Directed by: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito
So, I was a little impressed by that movie version of Horton Hears a Who they did a couple years back, mostly because it did a great job of putting the audience in the fantastic world that Dr. Seuss created for the story, and it was really respectful to the artist and the source material. The Lorax does the exact opposite of all those things.
A little boy who lives in a plastic city wants to get a real tree to impress a girl he’s trying to date. His wacky grandma tells him to seek out the Onceler, who lives outside the city, as he’s the only one who knows where to get one. The Onceler tells the kid the story of how, when he came to this area, there were trees and wildlife everywhere, but he started an industry that involved cutting down all the trees and he drove the wildlife away, including his little orange friend the Lorax, who once spoke for the trees. He gives the little kid a seed, and he has to make an action-packed car chase to the middle of town to plant it, as an industrialist who sells bottled air wants to stop him.
Yeah, they turned a blunt kid’s book about conservation into a blunt, awful, hour and a half long movie where Zac Efron sings songs about how he’s not to blame for anything. The wacky gags and dumbed-down characters are things I expected, how can you not? What really pissed me off was that, every time they used a line from the book, they’d follow it up by basically just making fun of it, saying “well that’s stupid and makes no sense, but WHATEVER YOU SAY!!!” Why would you even do that? Why would you want to base a movie on a story and then take nothing from it but images and some sort of overall theme? I don’t know if there’s a more obvious way to broadcast that you just don’t understand what you’re doing, that you don’t get the point whatsoever. Frankly, this movie is insulting to the source material. I don’t care how you feel about the ecological message of the film (personally, I don’t agree with it at all. It’s a more complicated issue than can be reduced to blunt imagery, and that’s why the TV cartoon special from the 70’s did a much better job of it), the end result is that this is a stupid, lowest-denominator kid’s movie that actively insults the original book. If you want to support Dr. Seuss, don’t watch this movie. If you want something to make your kids shut up for an hour and a half, then don’t take them to a goddamn public movie theater, you asshole.