The Lorax (U) – Review
Director – Chris Renaud & Kyle Balda
Cast – Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Betty White, Jenny Slate
Run Time – 86 Minutes
Unless someone cares a whole awful lot, Hollywood won't make a good Dr. Seuss flick. They will not.
The Lorax is orange and has a moustache. He speaks for the trees – because somebody has to – unless it's an Ent, in which case, we are speaking of an entirely different story all together. Written as Dr. Seuss' most serious parable -concerning cooperate greed and its ecological effects – the book isn't the most obvious choice for a CGI remake… But by JoJo McDodd they will try. Have a trailer, then we'll Seuss out how The Lorax stacks up…
The original short story focuses on The Once-ler, telling his damned tale to a young boy. Creator of the multi-purpose Thneed, Once-ler harvested Truffula Trees to create the device, and driven by his own success, plunged the world into natural disaster as the land was picked clean of flora and fauna. Now in a cold and dying world, he reflects upon the words left by the Lorax, the guardian of the forest: "unless…"
Keeping the original tale largely intact, producers Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop) widen the scope of the narrative – adding in a larger role and adventure for the young boy, now named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron).
For the most part, The Lorax is an enjoyable, fun, and morally aware, family film. The characters are entertaining (Danny DeVito's ["Squeee!" – Web Ed] Lorax being a particular highlight), the musical numbers joyously slapstick, and the animation itself a beautiful rendition of Seuss' illustrations.
At 86 minutes things dash along, but at times The Lorax has an unfortunate lack of personality. The dialogue is ordinary, and there can be no greater crime when adapting Dr. Seuss. The crackling, rhythmic prose is missing from this adaptation, giving way to generic, functional conversation that reminds you that while the world may be colourful and the landscape beautifully realised, the magic of the Doctor's worlds lies somewhere between the language and surreal aesthetic.
That said, this is still a step in the right direction for Dr. Seuss adaptations. The Lorax is triumph when set against the utterly forgettable Grinch, superior to the coughed-up fur ball that was The Cat in the Hat, and more rib-tickling than the diverting Horton Hears a Who! Somewhere out there in Hollywood, somebody cares an awful lot…
Review by Adam Tingle