Dr Seuss, Dr Seuss!
The creators of sensational children’s film Despicable Me return to cinemas with an adaptation of Dr Seuss’ famed fable The Lorax. First published in 1972 the children’s book boasts many original characters, magnificent illustrations as well as the legendary author’s prominent poetic style.
In the plastic city of Thneed-Ville, where everything is artificial and even air is sold, a young boy, Ted (Zac Efron), has dreams of restoring the former glory of nature in order to win the heart of his dream-girl, Audrey (Taylor Swift). He seeks information from the Once-ler (Ed Helms), a greedy businessman who tells the story of how he betrayed the mythological Lorax (Danny DeVito) and devastated the land which now houses the false city of commodity.
While children will sit and admire the glossy texture of the fine animation, mature audiences will become instantly aware of its overt agenda. With the beauty of nature and a hatred for greed and commodification at its heart this is Dr Seuss’ most serious tale and the resulting adaptation is an environmental proclamation poorly disguised as a children’s film. Cheap jokes, monotonous songs and tedious rhymes – these parlour tricks fail to engage and more importantly fail to obscure the true philosophy.
The most successful directors of children’s films have the ability to bridge the gap between young and older audiences, providing enjoyment for both. Blending seamlessly childish puns and slapstick with more mature material and references, such balance to comedy is what Pixar achieve consistently, and what was significantly beneficial to Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox. Despite the occasional laugh, The Lorax pales in comparison and is unfortunately another addition to the increasing line of failed, painfully unfunny Dr Seuss adaptations.