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Dr Seuss' The Lorax

 
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Dr Seuss' The Lorax - 28/7/2012 5:01:25 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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Dr Seuss' Lorax - 28/7/2012 5:01:25 AM   
nc_jj


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Joined: 20/2/2008
It's funny and enjoyable, yes. But completely misses the point of the book, and I felt it kind of ended up trying to be like WALL-E. Or like an environmental doctrine for kids.

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RE: Dr Seuss' Lorax - 31/7/2012 8:45:56 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

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Ted Wiggins, an idealistic 12-year-old boy, lives in "Thneed-Ville", a walled city that, aside from the citizens, is completely, perfectly, artificial: everything is made of plastic, metal, or synthetics. Ted sets out to find the one thing that will win him the affection of Audrey, the girl of his dreams, who wishes to see a real tree . Ted's energetic grandmother suggests he speak with the Once-ler on the matter, and he discovers that their city has been closed off from the outside world, which is a contaminated and empty wasteland. The Once-ler agrees to tell Ted about the trees if he listens to his story over multiple visits. Ted agrees, even after the mayor of Thneed-Ville Aloysius O'Hare confronts the boy and pressures him to stay in town. Over the visits, the Once-ler recounts the story of how he met The Lorax, a grumpy yet charming orange creature who served as guardian of the land he arrived in......


I am going to admit and confess that I have never read any of the many children’s stories by Dr Seuss, but am certainly aware of their imagination, their clever rhyming and ability of get positive messages through to children. I have also seen all the previous films based on Seuss’s tales and found them most entertaining. Therefore it was almost a given that I would find The Lorax, which is the second computer animated adaptation of Seuss following Horton Hears A Who!, very appealing. The Lorax, which actually follows a 1972 live action TV version, has already had many complaints from Seuss fans about alterations. It’s also totally and utterly unashamedly environmentalist, which seems to have already annoyed some of the more conservative reviewers around, which is silly, because even if you’re not very ‘green’, this is an extremely inventive cartoon which is thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, something that is typical of the output of Blue Sky Studios [Despicable Me, Ice Age, the much underrated Robots]. I will say that I didn't see this in 3D, as I'm not a fan of the format, and it was visually exciting enough in 2D!

Right from the outset this is an extremely bright film, with bilious colours which could make some feel sick but which I loved and will certainly keep the younger viewers glued to the screen. Initially seeming like a weird variation on The Truman Show, it adroitly shows an ignorant, consumerist and artificial society which is not that far removed from our own before taking us to a totally different world that is just around the corner, a barren wasteland. The structure of the film from thereo is perhaps a little awkward; about half of the rest of it is the Once-ler’s story he tells to Ted and when we come out of it every now and again the breaks jar somewhat. Nonetheless, his tale is fascinating and set in the one of the most wondrous fantasy lands I’ve seen in ages, with absolutely gorgeous colours, friendly animals that most certainly are cute, and trees that look like candyfloss. Of course the environmentalist message is soon brought to the fore. I personally feel that it’s important to educate children about stuff like the importance of preserving nature [and even photosynthesis is explained in this film!], which has been a major staple of anime for decades, though if you don’t believe mankind is destroying our world some of The Lorax will undoubtedly grate.

The filmmakers have obviously realised this and fill the film with chuckles ; I especially loved the Lorax’s method of waking somebody up by rubbing two bears together and touching the sleeper with the electric shocks this produces, and of course there’s a big action climax which is one of the most inventive vehicle chases in ages. There are also some songs, making The Lorax a musical, something the trailer did not reveal. The songs are good rather than great and seem to be deliberately cheesy, especially the one near the end, a clever choice because it means that if you ‘going’ with the film and its sincere message than you can 'go with' the songs too, and if not you can just laugh at the cheese but enjoy it all the same. John Powell’s score, by the way, is one of the best to come from this veteran of animated films. For a start, it’s just amazing to find a composer who likes to write actual tunes these days.

The Lorax adds a couple of villains to the original story and some might say they are unnecessary but allow the filmmakers to make some timely and perfectly valid attacks on big business. The film isn’t subtle at all about what its saying and that is one of the reasons I liked it so much. There’s a ‘cool’ grandmother character who isn’t quite as funny as the writers think she is but the gruff but charming Lorax is wonderful and a perfect role for Danny De Vito; you can almost see the actor acting out the part. Somehow the animators convey the hurt in his eyes as trees are chopped down. Paced very fast, yet not seeming rushed, The Lorax is a fine cinematic fantasy which has been cleverly designed so that even the youngest of children can assimilate much of it, yet has ingredients that almost everyone can enjoy and is certainly off-the-wall enough to appeal to some adults who want to see something a little different. Sometimes supposed ‘children’s films’ are more ‘out there’ than some adults realise. Sometimes they’re also the best for getting messages across. From my point of view, The Lorax may be indoctrinating young people, and perhaps goes too far in showing capitalism as evil, but I do agree with most of it.

[rating: 8/10]


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to nc_jj)
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RE: Dr Seuss' Lorax - 1/8/2012 4:27:53 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
The Lorax

Based extremely loosely on the Dr Seuss story of the same name and as usual with Hollywood they have fudged it all up.

The story is an environmental one, an eco plot if you will about the effects of cutting down trees. Put simply (just like the original book did) there is a small town which is gloomy and polluted. The reason for this is because all the trees were chopped down to mass market 'thneeds' by the one they call 'Once-ler'. 'Once-ler' tells a young boy the whole story of how he destroyed all the trees to create his 'thneeds' and ignored the advice and warnings of the 'Lorax', guardian of the trees.

'Once-ler' regrets his actions and gives the young boy a tree seed to plant so that trees may return as well as the 'Lorax'. There is a bit more to it but that is the basic premise.

So what does Hollywood do you ask? well do you really need to ask? I'm sure you can all guess but I'll tell you anyway. Hollywood strips the story down and refits it with tripe filler and made up characters to fill out a decent length run time. Throw in some ridiculous vehicle chase sequences, cliched slapstick and jokes and some hideous musical numbers and there you have it, typical Hollywood trash.

Now I will admit the film looks lovely, full of bright bold colours, its cheerful, light hearted and with some nice CGI animation. BUT the lesson has been diluted and cluttered by fancy ass visuals and 'action' sequences. Yes there is still a nice message within the film, the finale shows what can be done if they jettison the crapola but that's only about a 3min sequence out of an entire film!.

I simply cannot understand why they thought to create new characters!. The new character 'Aloysius O'Hare' is REALLY annoying too, he just looks annoying, making him short...yeah that's not funny.
I realise they needed to fill the story to reach a reasonable film run time but if that can't be done then don't do it. Maybe try another route, don't just make a whole load of stuff up!. 'Once-ler' was suppose to be faceless, a boogieman like equivalent of modern faceless companies/corporations that destroy nature for their gain. You can't uproot that, that's the whole point!.

The world where this takes place isn't named, plus it isn't some bright, colourful, Willy Wonka type place with fancy technology!!. I see what they did with that sure but why?? stop changing the whole premise!!, it all looks like something outta 'Despicable Me'.

Of course we don't know how Seuss would take to it but I'm pretty sure the original fable wasn't meant to include futuristic vehicles, buildings, 'Once-ler' playing guitar, airship things and some god awful songs including the now obligatory hip hop pop song for the final credits which happens for almost all kids films now (more manufactured faceless nobodies singing forgettable songs that will fade into obscurity as quickly as they appeared).

I like the fact that Hollywood has tried to put across a good message...of sorts. I'm sure they are more concerned about another franchise to milk that will rake in the moolah but the initial positive effort is there. If only this could of been done more down to earth, with a little more sense towards the source material and maybe in a different media (stop motion would have been nice, Selick directing perhaps?).

At the end of the day its merely been mutated into another flashy, churned out, in your face CGI flick (in 3D -_-). How ironic, a polluted vision of Dr Seuss' simple little tale, such a shame.

Ignore this, stick to the original book or 1972 TV special, don't deny your children these.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 4
Deliciously anti-consumerist! - 4/8/2012 9:02:47 AM   
filmsunlimited

 

Posts: 106
Joined: 20/2/2009
As a Leftie and person concerned about the environment I sat through this with barely disguised glee! I can well understand some people feeling preached to with a film like this but I felt the message was a very important one to children.
Some of the cynicism about consumerism is delightful. For instance, the advertising campaign for fresh air in a plastic bottle and the bastardisation of the recycling sign showing smoky factories and choking citizens. I actually wish it had gone even further at times, with a few well aimed snipes at bankers and shareholders.
The animation itself, while not exactly Pixar standard, is very colourful and almost hippielike in its gaudiness (maybe this was the intention) The main criticism would perhaps be that some of the characters don't exactly do much, the Lorax pretty much justs sits and watches the forests being destroyed. And yes, the love story is sort of barged aside in the push to get the environmental message across. Again, it could have pushed that little bit harder, giving kids real examples of how they can help the planet, rather than some vague quotation about caring.
As long as you are not a foaming Daily Mail reader, do take your kids to see this. Even if so they get a mark for the word 'Photosynthesis' in their Science assessment!

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