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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.
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 ***
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!
For More Reviews: www.cultfilmfreaks.com
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'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 ***
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.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." Ted (Efron) is just like any boy. Rides around on his bike trying to impress the love of his life Audrey (Swift). Her dream is to see a real live tree. The city they live in is made of plastic and air is sold in bottles. When Ted's grandma (White) tells him of a man called the Once-ler (Helms) he risks everything to go and talk to him. I have to admit the only reason I really watched this is because my daughter wanted to see it. I am actually glad she forced me to go because I really enjoyed it. There is enough adult stuff mixed in to make it enjoyable for everyone and not just kids. Danny DeVito being cast as the Lorax is genius and actually makes it funnier. I expected this to be a total "Save the world from humans" type movie but while the message was there it didn't seem preachy and was more funny then anything. If you are looking for a good family movie this is one of the best ones to come out in a while. Overall, much, much better then I expected and one of the best family movies in the last few years. I give it an A, my daughter gives in an A+.
The Lorax is one of the best movies I've ever seen, but it's also one
of the most troubling. Its depth politically is, I believe, unmatched
in children's literature; Dr. Seuss is truly a master, but this is,
like Cirque du Soleil, art for which you might need to be prepared.
By telling you to "be prepared," however, I don't mean to say you should go read up on film history. Sure, you'll miss a trick or two if you don't, but there's enough material to keep you very, very interested even if you're not a film student. Nor, in fact, should you even feel the need to read up on American history; it suffices to say that, to be very simplistic about it, as the France was to Algeria at the time, so U.S. was to Vietnam. Really, if you wanted to be ready for ALL the intellectual references and name-dropping, you ought to have a good classical education. That's hard to get, so I can't possibly suggest that...
What I do mean by "be prepared" is: be prepared for colors that might not make sense, be prepared to consider your place in the world... be prepared to think about the movie while it's running. Hollywood encourages us to turn off our brains while we're watching a movie; Seuss doesn't allow it. His books are intentionally aggravating and annoying at times, but Seuss knows precisely what he's doing, and he manipulates the reader expertly. (The infamous "Sneetches" is to this day the most annoying and at the same time one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.) Be prepared to consider your place in society, society's place in the world, and the problems of those situations. Seuss raises numerous incredibly important questions: what is the final fate of literature and the wealths of past generations handed down after political upheaval is finished with them? what is the point of any rhetoric-- communist or otherwise-- in a world of selfish, stupid bourgeois pigs (and, as anyone who's ever worked in fast food will tell you, this one is)? does art even have a purpose in a marketplace? I personally disagree with those who claim that The Lorax is dated and only interesting historically. The message is only obscured to us because the draft is no longer in full swing and because the entertainment industry has succeeded in lulling us into false security. We still have our Vietnams, though they may be secret; and, facts must be faced, most of us are still complete and total jerks, caring very little for the world around us and very much for our own pleasure. At the heart of Dr. Seuss' movie is a deep and abiding love and compassion for humanity; the decadence of the world around us, however, forces the surface of the film to be cynical and hateful toward all the disgusting influences which keep us from being what we could be, and manifesting itself in the various real-world consumer products we see in literally every other scene.
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.
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