Who will speak for the trees?
Swift shot: I am no tree-hugger, but I can proudly say that iRATEfilms.com is run solely on wind energy; you can see our badge below. And my views on finding alternative energy sources stem more from my loathing of certain oil-rich regimes than saving mother nature. Still, I have a heart. And, where some may take The Lorax as a beat you over the head with guilt film, I chose to take it as a, hey, just don’t forget about the trees, film.
Or let’s take his own words to heart, before I get hate mail about the “real message” or the fact that he lampoons environmentalists as some furry little creature. Seuss once said, “The Lorax doesn’t say lumbering is immoral. I live in a house made of wood and write books printed on paper. It’s a book about going easy on what we’ve got. It’s anti-pollution and anti-greed.”
Starring Ed Helms as the mysteriously named, Once-Ler and Danny DeVito as title character The Lorax, the film is setup as a love story where Ted (Zac Efron) is trying to woo the auburn-haired dreamer, Audrey (Taylor Swift – No Relation to Me), and in fact the book itself was inspired by a romantic trip to East Africa that Seuss took with his wife Audrey in 1970. And, yes, fans may realize this film was produced by Audrey, the widow of one Theodore, Ted “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. It really is a love story.
In the film, twelve-year-old Ted is so infatuated with Audrey that he is willing to go beyond the trappings of the plastic city of Thneedville, run by corrupt, bottled-air-tycoon, Aloysius O’Hare (Rob Riggle) to find the one thing that Thneedville really needs, hope, in the form of a Truffula Tree seed. Stealing the show, of course, was Betty White as Grammy Norma,who tells Ted that he must see the Once-Ler to find out about the trees.
With a little help from Grammy who tricks his mom (Jenny Slate), Ted manages to escape town and soon meets the Once-Ler who forces him to to endure a long story, a long, long story (complete with songs) about where all the trees went and how he met the odd-little magical creature, The Lorax. Right away the Once-Ler is skeptical and catches on that Ted is just doing this to impress a girl, but he is also just happy to have someone captive, err, captivated with his story.
I was glad to see The Lorax, it was a highly imaginative and colorful film for little minds to enjoy, but it also has some wonderful surprises for adults to keep your attention throughout. The Humming-Fish and Bar-ba-loots get almost excessively cutesy, but they grow on you as you anticipate their next silly antics and the film doesn’t put you to sleep. Kudos to Danny DeVito for being the first actor in an animated movie to voice his role in multiple languages!
Sadly, I read a story today about a tree that stood for over 3,500 years, it was the fifth oldest tree on Earth and some meth-head burned it to the ground last month in Florida, and I couldn’t help but think about my review today. “The Senator” will stand no more, and it wasn’t killed for greed or corporate necessity – it was destroyed by a person that probably needed a little more Dr. Seuss in her life!
Finally, I will leave you with the film’s effective and endearing message taken from the book – “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Put down your cell-phones and tablets, pull away from your TV’s and PC’s – take your kids to this heart-warming film and remind them that there needs to balance in all things in life. I think this film would make Dr. Seuss very proud.