Pulling no punches, Becca Jackaman covers the most recent Seuss outing…
Yet another one of Dr Seuss’ famous stories gets a dash of movie magic, in this vibrantly coloured tale about the town of Thneedville where everything is made of plastic, and people have to by fresh air from a bottle. Straightaway the moral message is smacking you round the chops, with an opening musical number which is instantly forgettable – everything natural no longer exists in Thneedville, and the only trees you find are artificial ones that can change the colour of their leaves at the touch of a remote control.
It is only when a young boy named Ted (Zac Efron, believe it or not) goes to visit his crush, Audrey (Taylor Swift) do things change. Audrey reveals to him that she wishes to see a real tree, after showing him a magnificent painting she has created against the wall of her house, and determined to impress her, Ted goes in search of a mysterious man named the ‘Once-ler’. The Once-ler is the one who cut down the trees in the first place, and as a result of that, he had managed to summon a strange (and very annoying) creature, known as the Lorax, who ‘speaks for the trees’. He had tried to stop the Once-ler from destroying the forests that had strived before Thneedville, but because of his greed and ambition to become a success with his “Thneeds” (an item of clothing made from the leaves of trees), the Once-ler ignored him…until there were no more trees left.
There is a constant battle going on throughout The Lorax. The cute woodland creatures make for a dash of comic relief that is familiar from Despicable Me, but it feels lazy and forced, as it desperately tries to shove the anti-deforestation message down our throats. There is a villain here, in the form of Mr. O’Hare, the billionaire who made his fortune by selling the town their bottles of fresh air. He tries to stop Ted from finding the Once-ler, but again, the film feels split – is he really the bad guy, or is it just the people in the real world, destroying our forests?
So to conclude, Danny DeVito was the perfect choice for playing the Lorax, and though this may look like your average children’s film, it does have a dark side, which doesn’t gel so well, when you’re just trying to watch a bit of harmless fun, but the kids will certainly enjoy it.