Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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The Lorax

Film #226


A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.

Year 1, Day 223

BEFORE: Nemo is coming to Boston today and two to three feet of snow is expected. Originally scheduled for today was Blue Valentine but instead I’m changing things up a bit and going for a more lighthearted film with The Lorax. I’m told that it can even fit into the romance chain so it’s not like I’m even diverging from my plan but remember to stay tuned for the animation chain later this month.

AFTER: Good news first: while not a perfect fit, The Lorax does have some connection to the romance chain albeit a very minimal one. But all that aside, how was the movie itself? I enjoyed it quite a bit. Based off the Dr. Seuss’ book of the same name (which I have read), this film adaptation not only brought some great new material to the original story but it stayed true to the original message.

First off, the animation itself is top notch. While animation is something we pretty much take for granted nowadays, the quality can and does vary from film to film, and more noticeably, from studio to studio. Pixar has a very distinct style, same with Dreamworks and this film’s studio Illumination Entertainmant. Visually, everything has a plasticy look which fits this film. Thneedville is like a better looking version of a 1984-dystopian future. There’s video cameras monitoring the town’s movements and everything is controlled by O’Hare - the town’s wealthy monopolistic businessman. But appearance-wise it seems as if nothing wrong and the animation style nails this to a T.

The story and characters were also well written and developed throughout. A lot of the story is told through flashbacks as the Once-ler (Ed Helms) recalls how all the trees disappeared and how things got to the way they are. In these flashbacks you are introduced to the Lorax (Danny DeVito) and the Once-ler’s mission. Almost everything else, including Ted’s (Zac Efron) backstory, love interest Audrey (Taylor Swift), and everything else that occurs in Thneedville, is new to this film adaptation. There are some ways that this helps with the message (by broadening it to more than just the boy and the Once-ler) but this same expansion does take away a bit from the simplicity of the Seuss story. As a whole though the improvements far outweigh the negatives and when the Lorax’s “Unless” stone is explained, I felt it had more of an impact than it did when reading the book.

Coming to the end here where I give my rating and recommendation, I’m a bit torn with what to do. Without a doubt I was highly entertained for the hour and a half runtime and found myself reliving a part of my childhood. The animation was beautifully done and the story and characters were adapted well from the Seuss book with many great additions. And just thinking about it and reading what I’ve written it seems a five star review would be a no-brainer but there’s just some part of me that says it only deserves a four despite having no real complaints about The Lorax. So after much deliberation, I’ve decided to give the film four stars but with a strong recommendation to watch it. It’s a very good animated film that is good for kids and adults alike and has a message everyone should listen to: things won’t get better unless you care.

RATING: 4 out of 5