Movie Review: ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – An Unexpected Update on a Classic

Jess March 12, 2012 0
Movie Review: ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – An Unexpected Update on a Classic
  • Music/Songs
  • Cast
  • Imagery
  • Seussness
  • Taylor Swift

‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ Movie Review

Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Writers: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Actors: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Betty White, Jenny Slate
Music Composer: John Powell
Editors: Claire Dodgson, Steven Liu, Ken Schretzmann 

Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment come together with directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda to create a new world in three dimensions. While much of the lively animated film was charming, inspiring, and relatable, a few cheesy moments took away from some of the film’s genuine aspects.

Voiceover Work

For a voiceover cast, the diverse range of tones and textures in The Lorax were generally well chosen. A recognizable voice by many, Danny Devito’s quirky, raspy tone as the Lorax himself, added a touch of heartwarming nostalgia. To those of us who grew up with Devito’s charming characters, as well as his talents in producing and directing, he was a great choice for the little “hairy peanut”. Betty White lent her voice as, what else, the coo-coo crazy yet charmingly facetious grandmother. Most notably however, was the stellar performance of The Office and Hangover star, Ed Helms. Part nerdy-villain, part hippy-guitarist, Helms has a great voice to portray The Once-ler. Referred to by the Lorax as a “string bean”, Helms vocal depiction of Oncie, is an honest and relatable yet awkward and outcast, young man with big dreams. Helms also portrays the older, more nostalgic Once-ler with precision.

I was generally underwhelmed by both Zac Efron’s Ted and in Taylor Swift’s Audrey. For a curious little boy, Efron’s voice lacked the wonder, pitchy, pre-pubescent squeaks of a 12 year old. Swift on the other hand was about as awkward in her speech as she is during her performances on stage. Her voice was unenthusiastic for a girl who is supposed to convey passion and caring.

Animation & Believability

The animation and design in this movie was nothing short of enchanting and colorful, everything I would expect Dr. Seuss to create. A universe created essentially from scratch, “Thneedville” was a futuristic suburban town. Complete with gravity-defying roads and architecturally extreme houses, the town was nothing short of Seussical.

The characters themselves were a little, plastic-y for me. I thought a lot of the characters faces looked flat. Grammy Norm looked more like the young boy from Up, than the older, more similar in age, Mr. Fredericksen. Most notably was the desolate, lifeless scenery outside of “Thneedville”. Fitting perfectly into the post-appocolyptic feeling of the movie already, this Zombieland gone Seuss was a scary way to show a world without trees. My personal favorite depiction were the beautiful cotton candy, bunny-soft truffula trees. I wonder how much a Thneed would cost.

To 3D or To Not 3D?

I saw this movie in 3-D, for $14. The only movie, I ever felt was even slightly worth more than the typical $10 for a movie in theaters was Avatar, and I still debate whether that was actually worth it. The 3-D experience is usually disappointing and The Lorax was no exception. It really didn’t add anything to the movie. Maybe if it had incorporated some parts filmed from the view of some of the characters, it could’ve really added a third dimension. I would say definitely don’t waste the extra $4 for this movie, and I’d be interested to see a movie in which I did think it was worth the extra $4.

The Plot

The overall plot and feeling of this movie was a little cheesy at times but gave a great message and was never dull. From random bursting into song, to adorable woodland creatures, at worst the movie was entertaining. The message was somewhere between, environmental policy and preservation to it’s safe to talk to the creepy old man who lives outside of town alone. In the end, the good guy prevails, the nerdy tree-loving “Ted” (Zac Efron) finally gets his kiss from “Audrey” (Taylor Swift) and it looks like the world gets a chance at redemption. The ending is daringly, similar to that of Wall-E… but hey, when the human race prevails, it’s not a bad ending to have.