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Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

A CGI animated movie directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda

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The Lorax Looms

  • Mar 2, 2012


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 brave warning of trouble to come, while director, Chris Renaud’s follow-up to DESPICABLE ME, is just a complete farce, unlikely to inspire any young people to care about the planet. Sadly, I don’t see it encouraging a lot of laughter and enjoyment in kids either. As is unfortunately too often the case, this is another Seuss adaptation that gets the imagination in the imagery right but doesn’t understand the roots of the story.


It didn’t take very long for me to stop enjoying THE LORAX. This stumpy, little orange thing (voiced by Danny DeVito), with a pretty well maintained mustache appears on screen to welcome us to the tale at the onset of the film. He’s certainly cute but the rhymes he drops sound somewhat watered down. And then before you know it, the entire thing turns into a giant musical number to introduce the good people of Thneedville that make up the story. It is awkward and uncomfortable to watch and while I’m sure Renaud imagined this opening as a grand and triumphant celebration of Dr. Seuss, it merely only serves to confirm that this will be a Seuss translation that doesn’t sustain its expansion into a feature length film. I’m no Seuss expert but I’m pretty sure he would never have used the phrase, “I know, right.”


Weak rhymes and unsuccessful modernization aside, THE LORAX is weighty and that is ultimately its undoing. Ted (Zac Efron) tries to impress a girl (Taylor Swift) by finding her a real tree in a world made entirely of plastic. In doing so, he meets The Once-ler (Ed Helms), who proceeds to tell him about how he chopped them all down long ago to pursue his own greedy needs. Let alone that the entire motivation of this story is about a girl and not really about the environment itself, the manner in which The Once-ler’s story’s is told is almost condemning. By the time he sings about how bad could he possibly be for pushing his own agenda at the expense of the planet, towering on screen and painted as this evil, destructive giant, I was done with it. It’s one thing to use media to scare adults into conforming but its a whole other level of wrong to use that same tactic on children. At least, the movie looks pretty.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is on 10.

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June 21, 2012
To say I hated this film... is kind of an understatement.  It's just not a movie I really enjoyed at all.  I actually don't see the appeal.  So in terms of Dr. Seuss Adaptations that have impressed me... it's still 0 for 4.  But the animated shorts that were around 25 minutes or so?  Very well done.

Here I think it was the whole, playing up the evil corporate giant thing far too much that really bothered me because it felt like it underminded what the film really wanted to say by simply scapegoating and blaming corporations.  The original story, if I remember correctly, didn't look too fondly on corporations either, but Dr. Seuss painted them as more irresponsible than outright evil. 

And the story they ADDED to it just seemed unfocused to.  In particular the whole idea of Thneedville.  Mr. O' Hare was even worse as a villain than the Once Ler.  And at the end of it all I kept asking myself, "What are the negative consequences of Ted failing to plant that last seed anyway?"  It wasn't like life was going to stop or anything.  They pretty much would've kept living as they were, but the movie never quite showed what was so bad about the way they were living. 

It just came across like the movie was talking down to everyone in the audience.  The adults and the children without every doing anything to actually play up its message.
March 03, 2012
Such a wonderful book. I'm not too enthusiastic about seeing this in theaters, which is probably why I won't. Excellent review.
March 03, 2012
Thanks! I really wanted this film to be more enjoyable.
March 02, 2012
I am not too familiar with Seuss "Lorax" so maybe I'll like this one a little more than you. I am about to see this in a few hours. Be right back....Hey, thanks for reviewing a movie for us again, Joseph! How have you been?
March 03, 2012
Good to be back! With the Oscars, I don't usually review a lot leading up to them. I am writing a few this weekend so they might be coming at you sooner than you know it. What did you think of the film now that you've seen it?
March 02, 2012
I had similar problems with Horton Hears a Who. I don't know why everyone liked that movie so much.
March 02, 2012
I agree. A lot of people I know really liked it. I guess people liked its slapstick style and how some scenes payed homage to the source?
March 03, 2012
I actually enjoyed Horton Hears a Who. By no means was it a great adaptation of the source material, but I thought it was entertaining for what it was, and the voice actors really breathed a lot of life into their respective roles.
March 03, 2012
I actually quite liked Horton Hears a Who as well. For me, it is one of the only successful Seuss feature adaptations. It maintains the book's charm and aesthetic and doesn't lose the tone in the expansion.
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 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 …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … 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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MPAA Rating: G
Screen Writer: Dr. Seuss, Ken Daurio

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"The Lorax"
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