Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is showing at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012, which is being covered by Samantha Morrison…
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, 2012.
Directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda.
Featuring the voice talents of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Betty White and Jenny Slate.
Thneedville is a town completely without nature: all the flowers are inflatable, the trees are mechanical, and air must be bought by the bottle. Ted (Zac Efron), a lovestruck young boy, sets off on an adventure to find a Real Tree, to win the heart of Audrey (Taylor Swift).
I was a huge fan of Dr Seuss growing up. I read One Fish Two Fish until I was Bluefish in the face, though somehow the recent adaptations passed me by. This is the first Dr Seuss adaptation I have seen, and I think it’s done brilliantly. The town of Thneedville is bright and imaginative, and the houses all look like The Burrow from Harry Potter, with random rooms stuck on top of each other at gravity defying angles. When the townspeople declare in the opening song (yes, it’s a musical!) how much they adore Thneedville, it’s difficult not to agree… until you hear lines like ‘we don’t want to know/ where the smog and trash and chemicals go/ I just went swimming/ And now I glow!’
From then on, the adventure begins as Ted hunts for a Real Tree, a journey which leads him to the mysterious Once-ler (Ed Helms), who tells him the story of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), a moustachioed orange ball of fluff who is the Guardian of the Trees.
This film is blatantly and unashamedly about the threats facing the environment from corporate greed. Our businessman of the piece even has a song called ‘How Bad Can I Possibly Be?’, in which he sings ‘a portion of profits goes to charity!’ before putting just one coin in a bucket, and cackling with glee.
For most over the age of ten, this is a message we have all heard before. We know the environment is in danger, and we know some companies aren’t perfectly ethical. But, I must say, I’ve never seen such an all-singing all-dancing delivery of it before! The songs are unbelievably catchy; I’ve had them on repeat on YouTube since leaving the cinema.
What’s best about them is they fit perfectly into the film: rather than being awkward interludes between scenes, they’re mostly an integral part of the action (and as such are a little odd to listen to without context). They are also in keeping with the rhythmical, sing-song nature of the source material.
The number of unbelievably cute forest animals also tugs at the heartstrings. Though, as a fellow film blogger remarked, what is sad is that these will probably go on to be the soft toy merchandise of the film, along with related lunchboxes, pencil cases and clothes, and so hypocritically proliferating the heartless capitalism that it condemns.
The Lorax, while being about as subtle as a punch to the face, is still fluffy, brightly coloured and excellently animated, and will leave audience members of all ages singing as they leave the theatre.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★