By: Vivian Jair
Released on March 2 in honor of the late creator’s birthday, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is the second animated adaptation of the original children’s book. The movie is set in the town ofThneedville, where everything is artificially manufactured. The protagonist, Ted (Zac Efron), sets out to find a real tree for his crush Audrey (Taylor Swift). Ted’s endeavors take him out of town to an abandoned wasteland, where he finds the mysterious Once-Ler (Ed Helms). The Once-Ler reveals that the wasteland was once a paradise of nature, but was destroyed due to his greed and refusal to heed the warnings of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), the iconic orange forest guardian. The Once-Ler then provides a last shred of hope to Ted, who must outsmart the greedy multimillionaire Mr. O’ Hare and convince Thneedville’s citizens that nature is needed even in their high-tech world.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a vibrant animated film that will easily capture the hearts of children. The graphics are extremely colorful and bright, and several scenes are done in a realistic 3-D point of view. Catchy and clever, the soundtrack is also superb. The voice-overs, which feature several well-known celebrities, are also decent, with Danny DeVito and his characterization of the Lorax done very well.
Meanwhile, the characters and their overall development are far more difficult to judge. Audrey, for instance, suddenly wants a real tree despite not having any exposure to nature. Ted, meanwhile, instantly goes from merely willing to do anything for Audrey to actually caring about nature. The main villain, Mr. O’ Hare, is displayed as stereotypically ugly and menacing. On the other hand, the addition of cute iconic characters such as the clumsy plump bear, the adorable baby bear, and the singing fish trio makes the story more enjoyable. Another commendable decision is the casting of the Once-Ler as a human, which strengthens the theme that humans, rather than some alien species, are to blame for wrecking nature.
The majority of other altercations from the book are not done quite as well. The book is much darker than the movie, covering only the tale of the Once-Ler and closing with him providing the last hope to an unnamed boy. The movie adaptation, on the other hand, expands off this boy, who becomes Ted. While the movie creators are obviously attempting to lighten the story to make it more suitable for children, the creation of a happier setting dilutes the moral behind the whole tale. Instead of warning against deforestation, the movie demonstrates how easily environmental issues can be fixed. Additionally, the introduction of Ted creates transitioning problems, especially as the story flashes back from Ted’s time to the Once-Ler’s tale. Meanwhile, despite the movie trailer’s implications, Ted never does meet the Lorax. Even worse, the Lorax only plays a back-seat role in the movie, showing up only for a minute or so in the very beginning and the end, and a bit more during the Once-Ler’s story. He plays no role whatsoever in the new plot, and is essentially replaced by Ted. Overall, the new creations have weakened the depth in the plot.Nevertheless, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is still a fantastic choice for a family movie. Although the differentiations from the original book and several character developments are questionable, the colorful graphics and overall completeness make up for it. All in all, because the true target audience for Dr. Seuss’s The Loraxis children, the movie has done a successful job at inspiring love for the environment while retaining a bright atmosphere.