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YMMV / The Lorax

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The Book and TV Special

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation:
    • Sustainable logging, rather than no logging whatsoever. Had The Once-Ler planted one new Truffula tree for every tree he cut down (i.e. deforestation plus mass reforestation instead of only deforestation), the environmental impact would have been greatly reduced. If nothing else, the Once-Ler's company wouldn't have run out of trees to cut down. Then again, since the Lorax mentions that it takes ten years for a Truffula seed to grow into a sapling, and at least ten more years to fully grow (his speech about how long it takes a tree to grow gets cut off as he falls into a coughing fit due to the Once-ler's family's car exhaust), it might not have mattered anyway.
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    • Note that the Once-ler cuts down whole trees just to get the foliage on its branches. Careful plucking of the needed resources could have saved the trees (and ensured their further use) over reckless tearing down of tree after tree. In fact, this was directly discussed in the movie; the Once-ler initially harvested the Truffula trees by just collecting the tops and kept the trunks around so the foliage could still be produced, but stopped it once his family considered it too time-consuming. Thus, impatience and lack of pragmatism directly left them with no profit instead of mildly late profit.
    • The fate of the town in the TV Special - once the Truffula trees were gone, they picked up and moved to brighter pastures, as any Ghost Town in the Western USnote  or mining town in the Eastern US can attest to being Truth in Television.
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  • Epileptic Trees: People are very divided on whether these iterations of the Once-ler are human or not; there is evidence pointing towards either.
  • Fair for Its Day: Others have argued that the message itself is actually subtle when compared to other Green Aesops - or at least it was for the time.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The animated special made the Once-Ler into one, as he's shown to be more well meaning and often conflicted with his own conscience about whether or not his business practices are right, whereas in the original book he was a purely antagonistic character who was only shown in a sympathetic light well after the damage of his actions was already done.
  • Nightmare Fuel: "Good Ol' Onceler", a song in praise of everything the Once-Ler has created which the man himself ends up applauding as "very heartwarming", is... disturbing in its naked dedication to a self-aggrandizing corporate empire.
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  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The book's constant reminders of the importance of nature is, to many, part of it's charm. The stated aesop is just as blunt, if not moreso, but it's absolutely true: improvements don't just happen. You need to be active in making the world a better place.
    "Unless someone likes you cares a whole awful lot / Nothing is going to get better. It's not."
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Several of the songs are based on of pre-existing songs. For example, "Exit Exit Swomee Swan" has the same tune as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and "For He's A Jolly Good Once-Ler" has the tune of "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow".
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Anyone depressed by the "Ray of Hope" Ending can read The Man Who Planted Trees or watch the Oscar animated adaptation where a single man takes on the boy's appointed task, and over a lifetime, succeeds completely.
  • Values Resonance: Sadly, the shortsighted consumerism which the book was attempting to bring to light in the first place hasn't slowed down enough since it's publication, and now with the threat of the environment being permanently damaged beyond repair due to climate change, our world is dangerously close to suffering the same fate as the Lorax's. On a more positive note, however, these circumstances have encouraged real people to "speak for the trees," as mass reforestation is now being promoted to combat the damage done by carbon emissions and slowly helping to restore all natural environments.
  • The Woobie: The titular Lorax REALLY gets put through the wringer, and you'd want to give the poor guy a hug after seeing his home destroyed and his friends cast out of what was once their own home.

The Film

  • Accidental Aesop: Trying to please your parents isn't worth the effort if they're shallow, materialistic people who only see you and your work as a commodity for them, as the Once-ler learns the hard way when his folks turn their backs on him the moment his Thneed-whacking business goes pear-shaped.
  • Adorkable:
    • The Once-ler. His facial expressions alone really sealed the deal for a lot of people.
    • Ted whenever it comes to his crush, Audrey.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: When the Once-Ler's Mother disowns him and tells him how disappointed she is of him, did she felt disappointed because the Once-ler couldn't keep selling Thneeds, because he chose to take poor and unsustainable decisions and didn't think on replanting the trees or both? Also, when she early told him that she belittled him just to motivate him, did she really mistreated him to toughen him up or just lied to make it look she was always on his side?
  • Anvilicious: Just like the book was, particularly the musical numbers. In fact, many actually consider it to be even worse because it neglects the subtlety and Strawman Has a Point moments from the original book and special. By painting a clear right and wrong picture, they overlook the negative impact that ordinary people can have on the environment.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character: The Once-ler. It cannot be overstated how popular he was with fangirls for some time, for being a sympathetic pretty boy rather than the unseen limbs he was in the book, but there are a sizable number of Seuss purists who utterly despise this version of him and his accompanying fandom for the exact same attributes. A third camp of fans feel that he's an enjoyable and entertaining character on his own, but freely admit that he has almost nothing to do with his original counterpart.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The disco scene.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Ted/Cereal Box
    • The Onceler's gloves. They even have the ship name of "Glovecest".
  • Crack Pairing: The Once-ler/himself. And no, that's not just a few people shipping it, it borders on Fan-Preferred Couple and even has a ship name (Oncest). The reason given is usually that a lot of people found the Once-ler an appealing character, but since there wasn't anyone in the movie-verse itself who could be shipped with him without resorting to using an Original Character, the fandom decided to ship his post-Face–Heel Turn self, often called "Greed-ler", with his innocent self at the start of the story.
  • Critical Dissonance: Critics are split down the middle, and fans of the original book aren't crazy about it, but general audiences mostly seem to like it fine.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: O'Hare trying to persuade the citizens of Thneedville to kill Earth's last hope of seeing plant life again... by clapping his hands and singing his own version of "Let It Grow", which goes "Let it die, let it die, let it shrivel up and die!"
  • Crossover Ship: The Once-ler seems to have become the patron saint of this trope. Go to any movie's YMMV page that lists crossover ships, and it will likely list the Once-ler paired with whoever's in the movie.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: It's difficult not to want to be in the Once-ler's shoes during "How Bad Can I Be". Though he's brought back to earth hard in the following scene.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The Onceler. Despite cutting down all the trees to make his thneed, The Onceler is one of the film's most popular characters, thanks in part to his depiction in the film.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Cy the Delivery Guy has started to get to get more popular after the movie’s Memetic Mutation, thanks to his pleasantly plump design and Fletcher Sheridan's distinct male soprano voice, especially his iconic line "you greedy dirtbag!". Even people who hate the movie love him.
    • There's also a handful of people who like Granny Norma. Mainly because she's a Cool Old Lady and voiced by the great Betty White herself.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Younger Once-ler attracts A LOT of this. To the point that he has become a fandom of his own.
  • Fandom Rivalry: For a while, the Once-Ler fandom would declare this for pretty much any character who seemed to pose a threat to the Once-Ler's dominance, particularly Rise of the Guardians' protagonist Jack Frost, as evidenced by this article.
  • Fanon:
    • In the case of Ted's mom, some have christened her as "Helen", named after Dr. Seuss' first wife, as in a similar fashion how Ted and Audrey's names were based off of.
    • The Once-ler's mother's name being Isabella. But the funny thing is, nobody knows how that name came to be or where it even came from but many decided to use it when referring to her in fanfics or in general.
    • How Ted's grandmother came to know the Once-ler in the first place (well, enough to know he's probably on the outskirts of town). Some fashion that they had a romantic relationship throughout his journey into becoming the Corrupt Corporate Executive he turns into in the end.
      • Adding onto that, many believe the Once-ler to be Ted's actual grandfather, given their visual similarity and how compatible both theories are. The idea of the grandson having to make up for his grandfather's mistakes also gives the movie a lot more depth.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: All those cute scenes of the Once-ler interacting with the animals are considerably less heartwarming knowing what he ends up doing to all of them.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Thneedville's pollution levels being so high that the citizens need to buy contained air to breathe is now a reality in China.
  • Heartwarming Moments: The now-elderly Once-ler chopping down the boards across his windows when he hears the singing of the people of Thneedville, and softly says "Thank you, Ted" with tears in his eyes. Possibly the only dramatic moment in the movie that doesn't feel pushy or sappy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Those Misaimed Marketing deals down below that make the Lorax into a product mascot? The film mirrors this in one scene where the paparazzi takes a photo of the Lorax accidentally holding a Thneed, then posting on an ad now claiming Thneeds are "Lorax approved".
    • Does "Let It Grow" remind you of anything?
    • Aloysius O'Hare made his fortune by literally selling bottled fresh air to the polluted Thneedville. Well...
    • In the Japanese dub, Ted is voiced by Mamoru Miyano. So Miyano got to voice Zac Efron's role after Zac failed to get one of Miyano's biggest roles?note 
    • The Once-ler's mention of Donkey Kong is even funnier after Illumination was announced to be producing the Mario movie.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The Once-ler, whose fans basically turned into a fandom of their own separate from the general film.
  • Love to Hate: The Once-ler's family, especially Aunt Grizelda.
  • Misaimed Marketing:
  • Misblamed: A number of viewers and critics accused the Lorax of trying to kill Once-ler by sending him afloat the river on his bed... despite the fact that it was a freak accident from a sleeping Once-ler that put his life in jeopardy (his leg accidentally steers the bed down the wrong stream, toward a waterfall), and the Lorax outright says after he saves Once-ler that he didn't want him dead, just to "harmlessly drift away downstream". If he had really wanted Once-Ler dead, he probably wouldn't have used a pair of bar-ba-loots as a Magical Defibrillator.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Old Man Once-ler when he's first seen peering through the window and reaching out at Ted, but he gets less scary from there.
    • Also, "How Bad Can I Be" is pretty fun and upbeat for a Villain Song...until the very end, which has a giant Once-ler looming over the entire forest which he is destroying, giving a Slasher Smile after shouting the last lyrics "HOW BAD COULD THIS POSSIBLY BEEEEEE?"
    • At the start of the song, it's phrased like a legitimate question, but by the end, it almost seems like a challenge.
    • If you think that's scary, listen to its Dark Reprise, Biggering (complete with storyboard to tickle your imagination). There was a reason it was cut from the film.
    Once-ler: "Who cares if some thing are DYING? I DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR CRYING!"
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Some find the Ted and Audrey subplot as this.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Its more "lighthearted" moments which are subjected to overly cheerful song and dance numbers are this, most likely in the very beginning and very end. Its bright, colorful visuals don't help either. And completely caramelized when little 3-year old Marie suddenly started singing.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Characters, plural. The Once-Ler's family actually made far more interesting villains than O'Hare being naturally un-supportive, greedy, and manipulative. Wouldn't it have been better for more of the conflict to show them how destroying nature is a bad thing and along the way, maybe reconcile with his family?
    • As Musical Hell pointed out, Audrey could've been a more engaging protagonist than Ted, considering how she actually cares about the trees, unlike Ted, who only cares about getting into Audrey's pants. Not to mention that the movie doesn't explain how she got to know about trees in the first place.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Tying in with the above, some people feel it would have made much more sense if the Once-ler's family were the rulers of Thneedville rather than O'Hare, which would tie the Once-ler's backstory more tightly to the main plot and make Ted's ultimate victory that much more meaningful.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Maybe the Once-Ler could have told his greedy family that harvesting Truffula leaves by clearing cutting the forest is as ridiculously self-destructive a business practice as an apple farmer harvesting by chopping down his orchard. Or if he just planted as many seeds as trees he cut down this would have never happened (especially given that the "ten months to germinate, 20 years to grow" rule isn't in force here, and the Truffula trees grow rapidly and well). Or the fact he didn't set his entire business around a single product from a limited resource.
    • The aforementioned Mis-blamed. If the Lorax wanted the Once-ler to float harmlessly down the stream, he should have placed him further down the stream, away from the waterfall turnoff, so there wouldn't be the possibility of him turning down into danger. The turnoff wasn't that far away from where he was placed, and a large roaring waterfall is hard to miss.
    • But the worst offender has to be Mayor O'Hare who ordered the Truffula Seed to be destroyed, in front of the townsfolk supporting the return of trees, which leads to him not only losing his business, but also getting impeached and being sent flying away.
  • The Woobie: The Once-ler. His family and the townspeople mock him at first, his greed and years of success are glanced over and he ends up spending the majority of his life as a forgotten, guilt-ridden hermit. Had they shown more of his bad side, his punishment wouldn't seem so unjustifiably extreme.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Many find Zac Efron's role as Ted to be this, as he is an adult man voicing a teenaged boy. Taylor Swift's role also sometimes gets this, but to a lesser degree.


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