Movie Review: The Lorax
Audiences often criticize the lack of creativity coming from Hollywood, bemoaning adaptations and re-creations of literature so simply and pure. When done with precise care, passion, and talent, the product can be something astounding, and something that could not be reproduced on any other medium; something exactly like Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
Following the surprise success of Despicable Me, Universal Pictures is back with their second animated feature film, an equally charming, irresistible, and meaningful movie, adapting a noted Dr. Seuss book to the big screen, adding famous voices and musical interludes to a powerful allegorical experience.
The message in is simple and exceptionally overt, if not commonplace and particularly important. From the opening number, a song that demonstrates the excessive pride with which the town possesses for its plasticity, giant cars, and bottled air, the story points out how terribly our society has lost touch with nature and continues to abuse the Earth.
Ted, a young romantic voiced by Zac Efron who strives to win the heart of his teenage crush Audrey (a non-singing Taylor Swift), journeys to find the one thing that will impress Audrey: a tree. With the consul of his grandma (Betty White), Ted sneaks out of town to the barren lands in search of the Once-ler, the only person who can help. The bizarre and lonely Once-ler, agrees to help Ted, but first tells him the lengthy tale about the sad fate of trees.
After some time, audiences are finally introduced to The Lorax, a small, yellow, mustachioed creature that protects the plants and animals of the world. His friends include singing fish, awkward birds, and cute bears, including one overweight grizzly, all of whom threaten the Once-ler when he chops down a lone tree. The Lorax and company soon after prevail upon their unwanted guest, a youngster who seeks importance. However, greed, fame, and the ability to rationalize actions do not disappear easily.
The voices are perfect, especially Danny Devito as the titular forest guardian and Ed Helms as the once-ler. Devito charms equally by being ornery and sympathetic, while Helms brings his boyish naiveté and misguided trust to his ambitious Once-ler.
Visually, it is among the most beautiful animated movies ever created, with lush colours and such fine detail, with the 3-dimensional technique used with perfect smoothness and congruity, mostly adding depth the film without distraction.
The few songs at times feel forced, but the characters are effortlessly charming, and the final piece sung during the epic conclusion is certainly touching. Children with some understanding will undoubtedly receive a message that is loud and clear, while younger ones will be captivated by the lush reds, greens, and blue of the forest and the dulcet tones of the stars. Adults should be equally charmed as well, and perhaps remember their children experience with the incomparable Dr. Seuss, but will be reminded as well of just how easy it is to both lose touch with the world around, but too make a difference.