Here it is. Yet another Dr. Seuss book turned into a motion picture. This time around it’s The Lorax. The famous Seussian tale of The Once-Ler who chopped down every last Truffula Tree. In this film version, as usual, the plot is stretched much farther than that. What you’ve got now, is this kid named Ted (Zach Effron) who’s got a huge crush on his neighbor voiced by Taylor Swift. The one thing that she wants the most in life is to see a tree. But the problem is, is that they both live in Thneed-Ville, an entirely fake plastic city. Instead of grass, the concrete is painted green, and they sell bottled air. Ted’s grandmother, voiced by the incomparable Betty White tells him about this dude on the outskirts of town called The Once-ler (Ed Helms) who could tell him where to find a tree. Yadda yadda yadda, lots of backstory, and then YES! DANNY DEVITO!
Whoops, sorry. I’m kind of a fan. He voices the mustachioed Lorax, the guardian of the trees. And as always, he’s awesome! At first, it’s kind of weird to think about DeVito voicing a character in a kid’s film. Especially after 7 seasons of Frank Reynolds in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. But then, you have to remember that he directed Matilda back in the 90s. But that’s irrelevant. Back to The Lorax. The Lorax for the most part was your average children’s film. It had tons of cute creatures (which by the way, the bears were suuuuper cute and are almost worth the price of admission alone), lot’s of really blunt jokes aimed at kids, and lots of song and dance numbers. Right off the bat, I should say that I’ve never been a fan of sporadically bursting into song in films. Even as a kid, I never liked it. So I felt the musical numbers were a bit much, and they kind of annoyed me, but any other non-grouchy film goer will more than likely find lots to enjoy about the songs. Especially if you’re really into hearing Ed Helms scat ‘n bebop like he does on The Office.
Ok, let’s go ahead and acknowledge the elephant in the room now. The 3D. Here’s my stance. I don’t really like it. It’s gimmicky and it usually serves no purpose. But, there are the exceptions. If it’s genuinely being used to further enhance the story and immerse you deeper, such as Hugo or Avatar then I can see past it. But we’re talking about The Lorax here. This is for kids. And kids just like seeing 3D, so I should stop being grouchy. Before I continue though, I will say this. I have seen an early screening of Titanic in 3D. It was amazing. After that, I don’t think any 3D will ever be able to live up to those standards. But with that said, The Lorax looked pretty good. The depths of the Truffula Forests were great, and the Lorax’s mustache was something to marvel, truly. There was also a pretty big lack of “Poppin’ out at you” 3D, which I appreciated. It was there, but it wasn’t overbearing.
Now, I don’t want to sound like I didn’t like this movie. Because I did. I’m just extremely spoiled by the quality of the animated films of Pixar. Also, I just don’t personally believe that Dr. Seuss books translate to film very well. The books are really short, but they say as much as they need to say within those short amount of pages. With that being said, The Lorax is a great movie for kids. It’s got a really great environmental message, which in this day and age, is important for them to hear. And when Fox News is saying that the film pushes an extreme liberal agenda on today’s youth, then I say the film is certainly getting that message across very nicely. Plus there’s super cute bears, marshmallows, Betty White, and a fluffy little Danny DeVito!
I give The Lorax 3 Danny DeVitos out 5
By Richard Pepper