Dr Seuss' The Lorax Reviews
audience liked 64%? what ?
I think this is by far the best Dr. Seuss book to animation movie adaptation so far. And it was really fun for me when I watched it back in 2012. I just realised I never reviewed it and here I am looking at horrible ratings. I think, unfair and lacking valid counter points.
Danny De Vito did awesome job, great dialogues.
Watch Jeremy Jahns's review on YouTube if you want more info but I think this is great animation for kids with thinkable moments for everyone (especially about how much are you willing to give up for more money).
So, ignore critics. Watch it for yourself if you havent.
The story is an environmental one, an eco plot if you will about the effects of cutting down trees. Put simply (just like the original book did) there is a small town which is gloomy and polluted. The reason for this is because all the trees were chopped down to mass market 'thneeds' by the one they call 'Once-ler'. Once-ler tells a young boy the whole story of how he destroyed all the trees to create his thneeds and ignored the advice and warnings of the Lorax, guardian of the trees.
Once-ler regrets his actions and gives the young boy a tree seed to plant so that trees may return as well as the Lorax. There is a bit more to it but that is the basic premise.
So what does Hollywood do you ask? well do you really need to ask? I'm sure you can all guess but I'll tell you anyway. Hollywood strips the story down and refits it with tripe filler and made up characters to fill out a decent length run time. Throw in some ridiculous vehicle chase sequences, cliched slapstick and jokes and some hideous musical numbers and there you have it, typical Hollywood trash.
Now I will admit the film looks lovely, full of bright bold colours, its cheerful, light-hearted and with some nice CGI animation. BUT the lesson has been diluted and cluttered by fancy ass visuals and 'action' sequences. Yes there is still a nice message within the film, the finale shows what can be done if they jettison the crapola but that's only about a 3 minute sequence out of an entire film!
I simply cannot understand why they thought to create new characters! The new character Aloysius O'Hare is REALLY annoying too, he just looks annoying, making him short...yeah that's not funny.
I realise they needed to fill the story to reach a reasonable film run time but if that can't be done then don't do it. Maybe try another route, don't just make a whole load of stuff up! Once-ler was suppose to be faceless, a boogieman like equivalent of modern faceless companies/corporations that destroy nature for their gain. You can't uproot that, that's the whole point!
The world where this takes place isn't named, plus it isn't some bright, colourful, 'Willy Wonka' type place with fancy technology!! I see what they did with that sure, but why?? stop changing the whole premise!! it all looks like something outta 'Despicable Me'.
Of course we don't know how Seuss would take to it but I'm pretty sure the original fable wasn't meant to include futuristic vehicles, buildings, Once-ler playing guitar, airship things and some god awful songs including the now obligatory hip hop pop song for the final credits which happens for almost all kids films now (more manufactured faceless nobodies singing forgettable songs that will fade into obscurity as quickly as they appeared).
I like the fact that Hollywood has tried to put across a good message...of sorts. I'm sure they are more concerned about another franchise to milk that will rake in the moolah but the initial positive effort is there. If only this could of been done more down to earth, with a little more sense towards the source material and maybe in a different media (stop motion would have been nice, Selick directing perhaps?).
At the end of the day its merely been mutated into another flashy, churned out, in your face CGI flick (in 3D...ugh!). How ironic, a polluted vision of Dr Seuss' simple little tale, such a shame.
Ignore this, stick to the original book or 1972 TV special, don't deny your children these.
Despite some funny moments and cute animation, The Lorax is a harmless and fun, but generic cash in the bag that mostly disposes the darkness, subtlety, and magic of Dr. Seuss classic book and short. The perfect depiction of Hollywood cashing in on a classic book while disposing much of wit and charm that made the story a classic in the first place. I have been expecting something witty and satirical, considering that this was from the same people behind the glorious Despicable Me, however it all ends up being a film, with interesting undertones, and great talent, squashed with generic pop songs, simplistic characterization, dated slangs, and unnecessary subplots that had nothing to do with the book in the first place.
The film centers on, not the Lorax or the Once-ler, but on a 12 year old boy named Ted, played by Zac Efron. The film does not center on the Lorax or once-ler because of the film's subplots. The story of Ted is that he lives in a corporate city called Thneed-ville, and is in love with a high schooler named Audrey, played by Taylor Swift. Ted's plan is to get her to fall in love with him, but order to do that, he must get her a tree, an objective that all ready alienated the first half of the story. The purpose of the book is that the boy was that one person who cared about the result of the once-ler and wanted to restore life for the sake of nature and its beauty. Here, Ted only goes to see him and get the tree, only to impress the girl, coming off as rather sappy and shallow..
Meanwhile, the city is controlled by a Mr. O'Hare, who's objective is to pollute the city so that he can sell fresh air: to make money. Sadly, the subplot and character of Mr. O'Hare alienates the story, because in the book, the city and the villain didn't exist, and if you think it through, the villain of the film is suppose to be the misunderstanding and the undoing of the Once-ler, and the addiction of consumerism.
First, there are 2 worlds in this film. We have Ted's world, which includes the new subplots and we have the Lorax/ Once-ler world, which was the original story. Many of the film's problem come from Ted's world.
If you read the book, the story is about Lorax and his attempt to teach the Once-ler how industry and reliance on consumerism can affect anyone or anything around him, and how his actions had led to the destruction of the forest and environment, and the Once-ler was the narrator. The theme of the entire book is the dangers of industry and how someone's actions and over focus on finance and sales can destroy something beautiful and important. The Lorax story which was the highlight of the film has been reduced to a secondary subplot to the film, rather than being the focus of the main story.
Also, the second problem of the film is the film's setup. The charm and genius of the lorax is that it was not completely a fun up-beat story, but it was a dark and horrifying story, in the form of a colorful children's book.
In the core of the book, it was a dark and subtle story about a kind man who wanted to change the world and innovate, which led to chopping down the trees. However, he meets mother nature (Lorax) who tries to teach him the beauty of life and that innovation and success does not always have to rely on corporation. The man ignores him and continues his business of his new invention, thinking it's the right thing to do, but destroying everything around him. And then, mother nature and his inner conscious try to show him what his business is leading into, but still, he ignored it. However, by the time the last tree was chopped, only then he snaps out of it and sees what he was doing, and what horror and dark future he has created, and at that time, he also realized one problem: it was too late. For years, he would sit in his empty factory, will full remorse and regret for what he has done, but at the same time torn, for the fact that he only wanted the innovate and make the world a great, and that killing the environment was never his main objective. One day he meets a young boy, who he realizes is the one that can change the future, because until someone "cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to change." He gives the boy the last seed of them all, and then goes off, in an ambiguous note. What was the message: Don't rely too much on corporation or consumerism, too much of will lead to danger. And also, problems can't all be stopped or fixed immediately, but if you really care about fixing the problem, you will eventually find a solution.
Thats the magic of the book, it gave you a story of how the misunderstanding of industry and wealth can destroyed the world, how business can lead to the apocalypse, we don't know where the boy lived, what happened to the Lorax and his friends, or what happened in the end, letting the audience create their own ending. Also, it was simple, but the mood was dark, sorrow, and horror, in contrast to his other books, but what made the story more powerful is that even with the Once-Ler's unintentional creation of the industry-created apocalypse, there was never a villain or an antagonist. In fact, the villain of the story was the addiction; misunderstanding and pressure that led to this eventual wasteland, a personal fear and problem that people can relate to.
The ambiguity of the ending was reform with straightforward ending that alienates the ambiguity of the book . A simple thing to note, is that the film starts, showing you the Lorax, guiding the beginning of the movie, rather than let the film visually guide you to the beginning, then they show you where the boy lived, created a city for him to live, and create a bunch of other simplistic characters full of clichés and stereotypes. Then they created a bad guy, who's main goal is to make money, try to stop the boy, so he can rule the world, and make money, with a rather forced, preachy ending that removes the ambigious tone of the ending.
There is still some great parts. The animation shines brightly and in top-quality, and the character and world designs match the film perfectly. The best part of the film, or what the film should've been about should've been the story of the Lorax and the Once-ler. The film's biggest strengths lie in the Lorax and Oncler subplot. The story of the two, which was only 30 minutes of the film, has a bunch of changes, and yeah they kind of rushed the transformation of the once-ler, but it was still funny, witty and brought some of the charm from the book, with some very dark and touching moments. It's was the Thneedville subplots that fell flat and were void of creativity
The characters are mix. First we have Ted, he is fine, but choosing Zac Efron is a very odd choice. Taylor Swift's character is completely lifeless and useless to the plot. The highlight of the film is Danny Devito as the Lorax. Devito is a natural, bringing you the best character of the film, the best wit, and helps the film being something worth watching. Ed Helms plays The Once-ler, while modernized is equally as witty and funny as the borax himself. The best part of the film was the story of the Lorax and the once-ler. Like I said earlier many of the film's problem occur outside of the Lorax's world. If the film was just about the Lorax and the Once-ler the film would've been much more enjoyable, and more faithful to the book.
Despite some clever ideas, great animation and the story of The Lorax and the Once-ler, The Lorax is surrounded by the shallow subplots void of the dark charms of the book.