar, both of which are heavily based on the ‘green’ propaganda. But… aren’t big companies such as Disney and Universal Studios contributors to this mass scale consumerist culture? Just some food for thought.

Rating: ★★¾☆☆ 

ROXY

A Caribbean Islander who wants to fly. Criminal Justice graduate with a lot to say about social injustice. An eternal scholar. I want to know everything. I blame Disney for making me a total dreamer. My head is mostly in the clouds and I have background music in real life.

9 Responses

  1. Rodrigo says:

    Ed Helms can sing well, based from the few things I’ve heard him. Maybe one day he should try and do a CD on his own?

    Your review makes me a little less skeptical of seeing this film. But I’m gonna give this a shot when I can.

    • ROXY says:

      @Rodrigo, All in all it’s an entertaining movie. I’m not against planting or saving trees either. I’m all for it. It’s just terrible when it becomes a ‘hype’ or an ‘it’ thing. Good examples are Avatar, Twilight and Justin Bieber *feels like a hipster* It’s not them, it’s the fan club!

      • Rodrigo says:

        @ROXY, My skepticism was 50% the message, 50% the possibility of it being a shitty film.

        I wouldn’t lump Avatar in the same category as the other two, mainly because I still think Cameron is a impressive director. The overhype for the Avatar film is another story.

    • ROXY says:

      @Rodrigo, Oh and Helms is definitely a good singer. He gave his character good depth of personality through his singing. There’s also a lot of good artists that were cast to sing in the Thneed Ville crowd numbers. I’m suspecting they’re musical actors but I’d have to investigate more on that.

  2. i love your defense of this film. i really wanna see it myself.

  3. Camiele says:

    I can see where you’re coming from, propaganda is pretty much rampant in most films nowadays. However, truth be told, most films are propaganda… created to give project a certain mindset or propel a particular view on something. It’s just the type of propaganda that we either gel with or not.

    As far as the film’s concerned, I will pretty much see ANYTHING Dr. Seuss related — who, by the way, was one of the biggest proponents of propaganda. It’s all part in parcel with anyone who creates anything for public consumption, especially anything in the media (i.e. books, film, music, etc.)

  4. amy says:

    Hey, guys~~~

    reporting from Taiwan l、;P I was bombarded with The Lorax ads while staying those few hours in LA – ok, I did end up at Universal Studios, so that’s probably it too…

    Not a very big fan of Dr. Seuss stuff but… I generally enjoy The Grinch hahahaha, the Jim Carrey version – even though everyone hates it.

  5. Dan says:

    I think I’ve read a few too many negative reviews about this film to really want to see it. It doesn’t really appeal and looks less geared to the adults taking their children than the children themselves (something Pixar has mastered).

  1. August 17, 2013

    […] sitting in the movie theater waiting for The Lorax to begin, and wondering if my pretzel bites would even make it to the feature film, this little […]

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