Reviews

Dr Seuss’ The Lorax

2

A CG-animated take on another Dr Seuss story

What might JapanimatIon’s eco-warrior Hayao Miyazaki have done with this save-the-planet fable from Dr. Seuss? Made it shorter and quieter and better, probably.

Instead, the Hollywood CG-machine behind Despicable Me take a simple, potent allegory which arrived ahead of its time and turn it into a wacky 3D kids’ movie that feels behind it.

Opening exuberantly with a kicky musical number, The Lorax introduces us to a happy, plastic city where fresh air is bottled, nature is inflatable and a boy (Zac Efron) quests into the barren landscape in search of a real tree.

But this is just a framing device for Seuss’ original ’70s story – his favourite, according to his widow – about a mysterious hermit called the Once-ler (Ed Helms) who lives alone in a wasteland he created by foolishly destroying the environment for a fast buck, much to the despair of tree-hugging spirit The Lorax (Danny DeVito). It’s a dark, powerful parable about ambition corrupting into greed, and it’s done very well.

But this central flashback core has been gaudily wrapped up in an awful lot of nonsense to pad out the running time. Zooming scooter chases, grandma on skis, a pint-size villain (Rob Riggle) with his two goons, and cutesy forest creatures that – as in Despicable Me – are probably the best thing about the movie.

Sure, it’s a beautifully designed world of blossoming candyfloss trees and popping colours. But it paints over the story’s ominous message of consumption versus conservation, turning it into a fizzy confection that’s manic and meaningless. Not a bad film, just not a good one.

When Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind and Princess Mononoke, or even the terrific Seuss ’toon Horton Hears A Who! are waiting for a rewatch, why settle for less?

That might sound harsh, but as The Lorax says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”

Verdict:

Fake plastic trees, fake plastic entertainment? The Lorax is immensely colourful, catchy and cheery. Then again, it’s also gaudy, bland and recycled. You can do better.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • moviemandan77

      Jul 16th 2012, 10:00

      No stars!! Is it that bad?

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    • MattMaytum

      Jul 16th 2012, 15:30

      ^ Oops, the stars were left off in error. Amended now.

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    • ItsNotAmnesia

      Jul 16th 2012, 19:10

      Personally love the Radiohead reference in the verdict :D

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    • bencobra

      Jul 27th 2012, 12:15

      I think adaptations of Dr Seuss really need to stop. After TCITH put a block on any live-action adaptations it does not seem the animated features are fairing that much better. HHAH was pretty dull. The genius of Seuss and his beautifully created universe clearly does not make the big-screen transition.

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