Reviews: The Lorax
Not so bad, but could've been much better
This is one movie that has fascinated me for a while, mainly because I literally could find no middle ground with what people thought of it: the people I met that liked the movie adored it, and the people who didn't like it loathed it. Anyway, I finally watched it just yesterday, and to be honest, while I didn't find it good per se, I don't think it was nearly as bad as many people have said. I certainly found it entertaining enough, and the animation is quite awesome. That said, though, I do think that the moral was handled rather poorly; it seems to state that trees should be saved for exactly two reasons: one is that trees make fresh and breathable air, and the other is that they are cool. That's about it. This in my opinion really glosses over the importance of trees in real life, and it makes the environmental message of the movie come off as extremely weak. (And speaking of air, if trees are the only source of breathable air in this universe, then where does O'Hare get all the air he's selling?) Also, I feel that the movie REALLY could have done without the romantic subplot, mainly because the only reason Ted even cares about trees is because he wants to impress a girl, and this weakens the environmental message even more; why couldn't the movie make Ted care about trees BECAUSE of their importance to life and the environment rather than because some pretty girl he has a crush on likes them? And that's not even going on how awful the character of Audrey was since she's apparently just too damn passive (or maybe just lazy) to be bothered to actually look for a tree seed herself and so she has to rely on some kid easily three or four years younger than her to hand over her dreams in a silver platter. And then we have O'Hare. Most. Unnecessary. And. Generic. Villain. EVER. He was obviously just put in the movie so that we could sympathize more with the Once-ler, whom I feel would've been sympathetic enough without O'Hare. Long story short, movie didn't need an antagonist; the pollution conflict would've been enough. The songs, for the most part range from being "meh" to rather cringe-worthy. Except maybe the Villain Song; that one was very darn catchy. Overall, the movie itself is pretty fun, but its handling of its message just falls flat.
Hollywood dumbs down a children's Book
ok, i will admit that the animation is very good. It looks like the book. However it really is the only thing going for. While Dr. Seuss's book may have not been the most subtle book in the world, this movie is even less so. The villain of the film is a Captain Planet type villain. Any subtlety or 3 dimenisions is replaced by celebrity voice actors like Taylor Swift, a message that whacks you with a bat saying "SAVE THE TREES, CORPORATIONS ARE BAD", a happy ending which unfortunately replaced the somewhat ambiguous ending, 2 bland kids who are called Zach Afron Boy and Taylor Swift girl who really should have been removed, the animals clearing trying to ape Despicable Me's minions, and pop culture references that really didn't need to be there. Even the once-ler himself have been somewhat dumbed down. His relationship with the Lorax is explored a little more in detail, but his gradiual change from nice to greedy is rather jarring due to it only being in one song. Also, his annoying family should have not been there in the first place. They basically egg him on rather than the One-ler's own shortcoming, mainly greed, doing that for him. I would talk about the irony of the Lorax film marketing such as endorsements for Ihop and SU Vs, but i am sure plenty of people have pointed it out. oops, i already did. so i will just do a comparison. Everyone loves How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Now imagine commercials if the Whos-ville town were always going to Walwart, Gamestop, buying stuff with credit cards....yeah that would be somewhat glaring.
Downgrade As A Whole, But Has Very Good Moments
There was some genuine effort put into this movie, but it’s evident that it succumbed to Executive Meddling in order to attempt to broaden the audience appeal and get funding. The deleted song “Biggering” is by far the best musical number and most true to the book, but was cut due to being “too dark”. Clearly someone believes Viewers Are Morons. It’s true, though, that keeping the book’s ending was not going to happen for a mainstream release kid’s movie. Today's Hollywood doesn't take risks like that. As mentioned elsewhere, the Once-ler’s story is the good story, and the new one is shallow and unnecessary. Despite being almost nothing like the original, the Once-ler is by far the most memorable (and polarizing) character. I've heard people criticize him for being too sympathetic, and others criticize him for being too unsympathetic. The animation and design are gorgeous, and the score by John Powell is amazing. My recommendation: see the parts that actually follow the book, which is admittedly less than half the movie. The Thneedville scenes are not worth your time, except for Betty White. Listen to the score, including deleted songs. And don’t feel pressured to Love It Or Hate It. Some aspects are wonderful, others atrocious.
How Ba-ah-ah-ah-ad Can It Be?
Animation? Good. Humor? Pretty good. Pacing? This is where we start having some issues. It feels as if the musical numbers were thrown in to cover that the creators couldn't transition from one scene to the next. Instead of rhyming, or, gee, I dunno, quoting Seuss himself, they had these music numbers. Which brings me to the Music. Scores were good. Songs were BA-AH-AH-AH-AD. They were loud, they were obnoxious, and considering they had Taylor Swift and Zac Effron playing Ted and Audrey respectively, you'd think they'd have decent singing. They don't. The opening number made me cringe and very nearly walk out of the theatre. Overall? I wouldn't buy the DVD, I wouldn't pay to see it again. Trust me, you can wait to see this one.
Obnoxious songs? Check. Romantic Plot Tumour with potential Unfortunate Implications, given that Taylor Swift never moves one finger to save the trees? Check. Crude humor? Check. Cartoonish villains with no discernible reason for being evil? Check. Animals reduced to minion rip-offs? Check. The only reedeming thing was the Once-ler's character expansion.
The 1972 Cartoon: Powerful and Memorable
"You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back." Out of all the aesops one can give, then undoubtedly doing one about nature is always the hardest. Most writers that attempt it can never manage anything in the realm of sublety and make the issue too black and white. Think Captain Planet. But The Lorax, one of my favourite stories from Seuss' library is probably the only tale I can ever recall doing it right. In the span of twenty five minutes it manages to weave a well-animated tale showing the downfall of not just an environment but also the same industry that thrived off that land. The narration is great, and the animation does a good job of putting motion to Seuss' art style, but the story is perhaps one of the best things. I do like that they manage to make the Once-ler a morally complex and interesting character. He's not just an eeeeviiil capitalist who woke up one morning and decided to fuck up nature. He's a businessman who wanted to make money, sure, but he does feel guilt when he sees the damage he's caused, with no understanding of the long term effects of his work. He's also not an innocent victim like the CGI movie makes him out to be, driven into doing what he does by his eeeeevil family. It's easy enough to find on youtube if you want to watch it. Even if you don't want to dwell on the philosophy, it still makes for a good story to watch.
Disastrous Revision of a Classic Dr. Seuss Story
I want a new trope called "Hollywoodified" which refers to big blockbusters spawned from other media, but instead of doing justice to its source, it adds bullet time action fights and large musical numbers, both which usually take away from the morals or themes - the movie adaptation of the Lorax is exactly that. Instead of focusing on teaching the viewers to be resourceful with nature, the main moral is to not be greedy and attacks corrupt corporations. In doing this, the movie adds a terrible romance story-line involving Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, clearly created in order to attract teenyboppers. Speaking of the movie's target audience, Universal goes with its other recent film, "Despicable Me"'s ideas by using forced meme cute-critters, similar to the twinkie henchmen, and bland musical numbers, to hold the audience's attention, as if the creators know that the people watching the film won't get the moral, or care. Additionally, movie is pretty hypocritical in doing this; for a movie who targets corporation for being corrupt and exploiting individuals with ridiculous products, there's clearly going to dolls of the cute critters, from the Lorax to the bears, that will be sold at Walmart, and I wouldn't be surprised if stores released shirts with a darker and edgier Lorax. In truth, I believe my Pixar fanboyism has made me very cynical when it comes to animated movies; Dream Works has great animated features, some of them that even surpass some of Pixar's. Oddly enough, people keep saying these companies are burrowing inspiration from Pixar, but I can't pinpoint where. Most of these non-Pixar animated films, especially including the Lorax, uses physical comedy and random whackiness. These same studios stray far from any adult themes, while Pixar is not afraid of having things like murder or death. While the Lorax is for youngsters, this all leads to adults, most likely taking their children to go this movie, will be bored and impatient. The only redeeming part of the movie is the relationship between the Lorax and the Once-ler, which becomes unrealistic and rushed in order to make room for the romance, sadly.
Surprisingly good/the largest case of your mileage may vary ever.
Firstly I'ld like to point out that I'm one of those people who wait to see a movie until its been out for awhile. Why? To read reviews of course, and usually I wouldn't write one of my own. This movie just because the exception. Reading the reviews I had expected the movie to be a waste of money and a waste of time. Everyone keeps talking about how the extended plot ruined the point and how the romantic sub plot of the movie made it even worse. I disagree. The movie first off is absolutely beautiful. It was the main reason I wanted to go see it, the animation is amazing and the character expressions are to die for. Secondly is the actual story which gets a lot of flack. Yes it was expanded, and while the expanded part wasn't in any way epic or a masterpiece it wasn't bad. Most of the light heartedness comes from the fact that this is a childrens movie and was intended for younger audiences. If the movie had been exactly like the book we would have been left with probably the most depressing film of the year (not to mention the shortest). The added content could of used some maturing but it over all want bad. The inserted comedy was actually funny, even the stuff for the kids, and theres plenty of stuff for older people too (just listen to the Onclers song during his heel face turn, it was chalked full of all the excuses a corporate executive makes to rationalize their views). The music in the movie is also very good except for one or two songs (mostly the opening theme) that make you want to plug your ears. But thankfully most of the sound track is wonderful and well done. The movie isn't without its flaws though. It could of been more mature or stuck closer to the original story. I could of also dealt without the the stupidity of all the citizens of Thneedville. But overall these things didn't ruin the movie. In the end I'll say this: I personally enjoyed this movie, it was funny and charming with a good does of heartwarming at the end, and to me it doesn't deserve all the hate its getting. That said its not for everyone. If your a die hard lover of the original story and wont stand for a lighter take on it then this movie really isn't for you. But really give this movie a chance if your open enough to some changes. Its not as bad as many people say.
Film-Too much of a good thing
Here's what works well. The visuals are stunning, the Once-ler's expansion of charater is great and Grandma is awesome. What fails is the fact that this is that the focus is too much on the Once-ler, I wasn't able to gather so much sympathy for Ted. And the villan is cartoonish to the extreme, especally since we have an example of another business big-wig in this film. So good to see in theaters, not so much for a DVD rental. Still is very Suess-ish and keeps to the main aseop so don't let the rabid fanbase get to you. And the fish are coolest animals in the bunch.
This film is, in a word, awesome. I really enjoyed it and all the great Visual Gags, and well as the interesting story and interesting characters. The movie is genuinely funny and heartwarming, and looks absolutely stunning. The story is well done as well, and I quite enjoyed the whole movie. I do however, have a couple of complaints. The ending scene after the seed is planted could have used a bit more expansion, maybe having Ted meet the Lorax. Also, the Onceler's fall to villainy seemed rushed, and could have used more expansion. (One song? Seriously?) But these are just minor complaints. The Lorax is a pretty awesome movie, which I recommend you go see if you like animated films.