Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a kid’s classic that criticizes big corporations and supports environmentalism. While the new film version proves to be an entertaining watch for most audience members, the simplicity of the film is lost because of the complicated back-story and ridiculous musical numbers. Although it is endearing to see a new generation of kids see my favorite children’s story come to life, it left me wondering whether or not they could see the message.
Unfortunately, with this adaption there is a lack of Dr. Seuss’ rhyme and creativity. Not only do screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio opt to rewrite the dialogue, they made no attempt to rhyme the script at all. When you read the book aloud, as you’re meant to, it becomes clear how significant the rhyming is. Lucky for us Paul and Daurio came up with a substitution; they turn it into a musical that made my face fall flat, sans a single raised eyebrow.
As in nearly all of Dr. Seuss’s stories, the characters and creatures are supposed to be entirely fictional. While this is not necessarily negated in the movie, it is simply brushed aside. Those things meant to resemble bears? They’re actually Brown Bar-ba-loots. Those duck-like things? They’re Swomee-swans. The closest they get to the original is the miraculously operatic fish, known as Humming-Fish. The magical world that Dr. Seuss had created came across as cavalier and unimaginative in the film.
But the animations are superb. This is the sole aspect by which the movie improves upon the book. The film manages to show what is imagined in the minds of young children on-screen. No longer does a Tuffula Tree appear as an electrified ball of miss-colored grass—it looks like combed cotton candy with tufts soft and light enough to tickle your cheeks.
This film also shows a lack of clarity when it comes to the moral of the story. The main focus changes from moral standards to political ones when O’Hare Air, the antagonist of the film, is put out of business. This is even more convoluted when The Lorax is paired with the new 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV, a gasoline-powered car. Then there is simply too much competition for attention between the Once-ler’s story and the puppy love between main characters Ted and Audrey. With the final lines of the movie, the audience is happy that Ted manages to plant a tree and O’Hare goes out of business. However, the story leaves readers with out the knowledge of how easy it is for greed to destroy, and that there is always hope when things go awry.