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Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

A CGI animated movie directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda

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Illumination's Bright Streak Continues in a Dr. Seuss Classic

  • Apr 7, 2013
Rating:
+4
I’ve got to admit that while 2008’s Horton Hears a Who! proved Dr. Seuss’ material seemed custom tailored to the computer generated animation movement, the story lacked that degree of relate-ability we generally associate with the classics.  While Horton was done by Ice Age’s Blue Sky Studios, the 2012 follow-up Seuss to CG piece (The Lorax) was handed off to Illumination Entertainment, the guys who brought us Despicable Me.  To cut to the chase, The Lorax is very enjoyable animated entertainment.  It’s got a few flaws and there are the semi-legitimate balks of conservatism plaguing the piece but we’ll get to these issues.
 
Coming in at a runtime of 86-minutes, The Lorax wears a PG rating for animated violence and tension but there’s no inappropriate language or adult-themes to worry about here.  Costing $70-million to make, the film actually managed to break even in its domestic opening weekend and has since gone on to take in close to $250-million.  In short, while critics were less than impressed with it, The Lorax is considered a resounding commercial success and continues Illumination’s impeccable track record of making hits.
 
The story, like the book it’s based on, tells of a young boy who goes seeking the truth about what ever happened to real living trees in a town that is complete and utterly artificial.  However, while the book had but a few pages of Seussian verse to tell its tale of environmentalism, a full length feature film would require far more setup to keep from dragging out and there are some creative licenses taken as a result.  Among these 12-year old Ted (named after Dr. Suess himself; Theodor Geisel), in effort to impress an older red haired high-school girl (Taylor Swift), takes interest in these “tree things” and ventures beyond the walls of his fenced-in town to meet up with a mysterious hermit called the Once-Ler. 

The Once-Ler (Ed Helms) eventually agrees to tell Ted (Zac Efron) all about his past and what part he played in the obliteration of the forest and resulting exodus of the wildlife that lived in it.  Thus is the movie’s greatest strength and arguably its biggest fault when compared to the source material:  There’s an undeniably human element present here that harkens back to such other animated films in recent memory as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or say Ratatouille to mention a few.
 
Additionally new to the fold is a villain designed to personify corporatism with some beautifully rendered yet hideous hair and a crew of voiceless lackeys.
 
The titular character appears in the Once-ler’s flashback as a “voice for the trees” and comes into the film amidst a whole ensemble of characters beautifully transitioned into 3D directly from the pages of the book including those colorful fuzzy-top trees, marshmallow-eating bears and crooning fish.  This part of the film literally breaks down the limitations of the computer color pallet and just how much color the human brain is capable of processing simultaneously.  The Lorax really is a difficult character to flesh out if you think about it and in the end the gruff Danny DeVito does a pretty admirable job of bringing life to the mustachioed orange ball of fur.  While a strong argument could be made that the character is a bit too abrasive to do the book-character justice, I found him appealing in a sort of sensible Yosemite Sam kinda way.
 
A lot of critics fault the film’s pro-environmentalist/ anti-consumerism message, which truly is none too discrete here but it’s a rather ridiculous complaint considering that is the core theme of the book on which it’s based.  When one stops to consider that consumerism is the very fabric of a successful movie (or book), it’s a rather annulling lesson but the way I try to reason it, there are far worse messages coming out of Hollywood.  Besides, the narrative of the film does its best to never take itself too seriously with abundant musical numbers and physics-defying silliness.
 
In all I came away from the piece impressed with some of its visual prowess and particularly impressed with the humor surrounding lead character Ted’s interaction with his family.  This piece is certainly an improvement over Horton Hears a Who! and is leaps and bounds better than recent live-action incarnations of Seuss’ material (such as Cat in the Hat).  If not quite worthy of adding to your collection, you really can’t go wrong with a rental on this one.
Illumination's Bright Streak Continues in a Dr. Seuss Classic Illumination's Bright Streak Continues in a Dr. Seuss Classic Illumination's Bright Streak Continues in a Dr. Seuss Classic

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April 09, 2013
I really enjoyed this one, great review.
April 12, 2013
Thanks FM_A- definitely a lot better than Horton Hears a Who! Though browsing some of the other reviews of this one here on Lunch- yikes. Some people apparently hated it!
September 15, 2013
I thought I already rated this before...nice one, Jay
 
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More Dr. Seuss' The Lorax reviews
review by . March 03, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I may be at a slight disadvantage here since I am not that familiar with Dr. Seuss’ children’s book that had inspired Universal Pictures’ “The Lorax”. Released on March 2, 2012, which would have been Seuss’ 108th birthday if he was still around. The film is the second CGI animation adaptation, and the third one (released by Universal) of his work, 2012 also celebrates Universal’s 100th year anniversary. Directors Chris Reynaud (Despicable Me) and Kyle Balda …
review by . March 02, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Lorax Looms
THE LORAX Written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul Directed by Chris Renaud Voices by Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito   The Lorax: A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.   DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX is perhaps the most blatantly obvious attempt to speak down to people about the perils of industrialization on the environment since AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Yes, I understand this is a children’s film, but the original work from 1971 was a …
review by . March 01, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
                                 So once again the movie studios have gone to Dr Suess,   This time it’s the Lorax the movie producers have let loose      The Lorax is done by the same people who made Despicable Me   Sure it’s well done, but impossible not to compare to Wall-E      The latter a much better telling of …
review by . March 07, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Based upon the book by Dr. Seuss (whose name is officially part of the title), THE LORAX has been contemporized a bit making it accessible to not only super-environmental-types, but to those who were raised upon conservation and not environmentalism. In THE LORAX, Ted (Zac Efron) is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in the plasticized, walled city of Thneedville. Ted is in love with a teenage girl named Audrey (Taylor Swift). Audrey doesn't quite fit in Thneedville and paints the back of her house …
review by . March 03, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Thirty years before Al Gore was demonized for telling the truth about global warming, Dr. Seuss was chastised for promoting environmentalism in his book The Lorax. Even before its publication in 1970, global deforestation was a major problem, and it continues to this day, especially in tropical regions. I will not provide the statistics here; there’s more than enough quality information on the net for you to research. I will say that deforestation …
review by . June 15, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
So this is going to be a long one, for reasons that I have to be somewhat firm with.  The Lorax is an annoying movie that, for the most part, is bad for the reason every other Dr. Suess adaptation in Hollywood is pretty bad.  Because it IS being adapted from a pretty short children's book there's usually not much that they can do with it.  It's a straightforward story that can't really amount to anything more than a half hour movie.  So one has to really change …
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Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (also known as The Lorax) is a 2012 American computer-animated 3-D musical comedy film based on Dr. Seuss' children's book of the same name. It was produced by Illumination Entertainment and was released by Universal Pictures on March 2, 2012, what would have been the 108th birthday of Seuss, who died at age 87 in the year 1991.
The film is the fourth feature film based on a book by Dr. Seuss, the second Dr. Seuss adaptation fully computer-animated after Horton Hears a Who!, and the first to be released in 3-D. The Lorax was Illumination Entertainment's first film presented in IMAX 3D (known as "IMAX Tree-D" in publicity for the film).[3] It was also the third Dr. Seuss feature film released by Universal, after How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat.

The film was directed by Chris Renaud, and co-directed by Kyle Balda. It was written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, the duo who also wrote the script for Blue Sky's Horton Hears a Who!. Audrey Geisel, Seuss's wife, was executive producer, and Chris Meledandri, who managed Horton Hears a Who! at Fox Animation, produced the film.[7]
The film was fully fabricated in the French studio "Illumination Mac Guff", which was the animation department of Mac Guff which has been acquired by Illumination Entertainment in Summer 2011.[8]
The Lorax received a PG rating "for brief mild language."It is the third PG-rated Dr. Seuss film, following How the ...
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Details

MPAA Rating: G
Screen Writer: Dr. Seuss, Ken Daurio

First to Review

"The Lorax"
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