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Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax—movie review

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax—movie review

Have you noticed that (as often as not) when Hollywood moviemakers stray from their source material they insist on putting the author’s name above the title? To me, this only compounds the offense. No author has suffered more at the hands of Hollywood in recent years than Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The man who brightened my childhood, and my daughter’s, with his clever verse, fanciful drawings, and vivid imagination has been pummeled by such overblown productions as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and (even worse)The Cat in the Hat. Now comes The Lorax, a bright, shiny 3-D animated film from the team that made its reputation with the unpretentious feature Despicable Me.

The Lorax was Dr. Seuss’ most serious work, as it conveyed an ecological message to youngsters and their parents. The message remains intact in this adaptation, by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, but it’s almost smothered by extraneous story material and characters. Directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda have filled every scene with funny-looking (or sounding) characters, sight gags, and one-liners to provide constant distraction. This might work as a diversion for younger kids, but there is no sign of the wit or wisdom of Dr. Seuss.

The story, about a boy who lives in a plastic city and goes in search of a genuine tree, meanders far and wide. That’s because, like other Seussian adaptations, this one takes a slender book and arbitrarily expands it to feature length. When the DePatie-Freleng animation studio adapted The Lorax for television forty years ago, it ran just under a half-hour, which didn’t require all that padding.

The songs, by screenwriter Paul and composer John Powell, are odd and unmemorable, except for the summing-up number “Let it Grow,” which ends the picture.

Theodore Geisel counted on the bond of trust he had built with his readers to offer a thoughtful and timely message. The people behind this forgettable film are merely trading on the author’s deep reserve of goodwill.

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Pure environmental propaganda expressed thru animation.

EBL

http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/03/lorax-he-speaks-for-trees.html I give it a C+. I am a big Seuss fan and like the Lorax book and the Chuck Jones cartoon, but this was way too preachy and frankly not as good as the original. I though the animation was good from a technical view point (the trees did look rather snuggly) but the plot pacing was not well done.

Ben Geiger

For the entire history of mankind, most humans have lived in poverty with no freedom. In 200 years of capitalism, the average person has gone from a 35 year life expectancy to a 75 year life expectancy, enjoyed electricity, average of 2 cars and 2 television sets, elimination of most plegues, etc. I appluad capitalists for a longer and higher quality life.
Its a disgrace to teach our children that the heroes who have improved our lives are evil. Capitalism does not create problems, it fixes them. In capitalism, you make money by solving problems. That is why we have more trees in the U.S. now than before the industrial revolution.

Martin

The story was transparent and its political message was straigh from Obama's re-election campaign. Busness evil, rich evil, enviromental worship good. You know the paper industry plants more trees in a year than all the liberal put together. Why don't you tree huggers give up your houses and cars and COMPUTER and go live in caves. The producers of this are hypocrits and that is the worst part, kill thousands of trees to make, distribute and present this movie and make millions at it at the same time hmmm, maybe it was actually produced by O'Hare industries.

Jacob Sackin

The saddest thing about all the bad reviews journalists are writing about The Lorax movie is that none of them seem to provide any alternate ideas for how the plot of the movie could have been better, or for how the new story and old story could have been weaved together in a better pattern, they just bash the fact that the movie has corporate movie elements, like 3D roller coaster river rides and that it markets 70 products.

The parable of people living in a plastic, treeless world because of the oncler's greed when he was a teenager out to prove himself, is a great one for kids in 2012. The whole movie is just a fun, creative buildup to how things got the way they were in the beginning of the Lorax book, and an introduction to what could have been the next two pages of the The Lorax book, had Dr. Suess chosen to end it by taking the book to its natural conclusion: The last truffula seed is planted by the boy, trees start to grow again, and finally The Lorax and his friends come back. The movie also does a good job showing that those people behind the green faceless gloves are just normal people like you and me, hungry to buy up the newest i-something that come onto the scene.

Of course there could have been more gloppity glop and schluppity schlup, showing the building of the factory and what the pollution was doing to the humming fish and their friends; it also would have been interesting to see if the people returned to their plastic world after planting all the truffula trees, and if they dug up their plastic lawns and electronic flowers and changed their lives. But the movie intertwined the new narrative with snippets from the book flawlessly at times, even some of the rhymes, and it was great to finally see the Lorax and the old oncler finally hug and move on with their lives.

It feels to me like journalists are eager to trash the movie version of the book simply to seem more like a die hard fan of the book, like someone complaining about Dylan going electric in order to prove him or herself a folk music enthusiast. As for marketing 70 products, marketing is the way to get your product out there, good ones as well as bad, and I think that Dr. Suess would have been happy, for the number of people in the world who will now know about The Lorax is only going to keep biggering and biggering. And maybe one of those people will come up with the sequel to the Lorax movie and figure out how the people in thneedville can combine their new love for actual photosynthesizing trees with their dependance on plastic, electronic crap.

Norm

Disconcerting discourteous disconnected discourse…wow…It is obvious todays writers just don't get it ..They don't understand the writing of a superior Author…Which speakes volumes of the chasm of the generational divide…Maybe they just don't have the discipline or morals to "get" it…Hopefully , one day they may read a book that shows them the beauty and influence of the language of Theodore Geisel..How about "Green Eggs & Ham…"…Sam……I am…

Tony McCarson

"Horton Hears a Who (2008)" is a better movie adaption of Dr. Seuss than the movie versions of the Grinch (2000), the Cat in the Hat (2003), & the Lorax (2012).

CMurnane

We just finished seeing this film. I am sad that it had none of the whimsical magic that his stories did. Please, do not go see it. It is not worth your money

gary meyer

At least we still have THE 5000 FINGERS OF DR. T, Chuck Jones' wonderful half hour films, Ralph Bakshi's surprisingly good THE BUTTER BATTLE BOOK, the most unusual Russian short WELCOME and the delightful shorts made by George Pal and Warner Brothers (including the Snafu series) plus of course the UPA GERALD McBOING BOING series.

But since his death it feels like:

“I meant no harm.
I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger.
So bigger I got.”

But bigger is not necessarily better.

Next we have a biopic with Johnny Depp playing Theodor Geisel. He did pretty well as J.M Barrie so let's hope it is interesting.

christine lavin

While he was alive Ted Geisel had strict quality control over his work and his characters. It is shameful what his heirs have allowed to happen to his work. I know his widow justifies it by saying, "I didn't want his work to be forgotten so I let them do this," but his books WON'T be forgotten.

Hopefully, films like this will be.

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