The Lorax – Movie Review
The Lorax is also a nice companion character for him to help him keep his moral decisions in check, and perhaps in part to DeVito’s excellent voice performance, some of their scenes together are rather funny. However, Ted’s side of the story is a completely different situation. Anything other than the Once-ler’s flashbacks and such is completely new material, and for the most part these segments of the story are rather mediocre. I thought that O’Hare was a bland and terribly annoying villain that was trying to hard to be a businessman version of Vector from Despicable Me. I never really grew to care about the romance between Ted and Audrey is just “meh,” because we never get to really know who Audrey’s character is, but this is a rather minor complaint when compared to the rest of the plot. Other than that, Ted’s part in the story isn’t bad, just mediocre compared to the Once-ler’s emotional character development. One last thing I wish to say about the film: as some other critics have pointed out, The Lorax’s script sometimes seems to take away the rhythmic spirit of the original book. I would have to say that the script was written just to feel modern and “hip” rather than risk being overly nostalgic. Yes some of the awesome rhymes from the book are directly adapted into the screenplay such as “the touch of their tufts was much softer than silk, and they had the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk,” but then a character might say “what the heck does that mean?” As you can probably imagine, I was very much annoyed by these kinds of things that were written into the screenplay. Despite its narrative flaws and the overbearing nature of the film’s politics, The Lorax is still an enjoyable, heartwarming and charmingly funny film that has a great message about protecting the world we live in. Also, whereas the book had a gloomy ending, this film ends on a very happy note, so that definitely counts for something.
The voice cast of The Lorax is probably one of its strongest points, because there definitely are some great people that were involved with this production. Zac Efron felt slightly miscast since he is at least 10 years older than his character (obviously not an age match made in heaven), but oh well, he does well anyhow. Taylor Swift definitely wasn’t born to be a voice actor, but she’s decent in this film as well. Oh, and Rob Riggle? I freakin hate you, man. As for Betty White, she goes through her usual Betty White routine in this film, and oftentimes she is hilarious. Granted part of what she does in this film adds to the fact that this version of The Lorax betrays Dr. Seuss’ poetic vision of the story in favor of being hip, but even so, she is arguably more of a scene stealer than The Lorax! She deserves such attention though, because yes, her performance is great. The highlights of the voice cast are undeniably Ed Helms (best known for his roles in The Office and the two Hangover films) and Danny DeVito, though. The Once-ler’s personality is defined mostly by Helm’s excellent performance, and whether or not you are being treated to the old or younger Once-ler, you’ll have to be as emotionless as rock in order to not appreciate Helm’s comedic timing. Danny DeVito is definitely the star here, and it shows. Yes his character may come as slightly annoying, but who cares? He helps to provide the sense that the Lorax is very cynical when it comes to the Once-ler, which definitely remains true to his character in the book, and he gives the Lorax a suitably old man feel to him. Oh, and did I mention that he’s rather funny? Yes, he sure is.
If Dr. Seuss was still alive, he would most certainly be proud of what Illumination has done with his silly, yet extremely imaginative and beautiful art style in this film. The animation of The Lorax is on par with Despicable Me as far as technicality is concerned, but as I said, the imaginative art of Dr. Seuss compliments the visuals of this film. Rest assured, it’s a great looking film, although it’s got nothing on more recent CGI flicks such as Rango (arguably the most photorealistic animated film to date). As for the music, The Lorax also impresses with a vibrant, cheerful score from John Powell, although not as memorable as his Oscar-nominated score for How to Train Your Dragon. One way the production team attempted to help make The Lorax more crowd-pleasing is adapt it into an animated musical a la Disney films of yore. Much of the original songs in The Lorax are rather enjoyable, but a couple are just a little bit annoying to my taste, and songs like “Let It Grow” might also piss off conservative parents, if you know what I mean by that. All in all, The Lorax is yet another animated film that looks and sounds great, albeit some of the music will be controversial among parents who don’t want their children to be influenced by the “in your face” environmentalist message of the film.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always felt that we should care about our environment and that loggers perhaps do contribute to the pollution of our air. However, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the fact that Illumination’s take on The Lorax was much more heavy-handed in its political subtexts. Also, the subplots involving Thneedville, Ted, his family, Audrey and O’Hare are mediocre in comparison to the story of the Once-ler and the mystical Lorax. In that sense, this movie once again proves that sometimes children’s books should often be left alone when it comes to film adaptations. Even so, if your kids need something to keep them shut up for 90 minutes, The Lorax is suitable for the job, for it’s a beautifully animated film that is undoubtedly entertaining. The Lorax speaks for the trees, and he speaks for the trees because the trees have no tongues. Go see this film and see for yourself if his words are worth listening to.
[easyreview title=”The Lorax – Final Score” cat1title=”Summary” cat1detail=”The Lorax is an undeniably fun and colorful animated film that will please your family. Nonetheless, the political subtext is there, and oftentimes it’s simply too heavy-handed for this kind of a film, even if The Lorax does remain true to the book’s message.” cat1rating=”3.0″ summary=”3/5 Decent”]