Giggling-Jiggling Bears, Dancing Fish, and Danny DeVito. It’s a Dr. Seuss Movie Alright
By Staff Editor & Film Critic, PK.
If you’ve been following us on Facebook, then you undoubtedly have seen some of my posts. Pondering the question, are modern day 3-D movies worth all the hype I keep hearing about? Well, after taking perhaps a little too much cold-flu medicine and feeling my eyeballs vibrating out of my skull, I decided the logical course of action was to go see a movie. After bouncing out of my car at the theater, I stopped and read the signs carefully. Of all the movies I could see today, which one would appeal the most to a cynical, sarcastic, and slightly high, yet cranky radio editor. Ghost Rider : Spirit of Vengeance 3-D was available, but I thought, “nah”. I’m in pain already, that’s overkill even for someone who enjoys the occasional slap and tickle of a bad movie.
I admittedly have yet to see the new Ghost Rider movie, but it’s one of those rare sequels that gives off the ripe cheese odor straight from the previews. I’ve seen some of the old school 3-D’s using the headache inducing glasses with bright red and blue lenses. But life events and my being a cheapskate had prevented me from seeing a movie using the newer tech. Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax would be starting soon, and I thought it would be good to review a family movie for a change. I also want to extend my sympathies to the lady working the ticket booth, who was being mobbed by a small army of young girls ranging in ages from 5-14, and the parent/guardian of the group who was using the opportunity to teach them math problems while giving them money to buy their own tickets.
If you’re not a huge fan of Dr. Seuss‘ work, or just are not acquainted with his stories that much, the Doc used his unique rhyming schemes and colorful illustrations to not only entertain, but help teach young children some life lessons. The big budget movie adaptation of the 1971 book “The Lorax“, is like most modern movies, an “adaptation” which has been updated for pop-culture references and marketing reasons. In the movie version, we follow the adventures of Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) who while trying to find ways to impress an older girl he’s fallen in love with, Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift). He discovers that what she wants most of all is to see a real living tree; since they live in a walled city where everything is made of plastic and metal and controlled by an evil corporation.
On advice from his Grammy Norma (voiced by Betty White), Ted seeks out the Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms), who was the last known person to have seen a tree and believed to have been the cause of the destruction of the once magnificent forests. While the kids in the audience giggled and laughed at the colorful characters, the movie expressed in a not so subtle tone the dangers of what happens when people think it’s OK to destroy the environment in their quest to build wealth. After Ted finds the Once-ler, he’s regaled with an extended flash back of how the Once-ler was a down on his luck inventor who discovered that cutting down the special trees in the forest would allow him to make a product which anyone would like.
After cutting down the first tree, The Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito), appears and does his best to explain to the Once-ler why it’s so bad to take away the trees. Through song, dance, and a bit of mild adult humor that was lost on the kids sitting near me. The Lorax and pals, show us the dangers of corporate greed and how people have used it as an excuse to cut down trees and generally screw up the environment. The movie version is a bit different from the 1971 book, where Ted seeks out the Once-ler in an attempt to find out why everyone lives in a near lifeless world. In the movie, we find Ted being motivated not by a desire to save everyone, but to impress the girl he’s got the hots for.
I would agree that yes, the movie preaches a bit on saving the environment. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but take it for what you will. The movie makers kept the art style true to the amazing work of Dr. Seuss, and despite changing the motives of the hero from selflessness to snagging the hot-girl, it overall wasn’t a bad movie at all. The voice acting was wonderful, and the musical aspects very well done. Oh, and as for what I thought of the 3-D. Well, it didn’t give me a headache like I thought it might. The in-your face visuals that popped up on occasion were interesting for sure, but I felt it was nice to have more depth to the picture than you would normally see. Does it make me want to see more movies in 3-D? That I honestly can’t say yet, I found it intriguing and a bit more clear to watch than the old-school pictures. But the tech still felt a little limited in ways, and it certainly wasn’t as mind-blowing as most commercials still make it out to be.
For a lighthearted Dr. Seuss themed romantic comedy, with save the planet undertones, I’d have to give The Lorax 4 out of 5 stars.
Modern 3-D movie technology, I’d have to give it 3 out of 5 stars.