The last good Dr. Seuss adaptation was probably Horton Hears A Who, and it was the best out of them. After that, it seemed like Hollywood tried replicating it with The Lorax (known also as Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax), a musical comedy based on the 1971 Dr. Seuss children’s book of the same name. The book had one simple message: We are all Loraxes, and we are the only ones capable of defending the Earth.
It was a beautiful, sweet message, but it belonged to a tiny children’s book, even the 2D animated film was 20 minutes long. This Universal film is 90 minutes long, and that meant an hour and a half of suffering.
How to Stream or Download The Lorax (Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax)
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store you like. Click on the Download button at the end of the review.
The Movie Review
Thneed-Ville is a city devoid of nature, every tree is made out of plastic and even air is a commodity. But one citizen dreams of seeing a real tree, her name is Audrey.
Ted Wiggins will do anything to win her heart, so he hunts for the Once-ler, a damaged old businessman outside of town in a barren wasteland, to find a real tree. But after hearing how the hermit gave in to his greed and destroyed the land despite the Lorax’s objections, Ted is determined to undo the disaster. However, Aloysius O’Hare, the selfish Mayor of Thneed-Ville, has earned a fortune from the environmental catastrophe and is hell-bent on stopping the boy from ruining his business.
Director Chris Renaud is no stranger to animated movies, having worked in Disney Channel, Blue Sky Studios, and most notably known for co-directing the Despicable Me franchise. Screenwriters Cinco Paul (creator and songwriter of musical series Schmigadoon!) and Ken Daurio are also famous for Despicable Me, and the duo was personally selected by Dr. Seuss’ wife to wrote Horton Hears a Who.
But don’t let that fool you, setting high expectations for this animated film was my biggest mistake.
The Lorax explores themes such as environmentalism, appreciating nature, and capitalism destroying society – both symbolically and literally, since oxygen is rare in the village where the film is set – a perfect set-up for a Dr. Seuss story.
Unfortunately, the film fails to present it effectively, and the message gets lost because Thneedville is flawless, every need is met, and all Ted thinks about is capturing the love of his crush, not saving the environment.
Because the movie is way too long, it gets tiring hearing the same message over and over. In order to meet the film’s runtime, they also jammed as much songs as they possibly could to pass the time.
On the bright side, the animation is beautiful, colorful and whimsical like it should be. The visuals are Dr. Seuss-inspired, especially with the psychedelic-looking trees and the character design.
The songs are catchy and had delightful lyrics, but they weren’t that memorable. I was so disappointed when I realized that Taylor Swift never sings a single line, it’s such a waste of talent and opportunity. However, she’s actually a great voice actress and had great chemistry with Zac Efron.
On top of that, Danny Devito as the Lorax was spot-on, with his small height and grumpy voice. More great performances from Ed Helms, who portrays the bumbling Once-ler, and Betty White as Ted’s grandma, and Rob Riggle as Aloysius.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, The Lorax is another one of those movies that value style over substance. While it has all the bearings of a Dr. Seuss movie, the story isn’t even as compelling as The Cat in the Hat (the worst Dr. Seuss film).
The story might be hard for kids to follow, but at least they can be entertained by some of the jokes, the whimsical music and the bright, colorful animation.
Overall it was a well-acted, visually pleasing 3D-animated film, but the plot ruins any chances of The Lorax becoming another amazing Dr. Seuss movie.