One of the lesser known, at least to hear most people talk about it, Dr. Seuss stories comes to life in the animated feature, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. You can’t turn on the TV or grab fast food lately without seeing that enormous moustache attached to the short, pudgy, orange body. Even if the story is unrecognizable you can guarantee that every little kid under 10 is familiar with the character; thanks to some massive marketing campaigns. So the question to parents isn’t if you are going to see it, but when.
The story is about a young boy named Ted (v- Zac Efron ) who lives in a town that is completely void of natural landscaping. Even the air is provided by a large corporation ran by the power hungry, Mr. O’Hare (v- Rob Riggle). All the trees and shrubs are inflatable or plastic. This is fine by everyone because they have been convinced that life is better this way. Neater. Cleaner. When a cute young lass named Audrey (v -Taylor Swift) tells Ted she would love to have a real tree, this smitten young guy makes it his sole mission. To aid him in his task his Grammy Norma (v-Betty White) tells him to seek out The Lorax (v-Danny DeVito), a cantankerous yet big hearted creature who speaks for the trees and does all he can to protect them.
There is a story within a story as Ted seeks out this strange Lorax. He starts by visiting the The Once-ler (v-Ed Helms) who tells Ted about his own encounter with The Lorax long ago and the lesson he learned from not heeding his warning of saving the environment. As The Once-ler tells ted, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better…it’s not.” Like the book, this story is a huge push towards protecting the environment. At times it is a little heavy handed in how it portrays corporations as evil and the root of all our natural ailments. But more vital is the cute and highly entertaining way it goes about telling kids the importance of nature.
The Lorax speaks for the trees. He is the original tree hugger. And he is serious about them. DeVito is the perfect voice for The Lorax and you sort of get caught up in the character. Like The Lorax, DeVito comes across gruff but you know inside he is a big old softy. Your teens and tweens will gravitate toward the voices of Efron and Swift. They both do a fine job but you have a sense they were cast strictly for their mass appeal to the demographic. It is safe to say that Ed Helms has one of the most prominent characters in the story, and yes, like in Hangover and the Office, Ed has to sing once or twice.
This is an all-around cute movie. Ted’s puppy love crush on Audrey is endearing in how he would do anything just to get her attention. Also the side plot of the evil Mr. O’Hare adds that sinister nugget that is needed for balance. Though not quite on the same level as Despicable Me it has similar visuals. It was created by the same people and rumor has it that Margo actually wears a LORAX t’shirt in DM. Sort of their way of teasing this one.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is rated PG for brief mild language. It must be real brief because I can’t recall it. This film is made for the 12 and under crowd. The story is charming, there are a plethora of heart melting, cute, fluffy animals; and it is only about 90 minutes long. Score for the parents! Actually the older audience members will find themselves enjoying this one too. It has just enough imagination and fun characters to engage the whole family; but no doubt it is aimed squarely at the tikes. I give it 3.5 out of 5 layers of artificial turf. A unique story with an all too important message. Not a bad combo for an afternoon with the kids.
Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.