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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to see this movie with two girl friends of mine. Throughout the
movie, one of them kept groaning and sighing at the same parts I did.
The other later accused us of never having been kids. I think they
might both be right.
If you were ever a child, you are probably familiar with Doctor Seuss's 'The Lorax', a tale of a world where man's greed and selfishness has eradicated all the trees in favor of their escapist man-made town. It's a charming yet somewhat depressing book as the main character realizes what he's destroyed, yet leaves a glimmer of hope at the end as he passes off the last tree seed to a young boy to plant. As a kid, I loved the bittersweet end, as it got the message across and made me want to care about preserving nature.
The movie, on the other hand, left me thoroughly unimpressed. Let me get the good parts out of the way first. Naturally, the art style is fantastic and whimsical, as all Seuss work is. Danny Devito does a great job as the Lorax, and I feel it's pretty safe to say that the parts of the story actually focusing on the Lorax himself were indeed enjoyable. That is, with the exception of a badly placed musical number, which makes any sorrow at the trees being destroyed seem diluted. You should be upset that the Lorax leaves us, but I was more upset that I WASN'T upset.
Unfortunately, the part of the story focusing on the boy trying to find a tree was tiresome. It's a case where the book was more dramatic than the story - nature had been ravaged, and nobody cared about it except for one boy. In the movie, it's basically all because of some horribly stereotyped evil characters - Once-ler himself is painted as naive but still a good person, but the creators apparently didn't want him to seem corrupt in chopping down all the trees so they have his redneck family do it for him. And the business tycoon Mr. O-Hare is just ridiculously evil. I'm not going to say that big businessmen shouldn't be villains or anything like that , but the point of the original book was that all of mankind had stopped caring, whereas the movie says it's the fault of Once-ler and O'hare entirely, the latter of who deliberately is keeping people clueless about trees. I just feel the ending would have been far more dramatically appropriate if, instead of having a cliché'd (and underwhelming) chase scene where he shows everybody O'hare is evil, if he instead needed to actually CONVINCE people that trees were worth caring about (he convinces them by knocking down a wall at the end. Apparently in the last 15 or so years nobody had even once looked outside.) Additionally, when he finally plants the seed, all the other trees start growing again. Not sure how, but it makes me wonder - if that's all it took, why didn't Once-ler try to plant the seed 15 years ago?
Also, they throw in a 'hip grandmother' pretty much entirely because they know grandparents will be taking their kid. At one point the romantic interest actually says 'Wow, how cool is your grandmother'. This bothered me for some reason. Perhaps because I have no soul.
Also, it's apparently a musical, something that the ads failed to mention. I'm not against musicals, but the combined fact that 1.) i wasn't prepared for that (Despicable Me, their previous movie, had none) and 2.) the music was... bland. I can't remember any of it and i just got out 20 minutes ago. Also, as I said earlier, one musical number completely ruins the tragic mood it tried to set with the trees getting chopped down.
I know that it can be hard translating a Seuss book, usually with only 20 or 30 pages, into a feature film is a tough task. But honestly, if you don't even get the theme right then you have failed in your task. Lorax is enjoyable in a lot of parts, but the parts that aren't AREN'T.
Final verdict: 5/10. Your kids might like it, but the uninspired music, botched ending, and boring finale are real game breakers.
...in this case, changes from the book/original TV short. A lot of
people have been lamenting the "frame story" this movie adds in, as
well as the idea of making the Once-ler a human character. As far as
the frame goes, it's done pretty well. It's a bit flat but perfectly
enjoyable for younger kids. Making the Once-ler human, though?
BRILLIANT. Hear me out. The original Once-ler was a faceless force of
destruction, a shadowy embodiment of greed. This Once-ler is just a
stupid kid with a dream, a guy who wants to change the world. He's not
evil, but he lets his success get to his head, and that brings about
his own downfall and the destruction of the forest. That's FANTASTIC,
and here's why: that's how the world really is! Companies don't sit
around all day cackling about how much smog they're pumping into the
atmosphere; it's a process, and something that happened gradually.
Obliviousness is just as dangerous as maliciousness, and that's a
really powerful lesson. This can happen to YOU if you're not careful;
anybody can hurt the planet if they don't pay attention. That's a rare
lesson, and one I'm really pleased to see in this movie.
So, is it silly and stupid sometimes? Yes, of course. But it's colorful and exuberant, and in a lot of ways I think it really captured the "Seuss-ness" that similar remakes have missed. There's nothing offensive about it (besides the miserable marketing) and my little brother enjoyed it as a fun movie. I enjoyed it for giving us a deeper--and in my opinion, very powerful--character type: the accidental villain, the everydude who makes a horrible mistake that the environment suffers for. So take that as you will...but overall, I found myself liking this a lot more than I expected. Definitely worth a watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you think Hollywood is the greediest moneygrubbing plastic city in
the world, think again and welcome to Thneedville, where every overly
promoted, abundantly commercialized item costs bundles and, scariest of
all, there are no trees. Enter Ted, a kid smitten with a gorgeous girl
Audrey, who has only one wish painted along the back of her house are
tall skinny things resembling straws harboring wispy windblown cotton
candy. These are the long forgotten trees, and she wants one, a real
one, badly. Through his wise old granny, Ted learns of The Once-ler, a
hermit residing on the outskirts of the shallow metropolis: walled in
and policed by a wicked, and very short, dictator O'Hare.
But Ted gets easily past the border and, using his power scooter, zips into a dark flatland where he finds a faceless hermit in a spooky house. Here he learns the backstory and what the film's all about: Once-ler was once a poor farm boy who discovered a land abundant in nature and cutesy animals. He realizes, to make his dream invention what he calls the Thneed (think of a Bionic Snuggie) he has to chop down a tree: which summons our titular hero, The Lorax. This mustached, peanut-shaped, blunt yet lovable orange creature (voiced by Danny DeVito) is an underdog environmentalist that can only point the Once-ler toward wisdom. But becoming a powerful businessman is Once-ler's priority and his Thneed's a big hit until all the trees are gone.
Now we're back with Ted, whose input means very little especially since the title character (who has surprisingly minimal screen time and plot relevance) is history and the real tale has been told. Nevertheless, Ted's final mission is to plant one last seed. Although the greedy O'Hare who sells clean air in cans and fake trees for big bucks wants him stopped.
Kids will enjoy the wonderfully vivid animation and the cutesy characters, especially a bear cub and singing fish residing in the tree-laden forest. Here's where the most involving, fast-paced action occurs. And the overly obvious environmental message works in scenes where each tree falls to their death: like best friends dying slowly, and painfully, before your very eyes.
But once the movie ends with a corny singalong about letting it grow, you'll realize this ninety-minute tale was really just a message with lots of vibrant color: Other than a greedy entrepreneur cutting down trees to make money and then realizing his mistake, not much really happens.
Yet the real moral of this anti-capitalist movie is that it grossed a whopping $70 million this weekend. But since spending, and making, large amounts of money is a bad thing, you can do the producers a favor: instead of paying $14 bucks to watch THE LORAX, go plant a tree!
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If someone walked up to you in the street with a rock that had THE
MORAL written on it in capital letters, and them proceeded to beat you
about the head with it, it would be more subtle than this movie.
It was trite, preachy, and more full of flagrant cliché than any movie I have ever seen.
The thing I loved most about Seuss was his ability to nestle a moral gently and concisely under layers of symbolism. Yes, his stories were sometimes over the top and hyperbolic, in an endearing way, but they made their point and moved on.
As I am now.
If you love Seuss, and do not want to risk ruining everything that his genius taught you, do not watch this movie.
It's hard for Hollywood to make an adaptation of a book by Dr. Seuss.
Especially if it's something like The Lorax. The Lorax is one of Dr.
Seuss' darkest tales with a serious sentiment. This film adaptation
keeps the story but it focuses too much to its fun characters and
gimmickry of the 3D than the environmental message. It leaves the
message as the background of the film. As a whole, it's colorful and
fun but it feels very different.
The film adds a lot of new things to stretch this small story. Like the Once-ler reveals his face and the kid from from the beginning has a different motive why he went to the Once-ler. It's strange and clever. This is from the creators of Despicable Me and the studio's trademark is to add some cute comic relief characters. The Humming Fish, Swomee Swans, and The Barbaloots are cute enough.
It's easy to say that Danny DeVito is perfect as the Lorax and Ed Helms is a bit charming as the Once-ler. Everything in this film fun. The songs are pretty good although it's not quite memorable. What disappoints here is the execution of the story. Yes, the message is there but it feels like it's just the background of the film. More goes to the fun. There's nothing wrong with that but it's too light for this dark story.
The film has the heart and soul to show Dr. Seuss' illustration but the storytelling feels too different. The message is there but it's not as compelling as the book. It's pretty hard to say it's a bad film because it's entertaining and fun. It's hard to say it's great because it lacks eagerness to the message. It seems like Horton Hears A Who will remain as the best Dr. Seuss adaptation so far.
I can't believe (well, yes I can) that people gave this a bad review. I
was afraid I was going to be disappointed when I saw the Lorax, based
on some reviews, but I wasn't at all. My 11 year old and I both loved
the movie, she laughed out loud at many parts (although I have to admit
she does do that a lot watching movies) and we left very pleased that
we saw it.
Background: I grew up on Dr. Seuss, my six kids grew up with Dr. Seuss. We love Dr. Seuss even as adults. We've read the book, we've seen the original movie. I have two vegetarian older daughters, we are environmentally conscious. Also, we like musicals and my father was a music teacher - so finding out it was a musical was not a disappointment. There was definitely NOT a lot of musical numbers. If you hate musicals, I think the songs are infrequent enough that you can groan through it and let your kid enjoy the movie. That said, despite all the reviews on bad music, we thought the songs were lively and fun and cute. You're not gonna go out and buy a record for it, but it fit the movie for the kids it was targeted to.
Like another reviewer said: THIS IS A MOVIE FOR KIDS!! As with any movie, it's geared toward a certain age group. People who take two-year olds to the theater must be crazy, taking them to see this movie is no exception. Granted, there's cute fuzzy bears, but there's a story being told and a lesson - definitely geared toward elementary/pre-teens, not the yo gabba gabba crowd. Your toddler or active pre-schooler will not sit through this.
My opinion is also based on the fact that we do not watch a lot of movies or TV, (I'm a firm believer that kids should be outside playing), and we are certainly not film or animation connoisseurs. I can see how someone used to intense-graphics and action-packed films would get bored with this. It is a story. If you like kid stories, you will like this. We did not find it boring, I thought it was well told, and it held our interest all the way through.
Is it like the original? There's a lot different, a little similar. I don't think I've ever seen a movie that was like the book. Book is always better. Contrary to what another reviewer said about no rhyming, there are rhymes and some book quotes in the movie.
When they redid Cat in the Hat, I didn't like it, didn't like what they did with the Cat character at all, but my kids did. I liked The Lorax, and my daughter did. (The others are in college and haven't seen it yet...but they will I'm sure.) I'm somewhat sensitive to violence and scariness in movies (but not overly so), and I feel this is safe to take your kids to if they get scared easy. There's occasional moments when I had to roll my eyes up and think "did X really have to punch X at that moment" - but it's not violent or scary at all. Your kid won't go home with nightmares or shooting people. Maybe they'll even plant a tree.
If you have elementary/pre-teen kids I highly recommend this movie for you and your kids.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Screenplay writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio adapt Dr. Seuss's book The Lorax about a grumpy forest creature, who isn't quite ready to share his world of brightly colored fuzzy trees. The creators of DESPICABLE ME takes a header with this CGI and 3D feature. Animated films like this one rely on the vocal talents of its stars. Diverse stars sometimes bring life to enjoyable looking scenes. And sometimes you have a whirl of pretty cinematography going nowhere. You decide. Twelve year old Ted(Zac Efron)is wanting to impress the sweetheart of his dreams Audrey(Taylor Swift)by presenting her with her heart's desire...a tree. In the process Ted will meet up with The Lorax(Danny DeVito), the keeper of the only trees, and exchange thoughts of hope, love and promise. Miss Betty White is wasted giving voice to Ted's Grammy Norma. DeVito at least probably earned his paycheck. Efron is as interesting as plaster. Swift was sweet enough. When I viewed THE LORAX, the only real reactions I noticed came from the "pull-up diaper set". I would imagine Dr. Seuss might be a little disappointed too.
I'm a little dumbstruck as to why the ratings for "The Lorax" are so
low. I usually decide on which movies to watch based on their IMDb
ratings, and so unfortunately only got around to watching it a couple
of days ago. In a number of reviews I had read previously, there were
smacks of political overtones, blah, blah, blah. Are you serious?!
Take the movies at face value and enjoy it! The songs were brilliant, the plot was fast-moving and didn't allow for a dull moment. I watched it with my 4-year-old daughter, and she has an eye for good movies. She watched "The Lorax" for the 5th time yesterday.
I like bloody TV series like Dexter, the overly sarcastic "Doctor House" and the sexually explicit "Game of Thrones"... and I absolutely love(d) "The Lorax". Give me more of the same. It was freaking funny, entertaining and endearing all in one.
Put aside your preconceived socio political notions and what you think the movie should be about... and watch it for its entertainment value. Nothing more, nothing less.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I saw the trailers to this movie, I was groaning. The book and
original animated movie were both very good, and upon seeing this
remake with the love plot, and the whimsical antics really put me off
it. I thought I would see it anyway and hoped it would surprise me,
like Up. I was pleasantly surprised (but my expectations were very low,
so that wasn't hard). First off, the animation/design. The animation
was very good, and the scenes indicated that it was made for 3d (which
it was). The designs are very Dr. Seuss like, the birds and fish were
very similar to the book, as were the trees (the fish looked similar to
the one in the Cat in the Hat). The streets and roads were ridiculously
wavy and loopy, so they were exactly like a Dr. Seuss creation. The
Lorax was very similar to the book as well. Now lets look at what the
movie does good and bad in terms of characters/plot. This is a
remake/expansion, I didn't expect it to be accurate to the book
entirely. The Plot is; a young boy wants to find a tree for a girl, so
he leaves town to talk to the Oncler, the only person who's ever seen a
tree (apparently). The Oncler tells of the time when trees were active,
and the Lorax who protested to the Oncler's removal of them. With this
knowledge, the boy seeks to restore the trees to the city despite a
rich business man trying to stop him. This business man sells air. It's
kept in bottles and cans, like water (Spaceballs reference?). He's just
a generic, corporate bad guy, and not a very interesting one. The main
complaint I have with this movie is the romantic subplot. It feels like
this was created to rationalize caring for the trees (maybe I'm
misreading), it seems unnecessary and annoying. Many of the Jokes fell
flat for me (but that's a matter of personal preference). The movie
should have been about the Oncler and the Lorax. I liked the direction
the movie went with the relationship between the Lorax and Oncler, it
was a tragic friendship which played out pretty well (I thought it
should have been given the forefront instead of the made-for-this-movie
romance plot). The relationship could have been done better with more
interactions as the Oncler rises in wealth, but for what it is, it's
pretty good. The Songs also annoyed me. They were kind of annoying and
saccharine (with an added comment from the characters to sometimes
point this out, as if to say "look at this, its so cutesy but its okay
because we've pointed this out"). the only song I enjoyed was:
Spoiler The song where the Oncler grows in fame, wealth, and power. He justifies his actions with an excuse that many businessmen use (what am I doing wrong, its not illegal, no one's stopped me, so it must be okay). As the song goes on, the Oncler gets bigger, and more threatening, as more trees die and factories pop up. In the end the Lorax is left dejected. Spoiler ends
The Oncler was human in this movie, and the audience could see him clearly, but in the books his face and race were obscure (this can go either way, in terms of audience favor, but I didn't mind it).
The Grandma was okay, she played too much into the lively whimsical old person archetype, and that was okay (her antics could be weird, and kind of annoying sometimes thought). I thought the voice work was okay
Spoiler The environmental message was a pretty good one. Clear cut that saving trees is good, and people need them. The reason the boy goes was better in the original (being the only one who cared, and not because he wanted to impress a girl). The original also had the theme of Apathy, people stopped caring, so the forest died, and the Lorax just faded away. The Oncler regrets his actions and gives the last seed to the boy he told the story to. The remake continues on after that, showing the antics of the boy and his family and girlfriend as they outwit the generic corporate villain, and plant the tree, showing that the people were just in the dark, and willing to start a new. Personally, I liked the original ending, where the Oncler just gives the seed to the boy, and tells him to plant it. With that the Oncler just goes in doors, and the boy walks off with the seed. There was a sort of ambiguity, could the boy raise the trees again, and bring people to care again? Basically, it was up to the audience to decide whether the boy would succeed, and if we should try and save the trees. The movie shows that he does succeed, and that the people are just misinformed, not that they don't care (which trashes the apathy theme). I did like how End of spoiler, but..
The ending in the movie was heartwarming, but I prefer the original, where it was depressing, but there was still some hope.
The credits did have Dr. Seuss drawings, which was a nice touch (don't stay after the credits though, there is no other scene). I personally prefer the original movie, the themes were better, and the romantic plot tumor wasn't present. The animation is far superior, but this adaptation falls shy of the original. I personally say that a good environmental film is Princess Mononoke, and a bad one is Ferngully (Tim Curry was still cool though), neither should be a baseline comparison for any green messaged film. This film was okay, its not the original, it's its own film. I think that this film could have been much better, but it is what it is, and any Dr. Seuss fan should check it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the problems with the recent attempts to adapt Dr. Seuss' books
into movies is Hollywood's tendency to intrude upon his work with cute,
snappy dialogue and slapstick comedy, and expand on appropriately thin
material with gobs of hip-cool dialogue and needless subplots. Anyone
familiar with Dr. Seuss' books knows that this is completely the wrong
approach. A good example is "The Lorax", the 1971 book which was about
the depletion of the environment through industrial carelessness. The
book ends with a somber, but hopeful, message that the environment
could be saved by one caring individual. The movie ends with a car
chase. You can see the problem here.
The original story involved a little boy who arrived, under "smog-smuggered sky", to see a hermit called The Once-ler, who lived in sad looking structure atop his store. For a small fee, the guilt-ridden Once-ler laid out the story of how the land got so filthy. Years before, he had arrived in this land when it was brimming with bountiful color and life and how he decimated that life by cutting down all the Truffala Trees in order to make a product called The Thneed. Despite dire warnings from the forest guardian called The Lorax, the Once-ler continued his profligate ways until he turned the once beautiful landscape into a desolate wasteland.
The book never gave the boy a name, an origin, or a reason for coming to see The Once-ler (he was meant to represent the reader). Not so in the movie. The boy is called Ted Wiggins and he lives in a completely artificial town of Thneedville, which is completely devoid of anything natural and surrounded by a large steel wall. His reason for seeking out The Once-ler is that he wants to impress a girl by bringing her a Truffala Tree, which are extinct. Exiting the town on his motorbike, he goes to find The Once-ler, who spells out his story.
Much of the movie flashes back in time to tell how The Once-ler (who was never seen in the book, but is often seen here) came to destroy this beautiful forest. The Lorax, who "speaks for the trees" wants the Once-ler to stop his wasteful means and move on, but The Once-ler sees profit in logging and won't stop. That's good enough, but why did we need a subplot in which Ted tries to stop a greedy industrialist called Mr. O'Hare (who has made millions selling bottles of fresh air) from planting trees? Worse, why did we need a happy ending? Why did the book's hopeful ending get drawn out into a roller-coaster car chase around Thneedville followed by a lame musical number? Even more puzzling is why the screenwriters decided to throw away Dr. Seuss' dialogue. The magic of Seuss' stories lay in his dances of words and a distinctive rhyming structure. The movie has none of this. The characters speak in the kinds of smart-alecky phrases that every animated feature these days seems to incorporate. That means quips, insults, clever asides and buzz words. The title is painfully misleading.
The basic problem is that the filmmakers didn't have the courage to follow the original work. Their movie represents a fear that telling such a deep and sorrowful story will offend viewers who might ask for their money back. Their movie is blown up, wrapped up and packaged as silly musical comedy with an environmental message buried in the corner. This isn't the worst movie of the year, but it is certainly the most weak-kneed.
Will kids enjoy it? As a diversion for a Saturday afternoon, probably, but it would do an injustice to introduce this story to them through this movie. The only positive is that it will probably exit their brains almost as soon as it is over. Revisit the book and you'll that there is a reason that Dr. Suess' story has remained in our minds for 40 years. If Dr. Seuss had written his book as it plays out in this movie, it would have long been lost into the dustbins of history, which where this wrong-headed movie is very likely headed.
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