Oswald Reviews: The Lorax (2012 Feature Film)

Now we’re getting into the live action Seuss films. These films are known to be not as good adaptations of the original shorts and books, and I was crazy enough to watch them. These reviews will not be like the past few Seuss reviews I’ve done, with these going more in depth on why this film fails as both an adaptation and as a movie by itself. 

So let’s get started with my favorite story: The Lorax!

Ted is an ordinary kid living in the town of Thneedville. The town is run by the greedy businessman O’Hare, who sells fresh air to people since the trees have gone missing. Ted wants to find a real tree to impress a girl, so he goes to visit the Onceler, who tells him his experience with The Lorax.

Why this fails as a Movie: The story and characters are just way too bland. I didn’t care for any of them. Ted is boring, the girl, Audrey, is boring, Granny and Ted’s Mom are cliche, and O’Hare was just gosh darn annoying. The Lorax and Onceler, despite being the supposed main characters, have no set interesting personalities. They just seem cliche, and they had little chemistry. Onceler’s family is just annoying. They are so annoying you just want to punch them all square in the face. They just aggravate me with their lack of character and annoying dialog. 

A majority of the time that SHOULD be spent developing some character and setting some plot points is condensed to a two minute song…and the song isn’t even that good! They didn’t give enough time for me to actually care about what was happening. 

The main thing that did bother me was the plot in general. Why does Ted need to show everyone in town the tree? They seem fine without it. Why do they want to plant it? OOOHHH. It’s because you don’t think it’s fair to pay for the air you breathe. Okay makes sense…oh wait, no. It doesn’t.

When a resource becomes scarce (in this case, trees), it is worth more. That’s why you need to pay for the air. Not because some guy’s a greedy jerk, but because of the economy. Besides, the town is living fine without the trees, They are living peacefully in a world where trees are obsolete. It isn’t that people don’t care about the trees, it’s that they don’t need them anymore.

Is this movie awful from a filmmaking standpoint? No. It is bad. Not awful. Just bad. Why does this film anger me though? It’s how this film fails as an adaptation.

How this film fails as an Adaptation: Now here comes the rant. I don’t feel like this film got what the original book was trying to say. There is a solution to saving the Earth that didn’t favor one side to the other. The business aspect doesn’t overrule the environmental aspect and vice versa. That’s where this movie went wrong. It especially acknowledged that the business is the bad guy. There is no simple good guy or bad guy.

The other reason why this film falls flat is how much of the book is covered. The majority of the movie is spent either useless filler in the future world, or useless filler in the Truffula tree world. The majority of the book is covered in a two minute song. There’s no development or discussing. The most discussing of what’s right or wrong is in one scene…AT THE END. 

In a story like The Lorax, you need that discussion. You need that debate on what we should do or whether or not we should give a crap. Don’t make it too simple. Sure, I love simple stories, but in this kind of story it won’t cut it. 

I also hate how they made the Swammy Swans, Barbaloots, and Humming Fish into cheep Minion knock-offs. And you know how much I don’t like the Minions! 

What I Like About It: With all this negativity, what is something I like about this film. I really like the animation. It captures Seuss’ art style really well and it’s filled with energy. What else do I like? The ending. 

No, not the stupid car chase. I’m talking about the ending with The Lorax returning to Onceler. I know. This goes against what the original was about. This is the scene that destroys the sense of hope at the end of the book. But this scene is actually the one time that I felt something for these characters. I actually cared. I sensed a friendship between the two. Which is weird….WHY COULDN’T THIS HAVE HAPPENED EARLIER??!!?

 

In conclusion, The Lorax is not a good film. Not at all. Should you see it? No. It totally destroys Dr. Seuss’ original. I’m not saying it was perfect by any means, but it was at least a clearer message. But if you DO want to see it, I won’t stop you. But remember; A Tree falls the way it leans. Be careful where you lean.

…I know that’s a quote from the movie, but I kind of liked that line.  See you later, Animators!

 

Score: 2.5/10

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