It doesn’t quite live up to my childhood memory of my favorite Dr. Seuss book, but the Hollywood version of The Lorax isn’t an updated fail.
The reason this family friendly movie doesn’t fail is because it passed my kid-friendly test in the theater. Basically, when you watch the film, it’s whether you hear kids getting restless. It was silent for the showing I attended, which means it kept kids engaged.
The story of The Lorax, Once-ler, Truffula trees, Swanny Swans and the thneeds that we all need is familiar with some add ons. The main character Ted (Zac Efron) is a young boy trying to win the affections of a girl who wants to see a tree. (The things guys will do to get the girl.) The rest of the cast is as colorful as a handful of candy. Danny DeVito, Betty White & Ed Helms all deliver likeable performances. Helm’s musical numbers stand out as favorites.
The introduction of Mr. O’Hare (Rob Riggle) as a greed hungry corporate power monger who sells clean air to the residents of their cordoned off home town was extraneous. Maybe they needed a villain beyond the Once-ler for everyone to hate, but I felt it muddied the plot.
I caught the film in 2D, although it’s also being shown in the 3D format. You can tell what scenes are meant to pop out at you, but I felt the vibrant colors and animation stood out plenty in the base format.
Loving the book, I also enjoy the message of The Lorax, which is basically that we should care about each other. That, and the dangers of unchecked corporate greed in a capitalist society. It also doesn’t hit you over the head with the message. It’s a nice family treat.