Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Movie In theaters: March 2nd, 2012 Copyright © 2012 Universal Pictures
Let's sum up my retrospective of the Seuss movies in a nutshell. The Grinch, liked it but could be toned down a notch, The Cat in the Hat, hate it with a blood-thirsty vengeance, and Horton Hears a Who was good. The Lorax was actually one of my anticipating films of this year but now that I have seen it, I have mixed feelings.
Plot: There are two plots that they are trying to tell, the story that follows the book and animated short, which is done well, and a story they completely made up, which is a kid named Ted trying to impress his crush, Audrey by bringing her a real living tree to grow in her backyard. One problem. They live in the town of Thneedville, where everything but the people is artificially made. Ted's Grandma Norma tells him to go out of town and seek the Once-ler, the man who knows what happened to the trees. So the Once-ler tells Ted the story of the Lorax and the depletion of the Truffula forest. I do have to say that the Once-ler's story is actually depressing.
Cast and Acting: Zac Efron voiced Ted, who is a young boy. He was OK. He acts like a kid, he talks like a kid but to me, he sounds too old for the character's age. This film was the first I heard of Taylor Swift being in from what I know of. She wasn't given much screen time. We were only focused on the Once-ler's story itself. Betty White was awesome as Grandma Norma. She makes her points to Ted with a pretty funny twist. O'Hare, voiced by Rob Riggle is still the same cliched as hell corporate bad guy and doesn't care about nature. Ed Helms was funny as the Once-ler and his scenes with the Lorax fit perfectly. But for other parts, except maybe for his song, I'd lose the guitar. In fact, it's actually cool that you get to the see Once-ler as a human instead of leaving his species ambiguous in the book and short. Lastly, there is Danny Devito as the Lorax. Now he was funny. I've seen the trailers but an over-the-top version of the Lorax wasn't what I wanted to see. The Lorax in the book and the short was a very serious character with a very serious message. But after I saw the movie, I was surprised that he actually did good. He was funny in some scenes while still giving out the serious message of protecting the trees.Danny Devito - The Lorax
Ed Helms - The Once-ler
Zac Efron - Ted
Taylor Swift - Audrey
Betty White - Grandma Norma
Rob Riggle - O'Hare
Animation: The animation was done beautifully by Illumination Entertainment, the people behind Despicable Me and their upcoming sequel. Even the background animation gives us emotion with the environment. When I saw the forest, I was amazed. When I saw the polluted and depleted forest, I felt depressed. Even the character designs and animation are done well, giving nods to the original book's illustrations.
Songs: I didn't even know it was going to be a musical. I didn't like the opening song. The humming fish were good. The Once-ler's scenes of him singing with the guitar while selling his thneed the first time was pretty annoying. Let It Grow was decent. My favorite song is How Bad Can I Be, sung by the Once-ler as he is being consumed by his own greed. I even liked how it was structured. As it begins, he's still a good person but as it progresses, the Once-ler is being consumed by greed and at the halfway point, it becomes a villain song. So yeah, the songs are a mixed bag except for the villain song.
Overall: The Lorax is a pretty decent movie. I know that most people say it is hypocritical because it's being shown through a lot of advertisements and not staying true with the message of the book and short. But I didn't mind them. That's something I could easily ignore. What they got from the book and short is there, but I didn't like the love story. The songs are mixed, the animation is beautiful, and it delivers some funny scenes like the humming fish singing the theme to Mission: Impossible.
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