Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Lorax: Movie Review


The Lorax The Movie
By Dr. Seuss

Rating: 3/5

*spoiler alert*

For those who have never read The Lorax book, it's about pollution and taking care of the earth. The book's message is much like the one in Disney's WALL-E, but this movie is not as cute and endearing. The movie is the story of a boy named Ted who goes to hear the Once-ler's tale, how Ted got to the Once-ler in the first place, and what Ted does after hearing the Once-ler's story.

Ted has a crush on one of his neighbors named Audrey. In Thneed-Ville, where they live, every tree and shrub is made of plastic or metal. So when she mentions that she'd love to see a real tree, of course Ted risks life and limb to find one. Directed by Ted's grandmother's eerie tale of the Once-ler, he leaves town (which no one ever does) in search of the Once-ler on the barren landscape outside the city walls. The Once-ler spins his story over several days while Ted tries to outsmart Mr. O'Hare who owns the air bottling company that supplies fresh, clean air to the town. If trees started growing again Mr. O'Hare would be out of business because trees make clean air for free. So O'Hare is determined to stop Ted. That's the setup.

The Once-ler's story, which is what the original book is about, is shown in flashbacks. The Once-ler is weird and the Lorax is even weirder. Their relationship did not work for me. I couldn't figure out if they were enemies or friends or what. And then Ted comes along years later to undo what the Once-ler did, and all for a girl. But somehow the Lorax comes back at the end and credits the Once-ler for fixing the tree problem when it was really Ted who did it. Over the years, couldn't the Once-ler have planted the seed? What did I miss?

I didn't really see Ted as a hero either. I didn't see Ted as invested in the tree outcome as he was about getting Audrey to like him. Well, he wasn't until the very end. I don't know. I didn't get the same wonderful feeling from this movie that I did with Horton Hears a Who. When I looked it up on Wikipedia, I found that Horton was produced by Blue Sky Studios and The Lorax by Illumination Entertainment who also put out Despicable Me and Hop. Those movies were not very good story-wise either. Illumination needs better screenwriters.

To sum up, The Lorax's graphics and color were beautiful. The landscapes: imaginative. The cliched little bears: cute. But Ted's story, which was not in the original Dr. Seuss book, was weak. Ted and Mr. O'Hare's characters and conflict were not well developed.

Although I had read the book and knew where it was going, anything with a twist in Ted's story would've been welcomed. It was too predictable. I could have even predicted Ted's grandmother being "feisty" and agile enough to keep up with the kids on a motor-scooter. The movie visuals I give 4 stars but the story gets a 2. So that averages out to 3 of 5 stars.

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