Monday, March 26, 2012

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – 86min – PG

Let me get this rant out of the way. I grew up on Dr. Seuss books. I love them almost as much as I love my own mother. I was thrilled in 2000 when I saw a Grinch movie coming out. I was also completely disappointed with it. Let’s not talk about The Cat in the Hat. Awkward. Horton Hears a Who was better but still not a good track record for these stories.

The main problem I have had with these films is that it takes way too many liberties with the source material. I am well aware of how a book and a movie are not going to be the same but there are some lines you don’t cross with adaptations, especially with children’s books.

I was extremely nervous when they announced another release of a Dr. Seuss book. I was downright fearful of how bad they could mess this one up. I went to the movie expecting a complete slaughtering of yet another beloved childhood memory. I was completely wrong. This movie is a green light film because it does adaptation right.

The story starts with Ted (Zac Efron) a young boy who is trying to get the attention of the girl next door, Audrey (Taylor Swift). He finds out she really would like to see a real tree because they live in a city that is completely made out of plastic.

He starts a quest to find out what happened to real trees. With the help of his Grammy (Betty White) he starts to look for a man known as The Once-ler(Ed Helms). The Once-ler tells the story of what happened to trees and of the warnings of a defender of trees known as The Lorax (Danny DeVito). The town is run by Mr. O’Hare (Rob Riggle) and he does not want any real trees horning in on his caned air business.

This movie takes the elements of the original story and keeps them in tact without corrupting them with crass humor or changing the message to modernize it. The theme of the story is applicable today with the green movement and the overall message is that we have to be considerate of our environment. The Co-directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda, did an excellent job of keeping the level of entertainment focused on the younger audience.

There is a reason these stories are classics: because they don’t need to be changed. If you do a movie like this it needs to respect the source material.

Warning Spoilers!!!! Only friends of the Truffula Trees past this point!!!

We see the progression of capitalism applied to its extreme and the deforestations of the trees. The preachy nature of the story was in the book but it did not show us the actual deforestation or the ramifications of the actions that were taken. It’s one thing to be told the bad things happen and another to show it. This movie does have a "save the trees message" but it does not apply it with an environmentally sound brick to the head.

One side character that I want to highlight is the Once-ler’s Mom (Nasim Pedrad) she did an excellent job of making me hate her. I love this performer I have enjoyed her work on SNL and other things but I really despised her character.

It was an excellent story of poor guy take out on his own, makes it big, turns his back on his promises and then falls into ruin but in the end saves the day; as well as a story of a young boy risking everything for love. Great two for one story extravaganza.

What kid’s book have you enjoyed and wanted to see in the big screen?

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