The Lorax (2012)

Whilst trying to impress Audrey (Taylor Swift), the girl that he likes, Ted Wiggins (Zac Efron) learns of Truffula Tree, long-lost multicoloured marvels of nature for which the town of Thneed-Ville has absolutely no use. Mined to extinction for the production of thneeds, the trees — and all of nature itself — have since been replaced by businessman Aloysius O’Hare (Rob Riggle) at a cost to the consumer. Told by his Grammy Norma (Betty White) that the reclusive Once-ler (Ed Helms) might be able to help him acquire a Truffula Tree to help impress Audrey, Ted leaves the city limits where he is told the legend of The Lorax (Danny DeVito).

Of all the famed children’s authors to have had their work adapted for the big screen, Dr. Seuss has perhaps had the worst luck.  While 2000’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas has gone on to be considered a festive classic, the more recent likes of The Cat In The Hat and Horton Hears A Who have failed to make any impression whatsoever. Not only is it difficult to interpret the American writer’s poetry for global, mainstream audiences, but the unique and heavily stylised illustrations pose another difficulty for prosthetics or computer effects artists trying to bring the stories to life for contemporary audiences.

While The Lorax is no failure, it nevertheless stands as yet another botched attempt to do the author’s imagination justice. Developed by Illumination Entertainment, the company behind tedious 2010 effort Despicable Me, the film shows no dedication either in its faithfulness to the original text, its environmental message or the innovative visuals that the audience has come to expect from recent digital animation. Neither funny or spectacular enough to impress in a year that also promises Brave, Madagascar 3 and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (from heavyweights Pixar, DreamWorks and Aardman), The Lorax falls flat with its lacklustre voice-work, cutesy animation (with the Humming Fish taking over slap-stick duties from those infernal minions) and terribly broad sense of humour.

What is most disappointing about The Lorax, however, is the shift in the film’s focus; while in the source material The Lorax spoke for the trees, here he is relegated to backstory as directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda instead choose to focus on the romantic exploits of Zac Efron’s idealistic tween. While Efron and Swift manage to voice their characters with some semblance of personality, their glorified subplot is too unremarkable (and ultimately unnecessary) to provide sufficient narrative weight. Ted isn’t interested in saving the environment, he just wants to impress a girl. As for Danny DeVito’s work as the titular Lorax himself, the actor’s efforts are somewhat undermined by the multi-million dollar publicity campaign, artificiality of the plastic animation and throw-away 3D glasses that seem to fly in the face of the film’s pro-environment and anti-conglomerate message.

The Lorax, then, is a perfectly serviceable and amusing — if irritatingly shallow — slice of 3D children’s animation. Not as ruthlessly annoying as Despicable Me, it nevertheless marks a wasted opportunity as Hollywood once again underutilises one of Dr. Seuss’ classic creations.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to The Lorax (2012)

  1. Pingback: July 2012 – You don’t wanna know what I have to do for twenties « popcornaddict

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