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Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

A CGI animated movie directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda

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"....Unless Someone Like You Cares a Whole Awful Lot, Nothing is Going To Get Better. It's Not."

  • Mar 3, 2012
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 re-interprets the Seuss tale for more modern audiences and has the same style that had made “Horton Hears a Who” successful in its own way with some musical touches and the slapstick humor that made “Despicable Me” cute.

                    The Lorax in "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

A young boy filled with ideas named Ted (Zac Efron) who lives in a sort of ‘artificial’ town called “Thneed-ville” to shield it inhabitants from the barren wasteland that surrounds it. Ted is also smitten with a girl named Audrey (Taylor Swift) and her obsession with trees motivates the boy to get her one. With the urging of his grandma (Betty White), Ted goes beyond the walls of the protected town, to hear a story told by the “Once-Ler” (Ed Helms) in the hopes of finding Audrey her tree. The story tells of the beginnings of the Once-Ler and the Lorax (Danny DeVito); and it may just hold secrets that O’Hare (Rob Riggle), wants to keep buried so that he could maintain power over “Thneed-ville”…

                      Ted in "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

                      A scene from "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

I am not exactly to familiar with the children’s book that had inspired this film. But I suppose it would be safe to say that the film merely grabs its concept and modernizes the devices to fit the young minds of this generation. I am sure that many folks who had loved Seuss’ original work may become disappointed; I understand and I don’t blame them since I dislike unneeded variations from comic books. I suppose in re-interpreting the material, the filmmakers wanted to relate to the young minds in the way they thought they could.

The film does have some cautionary themes about ‘industrialization’ and themes about abusing natural resources as well as human greed. I suppose the film wanted to relate and apply Seuss’ creation to current real world events, while being ‘environmentally themed‘. We’ve all seen resources used to the extent of running out, how too much technology and business can make a place lose touch with the natural riches offered in this planet--”what you do in the past affects the future“ and you ‘reap what you sow’, so to speak. There is a commentary about people being able to choose to be blind as long as they seem happy, unless someone comes along to give inspiration and vision. There are good moral messages in the film, and the screenplay by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul manages to get those messages across in a mix of flashbacks, narration, musical numbers, fast moving energetic scenes and slapstick humor.

                       Once-ler in "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

                       A scene from "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

The animation work in the film is splendid. The set designs are colorful and radiant, the town of “Thneed-ville” definitely a ‘artificial’ architectural marvel in its own right; it is a fake, beautiful town that hid something grim. Through the Once-Ler’s narration, you see the world of the past (no doubt more influenced by the Seuss’ book) where the colors were even brighter and more radiant because of nature. The set designs then take a much more grim, dark and colorless look once nature had been ruined by abuse. It was totally cool how the set designs reflected a time, more curious that the past appeared more magical with the guardian of the forest, and I suppose the slight commentary on “believing in the impossible” and on spirituality becomes lost when one becomes too reliant on technology.

Once the film settles in with the Ted-Once-Ler interactions, the film becomes more of a chase film as Ted and Audrey try to go against ‘established’ hierarchy and society. O’Hare makes a good antagonist, and the designs on the “Moe Like” character matches the expressions, gestures and voice-acting. Ted and Audrey were the usual ‘cock-eyed optimists” and their look were an expression of the innocence and optimism we see in youth. I have to say, Betty White almost stole the show as “Grammy Norma”, and I sure wished she had more of a screen time since she was the past and present rolled into one. I saw the influences of “Despicable Me” around the character designs, I did not see this in 3D but I could imagine how the film may look much more stellar with the effects.

                       Norma in "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

                       A scene from "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

Alright, so I guess it would be safe to say that I liked the film. It is entertaining, but I can imagine that the 70’s animated special with the same name may be more faithful to the beloved children’s book despite it being more of a two-character piece. “The Lorax” had the right intentions at heart; despite some updates and deviations to the source material that some may agree with while many may not be too pleased with, it is a good animated film. The animation, the voice acting and direction did a credible update, and may serve to inspire young minds to once again pick up the book.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

                       Poster art for "The Lorax 3D."

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June 28, 2012
As you know... I really REALLY did not like this film.  Mostly because I felt there was a lot of missed potential more so than anything.  I might calm down later.  I was just really disappointed that they had so many good ideas that they just sat there and did nothing with... or just let them float haphazardly.

I like the review, though.  In the future my opinion of the film might change.  But as it stands now, it was just hard to really get behind this one. 
March 08, 2012
I really want to see this one man, great review.
March 09, 2012
You will have fun with it!
March 05, 2012
I remember reading the book and watching the TV special back in 1994 or 95', though I doubt I'll be seeing this since this isn't my thing. Great review!!
March 06, 2012
Thanks, David! Oh, btw, thanks for the message on that collection in amazon. I am on my way to order it as soon as I am done here.
March 04, 2012
I've read some mixed reviews about the movie here on Lunch; Brandi wants to see this one - she was a huge Dr. Seuss book fan when she was little. When I tell her you liked it, she'll want to see it LOL - she always asks "What does Will The Woo think of this movie?" when she sees previews on TV. Thanks for the great review Will.
March 04, 2012
really? aww....thanks! I mean the fact that you talk to your kids about my reviews make feel all warm and fuzzy. That motivates me to write more....
March 05, 2012
Yeah, every time a new one comes out she asks me if you have reviewed it yet LOL. If I say "Will didn't like it very much" she asks how many stars you gave it -- she has faith in your reviews! Yes my dear, you have that effect LOL
March 05, 2012
awww.....you better show me her photo in FB.
March 05, 2012
I just posted a pic of her on FB for her 13th Birthday - but the best pics of her are in my photo albums. She's not gonna like the one I posted just now LOL - she was having a bad hair day!
More Dr. Seuss' The Lorax reviews
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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About this movie


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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