I was never overly familiar with The Lorax. It wasn’t one of the Seuss books that I owned and cuddled and opened up all the time just to look at the pictures. In fact, if the commercials hadn’t made it fairly clear, I wouldn’t have remembered what The Lorax was about at all. Cutting down trees to make thneeds… vaguely familiar, but again, not a strong Seuss memory for me like Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Still, it looked like a fun movie. And it looked funner and friendlier than Horton Hears a Who. I still don’t really get the evil vulture in that story. Also it had Ed Helms! So who could resist?
The Lorax is a story of a city entirely made of plastic, with no single growing thing other than people. Because of this, the air is ultra-polluted, but one man decides to bottle clean air and sell it. One girl has heard about trees, though, and wants nothing more than to have a real tree growing in her own backyard, so the boy who likes her decides he’s going to go and find her a tree. He is lead to the Once-ler by his grandmother, and from him, learns the strange tale of the Lorax, and what happened to the trees in the first place.
Ultimately this was a fun movie. The colors were so bright and happy that you couldn’t help but enjoy them, and the lesson of taking care of your environment didn’t come off as preachy as say, the old Seuss cartoons from the 70s.
I really enjoyed this film. The love story was adorable, the fish and bears and daffy birds were cute and fun, and the hard-learned lesson of the Once-ler’s was done in a nice, poignant way.
My one reservation on enjoying this film was the song numbers. When I saw the Once-ler fiddling with his guitar, I was sort of hoping the music would be constrained to Ed Helms playing a ditty here or there. Instead, there were mediocre, over-the-top musical numbers with electric guitars and clanging. Which wasn’t really what I was looking for. In my opinion, the movie would have done better without the musical numbers at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a big song and dance number as much as anyone, especially in a cartoon format… I just feel like filmmakers don’t really know what goes into that anymore. Too often they miss out on the heart of it and try to do too much. Think of “A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes.” A simple song will usually work just fine.