Dr Seuss' The Lorax (U)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/07/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Watchable eco-friendly comedy that scrapes a pass thanks to lively animation, colourful characters and a handful of amusing gags, though the script is rather thin and the plot feels both lazy and underdeveloped.

What's it all about?
Directed by Chris Renaud, The Lorax is based on the popular eco-friendly 1971 children's book by Dr Seuss. The film begins in the town of Thneedville, where everything (grass, trees, flowers etc) is fake and greedy mayor O'Hare sells breathable air in bottles. When 12 year old Ted falls for beautiful girl next door Audrey (Taylor Swift), he decides to impress her by sneaking beyond the town walls in search of a real tree. Along the way, he meets outcast The Once-ler (Ed Helms), who tells him the story of an orange furry creature known as The Lorax (Danny DeVito), who spoke for the trees and tried to protect them before they were all chopped down.

The Good
The animation is lively and colourful throughout, even if the filmmakers haven't been all that fussy about replicating Seuss' inimitable style when it comes to the human characters (though at least the end credits include some Seuss-style drawings). In addition, gruff-voiced DeVito makes a perfect Lorax, while Efron is solid as Ted and Betty White proves just as much of a scene-stealer in animated form as she does in real life as Ted's feisty grandmother.

The film shouts its Save the Trees eco-message loud and clear, ensuring that even the youngest audience members will get it, which is no bad thing. On top of that, there are several good lines and some enjoyable throwaway sight gags, mostly involving the supporting cast of super-cute critters (the bears in particular) that show up in the Once-ler's story.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that the paper-thin script frequently feels both lazy and underdeveloped, throwing in crowd pleasing distractions like chase sequences and songs rather than getting to grips with its actual themes. For example, Thneedville is rich with possibilities for an attack on capitalism and consumption (the Thneed itself is the useless garment that all the trees were chopped down to make in the first place), yet the film sheers away from anything too controversial, perhaps for fear of being labelled socialist propaganda (as, predictably, has already happened in the States).

Worth seeing?
The Lorax is never less than watchable, thanks to lively animation and colourful characters, but the lazy script means that it's neither as funny nor as sharp as it could have been.

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Content updated: 22/02/2018 22:31

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