I Saw A Film Today… The Lorax

In my constant dislike of the irritant known as 3-D films, I have until tonight after seeing The Lorax not  realized the pains that the family film viewer must endure from this technology. First they have to pay $11.50 each for them and their significant other. Then however many kids they have with them and how old they are, $9.00-$11.50 each (basing prices upon my local cinema). Plus concessions. And after all these shenanigans and the kids are snug in their seats, the movie starts. And then the kid throws the glasses into the darkness, making the parents have to helplessly search for them for many minutes to no avail. The parent then forfeits their glasses over to them, and must sit through a film with other people kids whinging and a blurry screen. Is this exploitation of the family by Hollywood?

******

Ted (Zac Efron) lives in Thneed-Ville, a place where everyone is simple-minded and everything is artificial, right down to the grass and trees. Holidays out-of-town? Why do that when you have you can just walk down the street to a beach or an Alpine ski trip. And fresh air? It comes in a jug and delivered to your door. But when Ted hears the girl of his dream (Taylor Swift) would love to see a real tree Ted, as any adolescent boy would do, takes it upon himself to deliver it to her.

But venturing outside of the city makes Mayor O’ Hare and owner of O’ Hare air (Rob Riggle) concerned. And once Ted meets the Once-ler (Ed Helms) and begins hearing about the history of why there are no more trees in Thneed-Ville, Ted understands why. Will Ted get to plant the prized tree or will O’ Hare stop him before being able to?

The Lorax is a commentary on, well, everyone. It exploits the fact that some, if not many, people today prefer the artificial and turn an ignorant eye to the organic if we can make a profit off of it. It is a love letter to nature, a gift that is deteriorating from this world. Is this the first film to tackle the need for conservation? No, but none of those films had the simplistic brilliance of a Dr. Suess story behind it.

For those who saw the film Despicable Me will recognize the same type of animation here. Not really unexpected since the same studio who made that film also made this one. And much like the previously mentioned film, the 3-D is rather boring and unnecessary. But you already knew I was going to say that. Doesn’t make it any less true though.

This film is for the kids, obviously. I mean, there are cute harmonizing fish and fluffy bears and a catchy soundtrack that will keep their attention. Will the story and the message get through to them? Hopefully, but you never really can say for sure. But maybe the parents will. They’ll be entertained too. I mean, there are cute harmonizing fish and fluffy bears and a catchy soundtrack that will keep their attention. And if they have keep their attention and (more importantly) their sanity by the time the credits roll, maybe they’ll get the message.

The voice performances here are great as well. Believe it or not, (I’m guessing this fact isn’t much of a shocker) this is my first Zac Efron film and he surprising well. Again, this is just based on his voice acting. Taylor Swift is also surprisingly well. She just may have a future in voice-over.

I have already mentioned how well the animation is for this film and the best example is Danny DeVito as the Lorax. The peanut-shaped body of the Lorax reminds you of the short actor but still retains enough originality to make the character its own. The rest of the cast is good as well. Appearances from Betty White, Ed Helms, and Rob Riggle will be pleasing to hipsters and comedy fans alike. And as an Easter Egg, Illumination Entertainment included the cute voice of Agnes from Despicable Me (you know… It’s so fluffy I’m going to die!) somewhere near the end. Listen for it.

The biggest argument against The Lorax amongst critics has been that It deviates from the original book quite a bit. On Rotten Tomatoes the critical census say that “the moral simplicity of the book gets lost in the zany Hollywood production values”. Honestly, it sounds rather nit-picky. Dr. Suess is all about zany. And since the target market for this film is children, I don’t think they really care. In fact, I believe they will have a bloody good time.

Verdict: SEE IT! (In 2-D)

*Rated PG for brief, mild language.

**Special thank you to my dear friend Aubie Wallace for sharing this cinematic adventure with me.

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