“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, which is what I do and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” – Dr. Seuss
He meant what he said, and he said what he meant. I completely agree, one hundred percent.
I love, Love, LOVE Dr. Seuss, which is why I didn’t like the new animated movie adaptation of his book, The Lorax.
They completely un-Seussed it.
Dr. Seuss is the King of Clever and this movie was anything but.
Instead of waking up my brain cells, the meaningless nonsense of this movie made them hit the snooze button.
Sure, kids will like it because of the elaborate animation effects and the fuzzy little Lorax and his forest friends are cute, but its depth and consistency are seriously lacking. It was the classic cop out of taking a clever, concise children’s story and stretching the heck out of it with cheap fillers to fit a 90-minute cinematic quota – forgettable songs, belabored action scenes, lame jokes, and static new cast members.
Did we learn nothing from The Polar Express?
You know it’s bad when the major focus of a scene becomes a bag of marshmallows.
The reason why the 1966 animated special of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is still the best adaptation of Seuss’s work is because it was all Seuss – the rhymes, the characters, and the scenery verbatim. The only thing added was one song, which was killer. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch sung by the distinct bellows of Thurl Ravenscroft was a perfect musical Seussical addition.
Though I do love Dr. Seuss books, The Lorax is not one of my favorites. Though he tackles the controversial topics of environmentalism and capitalism with his usual nonsensical charm, the overall feel of the book is heavier than most of his other stories. But they still could have represented the great work of Dr. Seuss better than they did.
I don’t think liberal Hollywood bringing one of Seuss’s most politically-charged stories to cinematic life as a battle between bullied tree huggers vs. corporate money grubbers during an election year was an accident either.
With that in mind, the major contradiction of this weak adaptation is that they dilute their own political cause by changing the motivation factor of the story. In the book, a young boy wants to know what happened to all the Truffula trees and how he can help bring them back. In the movie, the boy, Ted (Zac Efron), only wants to find out what happened to the trees and get his hands on one because he’s gaga over granola chick Audry (Taylor Swift), who apparently cares about what happened to the trees but has never done anything to find out for herself except for paint a big mural of trees on her house.
Ted would probably light a match and set the forest on fire right in front of Smokey the Bear if Audrey wanted him to.
Another mega oversight of this film is the misuse of casting two pop culture singing icons and never having either of them sing a SINGLE SONG!
If I have to suffer through 1 1/2 hours of neutered Seuss to bond with my children, at least humor my cougar crush with a little Zac Efron crooning, or give me a catchy tune from Taylor Swift to upload as a ring tone for my phone.
There are a few redeeming qualities. The bike that Ted cruised around on was a sweet ride. The tire was like one of those big exercise balls with tread. I want one. Danny DeVito as the Lorax was great. A small, furry, loveable creature with the voice of a chain-smoking Mafia lord is a great contrasting schtick. The Lorax picking himself up by his behind to float away was also true Seuss.
The biggest irony of all is that this cinematic adaptation of The Lorax serves as its own metaphor for the original story. Like the Truffula tree forest, Seuss’s classic was better off the way it was before Hollywood hacked into it to turn a capitalistic profit.
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” – Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish