Movie Review: Dr Seuss – The Lorax ***

March 29, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”

Considering the brevity of the average Dr. Seuss book, it’s no surprise that many of his best-known stories have been satisfactorily adapted into half-hour TV specials…writes James Berardinelli.

Expanding them into feature length movies (whether live-action or animated) requires a lot of stretching and padding. The Lorax, while generally faithful to the content and intent of Dr. Seuss’ original work, has required significant embellishment to bring it to the screen. Action scenes have been added to keep the interest of short viewers with shorter attention spans, extraneous subplots have been added to increase the already brief running length, and the ending has changed to offer more optimism. The result is solidly entertaining – not quite as good as Horton Hears a Who or How the Grinch Stole Christmas – but unquestionably better than The Cat in the Hat. I now await Green Eggs and Ham and the Further Adventures of Sam I Am.

The Lorax follows the structure of the book by having the majority of the story related in flashback. It also retains the strong anti-business, pro-environment themes which have created controversy over the years. The movie opens in the city of Thneedville, where 12-year old Ted (voice of Zac Efron) decides that the best way to win the heart of his crush, Audrey (Taylor Swift), is to find a way to fulfill her greatest desire. Aside from the people, Thneedville is entirely artificial, with plastic plants and fake grass. The air is so polluted that people purchase containers of fresh air to breathe. Audrey wants nothing more than to see a Truffula tree – the extinct plant species that once populated the land in and around Thneedville.

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