Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Lorax


Rated PG for mild, brief language
Starring Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift
Running Time: 86 minutes



Today we have a special treat at Flixy Mom - three of our reviewers are sharing their opinions of this latest animated film based on the popular Dr. Seuss book.

Synopsis:

Ted (Zac Efron), a teenage boy living in the plastic town of Thneedville, has a crush on Audrey. To impress her, he goes in search of a real tree, since none exist in Thneedville. His search leads him to the Once-ler (Ed Helms) who tells Ted the story of The Lorax (Danny DeVito) and why the trees disappeared. It turns out that the Once-ler, in his younger years, got too greedy for his own good, and cut down all of the trees to make money, leaving the landscape dry and the air thin. Disappointed, The Lorax sends the animals in search of a better place to live and leaves a cryptic message for the Once-ler: Unless. After sharing his sad tale to Ted, the Once-ler suddenly realizes after all of these years, what the Lorax meant by, “Unless”: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not. Still in possession of one last tree seed, the Once-ler gives it to Ted, who cares a whole lot, and . . . well, you can probably guess the rest.


Reviewer, JC Phelps says:

Just getting to this movie was an adventure. As we drove to the theater we saw a bald eagle in the ditch eating from some poor deer that didn’t make it across the road. Then, we stood in line for close to fifteen minutes to find that the showing we wanted to see was sold out and all they had available were 3D tickets for half an hour later.

So, we got to see The Lorax in 3D! This was a new experience for me. It has been years since I even attempted to watch anything in 3D. It never really did much for me except give me a headache but the strides they have made in this technology are amazing and worth the extra money we had to shell out. My four-year-old didn’t want to keep her glasses on until we traded and I realized she’d completely smudged hers and that was why she complained about not being able to see. I ended up wearing the orange kids glasses for the rest of the movie. (Fine by me – orange is my favorite color!)

Dr. Seuss has always been one of my favorites. He’s a little odd, but that’s what makes him fun. His odd little rhymes and strange little creatures hold a very special place in my heart.
The strange little creatures were all present in The Lorax but they cut out most of his cutesy rhymes that make it wholly a Dr. Seuss adventure.

The Lorax was published back in 1971 and is all about the environment. The movie is the same and follows the story of the book very closely. It just shows the story more than tells it. For example, this scene from the book was almost exact in the movie but the words were not there.

“Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky
was my big empty factory...the Lorax...
and I.
The Lorax said nothing
just gave me a glance.
Just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance.
He lifted himself by the seat of his pants
and I'll never forget the grim look on his face
as he hoisted himself and took leave of this place
through a hole in the smog without leaving a trace
and all that the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks with one word.
UNLESS”

Because these words weren’t actually spoken in the movie, the word UNLESS printed on the rock seemed a bit vague to me. That was until this little ditty was brought out:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

This was actually spoken and also quoted on screen at the end of the movie.
Being a Dr. Seuss creation, The Lorax is perfect for full family viewing and I strongly recommend going to see this one in 3D! It’s a great experience, even without the wonderfully written rhyming style we know from Dr. Seuss.

UNLESS…


Reviewer, Karen Cantwell says:


My 13 year-old daughter saw The Lorax before I did. When I asked her if she enjoyed it, she didn’t hesitate to say that she was disappointed. “It wasn’t very funny and it’s really more for little kids.”

Sadly, I agree. For me, The Lorax just didn’t cut it. Now, maybe four and five year-olds will really like this movie. There were some very young children in the theater when I viewed it, and they didn’t seem bored. I was bored. There were cute teddy bears and some adorable goldfish, but the writing was bland, the characterization flat, the humor even flatter, and the music unmemorable. And I don't enjoy being critical, so that was a hard sentence for me to write.

The environmental message was lost on me since it was presented with the subtlety of an atomic jack hammer, and that’s the really unfortunate part of all of this. Because truly, beyond the environmental issue (an important one, don’t get me wrong) is the universal truth of Dr. Seuss’ line: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.” I don’t feel the simple beauty of what that means came through in this movie. At least it didn’t for me – not in a way that touched my heart the way the book did.

The PG rating is for "mild, brief language." My question here is: REALLY??? In a movie based on a Dr. Seuss book??? REALLY? Why??? Why, Hollywood, why??? Now, I'll admit, I didn't hear and bad language. My daughter says she heard the word "damn" once. Still, I ask: Why???? Was it really necessary? (Karen steps off her soap box and brushes herself off, but steam continues to escape from her ears . . .)

For me, The Lorax wasn’t worth the money, but again, I have older children. Two other reviewers here enjoyed the movie and so did their children, so I may be an anomaly. If you have younger kids, it may well be worth it for a nice day out to the movies (and you may actually like it more than I did), but if your children are past the age of 8, I’d recommend waiting until it’s on cable. In the meantime, go watch Horton Hears a Who! I really LOVED that movie!


Reviewer, Beth Balberchak says:

The Lorax was never my favorite Dr. Seuss book, I’ll admit. Give me Go, Dog, Go or The Cat in the Hat(to read to my daughter, of course) and I’m perfectly happy. I’ll also go on record admitting that some of his books are just downright wordy, and tongue-twisty and hard-to-read aloud! There, I’ve said it. I hope the Classic Children’s Fiction Police don’t come to get me.

That being said, my expectations to see The Lorax-0 (in IMAX 3D, no less) were low. First, I have to gripe about the previews being so dang loud that my daughter was cowering in her seat covering her ears. Why do they have to blare these at us? Do they think to torture us into coming to their theater? Sigh.

The movie started with a song. We love songs, my girl and I, but I started anticipating boredom throughout the film’s opening as we took a ride around the whimsy that is a Dr. Seuss-inspired town. I was quickly proved wrong.

It started out innocently enough with Ted (Zac Efron) trying to impress a girl, Audrey (Taylor Swift) by plotting to find her a real tree. Now, this is hard to come by in Thneedville, a walled city controlled by Mr. O’Hare who greedily sells canned air to the unsuspecting citizens.
Ted escapes the city, and finds the Once-ler who tells the story of the Lorax (Danny DeVito) and his own part in raping and ravaging the forest of truffula trees into the wasteland of destruction it is today.

I think Danny DeVito was perfectly cast as the Lorax. Zac and Taylor did excellent jobs. Betty White is hilarious as Grammy who kicks butt with her cane and bulldozer-driving.

One might want to hate the Once-ler for destroying the beautiful, cotton-candy, sherbet-colored forest and banishing the adorable forest creatures to find a new home. But, he was just trying to make his way in this fortune-seeking world with his thneed invention and ultimately, be accepted by his (idiotic) family as well.

When the last tree goes down, he finally looks around at the apocalyptic-like landscape and sees his mistake. I think he ultimately redeems himself by giving Ted the truffula seed.
I love this movie’s deeper messages about fighting corporate greed and protecting our natural resources despite industrialization. I love how the citizens didn’t need to start up their own Occupy Thneedville to fight Mr. O’Hare. They just planted a tree. I think Theodor Seuss Geisel said it right and was quoted at the end of the movie, “Unless someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.”

From the wild and fun 3D ride down the whitewater rapids to the loveable characters, I thought The Loraxwas an enjoyable family movie. My daughter’s quote, “I loved it!” And, I did too. Now, where can I get a thneed?

__________

So, there you go! Two thumbs up and one thumbs down from Flixy Mom.

If you want to see where The Lorax is playing in your area, CLICK HERE FOR MOVIE TICKETS.COM.

And if you enjoy our reviews, please tell other parents!

Best wishes,

The team at FlixyMom.com

3 comments:

  1. Nice job, Flixy Mom team. Multiple viewpoints on such an anticipated film are really helpful.

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