MOVIE REVIEW: THE LORAX
Director: Chris Renaud & Kyle Balda
Screenplay: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Danny DeVito as Voice of Lorax
Ed Helms as Voice of Once-ler
Zac Efron as Voice of Ted
Taylor Swift as Voice of Audrey
Betty White as Voice of Grammy Norma
TRT: 95 minutes, (PG)
Peacock Feathers: 2 1/2 out of 5
By: Marcus Thorpe
Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? But I have to say, growing up and knowing the author’s work pretty well, The Lorax was always one I steered clear from. So when I heard they were making a movie called The Lorax, I thought, really, no love for Green Eggs And Ham? So I went in with very little knowledge, very little expectations, and I wanted to be wowed! Visually they hit plenty of highs, as for the story I don’t think this is one that you will remember, or be dying to see again.
There was a time when Truffula trees were everywhere, animals were loving life, people were breathing in the fresh air, then the world met the Once-ler. More on him in a bit. Ted is a 12 year old boy and he lives in a different world now, a world without trees. Everything is electronic, the trees, the cars, you have to buy fresh air in a can. Ted is infatuated with a high school beauty named Audrey. She dreams of a world that she has only heard about, a world where colors are everywhere, and trees bring her imagination to life. The only way Ted can think of to get the girl, find her a tree! There is a wall that separates this world they live in now, and the desolate, barren, grey world where an outcast Once-ler now lives. He was once a young man looking to make it in a world that his family thought he had no chance in. The Once-ler ends up in an area where the trees and their beautiful colors line the landscape. Bears and fish and birds live in harmony. The Once-ler is ready to see if he can make his dollar, and to get his invention started he has to chop down one of those big beautiful trees. When he does he meets The Lorax, a little orange man with a huge mustache that calls himself the one who “speaks for the trees.“ After trying to run Once-ler out of their forest, they strike a bargain; there will no more chopping of the trees. That is until he realizes that his invention is catching on and he needs more of the material from the top of the trees. So he backs out on his promise starts to cut down the trees, makes the animals upset and makes the Lorax furious too. Before you know it he runs out of material, the trees are gone, and he is all alone, an outcast that will never show his face again. That is until Ted comes calling and wants his help to bring trees back. Can Once-ler redeem himself in time, and can Ted avoid those who don’t want to go back to a world where trees give fresh air for free, and bring natural beauty back to the girl he loves!
There aren’t any real actors in this one, and thank goodness, (see Cat In The Hat). So you have to really look at if the voices match the characters. I have to say, bravo to the casting director here. Zac Efron does a fantastic job with Ted. He is a young man in love, a boy who will do everything he can to impress her (most of us have been there!), and Efron carries it off quite well. He brings energy, he is fun and determined, it’s a solid voice performance. The real star of the show is Ed Helms. As the young and old Once-ler, it is really his show. Helms is a musical genius even though comedy is thought of as his real strong suit. But here is asked to play the guitar, have a few musical numbers and it fits as snug a bug in a rug (have to rhyme in this review at some point, right?) If ever there was a guy who could voice the character of The Lorax, it might be DeVito. You look at him and you see the Lorax. Short, gruff, that mustache, it is DeVito is you could shrink him down. There are also nice performances from Taylor Swift as the voice of the apple of Ted’s eye, Audrey. And the very popular Betty White as Ted’s grandmother. She is hip, and wise, and serves as Ted’s Yoda, giving him advice, being the distraction as he sneaks off to find the last remaining tree.
Direction & Writing:
Visually, you won’t believe your eyes. It is like they took the book, flipped through the pages, and then poured it onto the big screen. 3-D made it even better for me. The colors pop, the characters come to life, it is really, really pretty. As for the script, eh. There are moments that feel a little preachy, there are musical numbers that don’t fit and feel like the wrong thing to do at the time they bust out. It just can’t live up to those memorable animated films we’ve seen over the last few years. The Lorax is good, it just isn’t great. I kept thinking to myself, this really feels like Despicable Me, and of course that is because many of the same names that pumped that one out, had their hands all over this one. It moves, it’s interesting, it is nice to look at, there is just something missing, a little pizzazz that could have really set it apart from what it turned out to be.
You have to hand it to the creators of this film; they stayed pretty true to the Seuss. You get the feeling that they wanted to keep the message that the good Doc wanted kids of all ages to get from his work. The cast is flawless, the visual concept is amazing, but there is a flaw, it never really gets you where you want to go, (maybe I should wait for Oh The Places You’ll Go!)
I’ll leave you with this: And please be kind, I am no Seuss.
After 95 minutes The Lorax is done, there were a few laughs and occasional fun. But after writing every t with a cross and i’s with a dot, compared to the greatness of Pixar, The Lorax is not!
So what did you think? Comment on my blog, or give the movie your grade below!Posted by on 03/02 at 02:19 PM
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