The Lorax

Once upon a time, a lovely young woman named Jay flew first class. Yup, all those travels, and it was just the one time. I don’t even remember where we were going. What I do remember: 1. it was an early morning flight 2. the breakfast was good 3. I had a mimosa 4.The Lorax was playing 5. I almost immediately fell asleep and missed the whole thing. I think we got a pretty good deal on the upgrade but still, it was disappointing to have slept through all the luxury. Of course, it was probably only because of the luxury (read: space) that I could sleep. Still. I kicked myself. I kicked Sean too; he also slept, though it’s a less a rarity for him.

But all this time, I’ve wondered: is The Lorax boring, or did I just fall asleep because it was a 6am flight and I was incredibly tired?

The Lorax is based on a Dr. Seuss story in which a 12 year old boy, Ted (Zac Efron), decides to impress a girl, Audrey (Taylor Swift), by bringing her a tree. A real, live tree. Which no longer exist. They live in a place where the trees were replaced long ago by sculptures of plastic lit up by dozens of C batteries. Their whole town is utterly devoid of nature. They’ve been denuded. But Ted has a pretty big crush on this chick Audrey so he treks out to an isolated home where he meets the elderly Once-ler (Ed Helms), the one responsible for the world’s current problems. As a young man he was so determined to have his company succeed that he thought nothing of cutting down all the trees. He butted heads with the guardian of the forest, The Lorax (Danny DeVito), but he wouldn’t change his mind until it was too late. And the thing about too late is that it’s true to its name: too late.

Sean asked me how heavy-handed the environmentalism theme was, but I actually consider it to be more anti-capitalist than anything. The Onceler’s greed costs them everything. And yet this kid-friendly, animated family film is basically one long commercial, replete with product placement, basically neutering its message.

The animation is lovely. Illumination has done several Dr. Seuss adaptations at this point and they’re pretty adept at the translation. Their trees look like swirls of cotton candy. The town is fairly bursting with brilliant details. And yet once again this film has failed to truly grab me.

8 thoughts on “The Lorax

  1. J.

    I’d started watching this a few months ago (maybe more, I can’t quite remember) with the kiddo, but neither of us were vibing with it. He looked at me and shrugged and I done the same. We didn’t last more than 30 minutes. I think we watched Zootropolis instead.

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  2. Amanda Cade

    I’m a big fan of the book, and when I heard they were adapting it to a feature length film, I was concerned. As I feared, the new material added to increase the length just didn’t work for me.

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  3. Robyn

    Maybe I love it because I have had to sit through it a thousand of times? The Lorax, Aladdin and Frozen have been forced on me by Declan – he couldn’t speak for so long but was drawn to these movies that had music and could sing all these songs. Maybe that is why I love The Lorax so much? I dunno, but it definitely has a special place in my heart and is a movie I could probably (and may have to) watch another thousand times.

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  4. Jason

    To me, this movie was good, but not great. The main core part of the narrative is the best (the one that follows the book’s story) as DeVito and Helms are great in their respective roles, but the other events that bookend the feature are pretty “meh”. Still, the animation is colorful and the message is strong.

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  5. Christopher

    The original (albeit shorter) animated version, which was truer to the book and had, in my opinion, catchier tunes, was such a part of my childhood that I just can’t accept this newer version, although I tried.
    This 2012 version undermines its own message with the idea that there’s a happy post-ecological world, whereas in the original what the Once-ler leaves behind is a wasteland and he’s left alone with his regrets and a single truffula seed.

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