Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Movie Review: The Lorax

'The Lorax' is a movie with a message to spread; it tells a story about the importance of trees with a deeply rooted (pun entirely intended) environmental message about caring for the nature and stopping deforestation. 'The Lorax' unfortunately handles this message clumsily and comes across as preachy to the audience who will soon tire of the cracked mirror this film tries to hold up to them.

Living in a town where trees are plastic and air is sold by a business tycoon, Ted is apathetic about the world around him. When the girl he is in love with tells him of her wish to see a real tree Ted sets off to visit the mysterious Once-ler who is rumoured to know of what happened to all the trees. The Once-ler tells him of his past when trees were plentiful and his encounter with a little creature who was their protector, the Lorax.

Dr. Seuss' original plot was much more vague about its characters than this version of the story is, in the original book Ted was an unnamed boy with an unknown past whilst the Once-ler's face is never revealed. The expansion of the story is a natural addition for the film and feels well thought-out with regards to the host of new characters introduced, characters like Ted's grandmother and the greedy air distributor Aolysius O'Hare are great additions to the story and allow for plot to occur outside of the Once-ler's tale. Considering the original story itself would not have warranted the length of a film there are a few noticeable points where the story is artificially increased in length, this is not performed well however and the movie feels like it stalls a little rather than merely elaborating on certain aspects. The flashback scenes with the Lorax and the Once-ler are well written most of the time and though they do suffer from the same pacing issue as the rest of the film, they are enjoyable nonetheless.

The Lorax (Danny DeVito) leads the creatures of the forest.

The great Danny DeVito leads the cast of the film; DeVito was probably the sole reason I wanted to see this film aside from it being a Dr. Seuss adaption. I wasn't disappointed at all by his performance as the eponymous Lorax but I certainly felt that he wasn't given enough to do, it took a long time for him to show up and once he did he never really evolved to the main role he is listed as, and then before long he was gone again. Though DeVito did his best it is undeniable that this role was never going to challenge the talented actor, even so the moustachioed orange guardian of nature was made so much better by possessing DeVito's voice. Ed Helms did a great job as the Once-ler, the character who the bulk of the film revolves around. Helms shows great range in the duality of his role as the Once-ler who appears in the film as both an old man and through flashbacks as a young man starting out on his own. The supporting members of the cast including Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Betty White perform well in their roles and each adds to the story in their own way.

Children are the target audience for 'The Lorax' there is no doubt about it from the first opening number to the various overly cheesy nature songs it is very clear who this film is intended for. Some of the adult aspects of films like 'Shrek' and 'Despicable Me' such as humour and references that children wouldn't understand are not seen here as much as other films meaning adults are going to find the film quite boring. If I'm honest I think this hurt the film's overall quality and it definitely could have benefited from a few well-placed pieces of dialogue or comedic moments geared more towards adults than children.

"I'm playing poker, he's playing go fish and I think he's just hungry."

'The Lorax' features stunning animation, these absolutely beautifully rendered scenes involving lots of vibrant colours and bright environments mean the film is very pleasing to the eye, especially the scenes involving the forest. The character and object design combined with the very detailed animation result in some textures that look so real that you feel you could reach out and touch them. This brings me to another point, I saw this film in 3D a medium I'm not too big of a fan of, I have to say though the 3D in 'The Lorax' was great and really enriched the film for me. This was 3D as it should be done, bright and interesting pictures coming towards you, and not how it is normally done, which is simply a last minute addition in order to bring in higher ticket sales and an inflated box office figure.

This film is adapted from the original book written by Dr. Seuss who also wrote stories such as 'The Cat in the hat' and 'Green eggs and ham'. Seuss' original book had a similar story with some aspects elaborated upon in order to make it into a feature film, the message of environmentalism was also something present in the original book, however Seuss' message was a great deal more subtle and effective than this film, rather than obvious metaphors and the lazily executed caricatures of corporate greed present in the film, the book dealt with the matters in a much smarter and less obvious fashion.

The elderly Once-ler tells Ted of his time with the Lorax.

Although not terrible 'The Lorax' could well be considered one of the worst animation releases to date, being from the creators of 'Despicable Me' it's surprising that it would not be of the same standard of their first outing. Though it has its own charms 'The Lorax' is easily bested in quality by films such as 'Megamind' , 'Shrek' and 'The Incredibles' leaving it as a very flawed, well-intentioned capitalisation on the Dr. Seuss name.

With a really great cast and fantastic source material 'The Lorax' had a lot going for it. It didn't live up to the Seuss name though thanks to its clumsy handling of the films message and overly childish scripting. There are some magnificent animated films out there that deserve to be seen, this is not one of them.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your idea.You look like very talented.It is very happy to meet you. Thank you!