“Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax”
This film is a disappointment on many levels. They begin with overdubbed poetry, as Dr. Seuss would have done, but quickly abandon it, as if even that brief homage is too difficult. But they could have worked a little harder on that.
The main character is supposed to be a 12-year-old boy, Ted, but is instead the voice of a 24-year-old man (Zac Efron). The girl of a similar age, Audrey, is 22 (Taylor Swift). Surely they could have worked harder at finding real kids’ voices?
The plot, which comes from the book by Dr. Seuss, isn’t bad, but the moviemakers beat the same drum the entire time, which becomes more annoying than amusing. A whole community lives in an artificial world of plastic grass and trees because they have destroyed the natural environment. This somehow plays into the hands of the developers, who now get to sell water and air to consumers. But Ted, daring to venture “outside the walls,” finds himself talking to an old man, the Once-ler (the voice of Ed Helms) who assures him it wasn’t always this way, tells him how the sad situation evolved, and gives him the last remaining seedling as proof.
Ted, trying to impress his prepubescent heartthrob Audrey (who’d told him she would love to see a real tree), tries to plant the seedling in their town, but is continually thwarted by the evil developer. But he’s aided in his politically-correct quest by a feisty grandmother, and the spirit of The Lorax, who ascends and descends on a shaft of light because he….grabs his own behind?
Sigh. Not only is there not enough funny material for the adults, the kids will probably be bored, as well. The animation is terrific, but somehow they forgot to make it very charming or humorous or winsome. Just because you’re a cartoon character doesn’t mean you’re cute. And just because you’re preaching for a good cause doesn’t mean we want to listen to your whole harangue. Let’s see, a twenty-minute sermon might be just about right……
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas