Dr Seuss The Lorax

Dr Seuss The Lorax

Director: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Starring: Voices of Danny de Vito, Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift.
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Runtime: 86 mins. Reviewed in Apr 2012
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Rating notes:

This one is for younger, much younger audiences, so parents might have to bear up.

The Lorax, so he tells us at the opening, is the guardian of the forest and the trees (he is voiced by Danny de Vito). He recites a few of Dr Seuss’ rhyming lines to introduce the story. But, then, with some acknowledgements to the author’s writing style and the illustrations, it is straight on with a (very) American looking and sounding screenplay (with lots of ‘cool’ jargon that Dr Seuss, who died in 1991) may not have heard of or wanted to hear).

Young Ted (Zac Efron) is infatuated with Audrey (Taylor Swift). They live in a town that is completely plastic and know no better, except that Audrey is aware of trees. Ted is determined to find one for her, helped by his old gran (Betty White) who remembers them well. He escapes from the town – the inhabitants live in a cocooned community, Thneedville, like that in The Truman Show and have no desire or curiosity to go out. Ted finds The Once-ler (Ed Helms) in his grim tower. The Once-ler tells his sad story of confronting the Lorax and the animals and chopping down a tree to make an odd kind of twistable pullover, a Thneed – which then becomes the rage, and which means all the trees are destroyed and the Lorax and the animals leave.

In the meantime, Mr O’Hare (Rob Riggle, the maniacal coach villain of 21 Jump Street), a less than pint-sized entrepreneur megalomaniac, has decided to sell fresh air in bottles to the gullible population. This leads, of course, to a confrontation with Mr O’Hare and his huge bodyguards, to a car and bike chase and to the planting of one seed so that trees might grow again.

So, a little parable on the environment, responsibility and conservation, consumerism and exploitation and everyone doing their bit for a better society. It is geared for junior primary audiences – and, since it has made over $200,000,000 at the US box office, it must be reaching its mark. But, it is (very) American.

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