Monday night is not a popular movie night. This is precisely why I ventured out in the limited crowd with my family to the theater to enjoyed the latest Dr. Seuss on the big screen project, The Lorax.
Regular readers know that I'm against preachiness in general. To be sure, this was one of Seuss's most preachy books. That said, it's one of my favorites to this day. While it is easy to see that the message is about the environment, it can also be about any issue one cares about. The time tested quote, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not," is not just about saving the trees, but effecting change at any level and empowering the individual to care enough about what they believe to stand up for it.
But enough about the book. Let's see if the movie held up its end of the bargain.
The Up Side: Making any Dr. Seuss book into a full length feature film requires a significant amount of embellishment. The existence of Thneedville in this film is just that. It's a fake, plastic city where everyone cares about convenience and fresh air is bottled, purchased and brought into people's homes. This is where the background tale for our young hero, the boy who seeks out the Once-ler begins.
It all looks very consistent with the Seuss model. The people have big, round eyes, tiny noses and strange hair abound. The vehicles are all very strange looking and their operation defies the laws of physics. At your first glimpse outside of Theedville, the scenery looks just as it did in the book. The shambles of the Once-ler's home and the surrounding stumps of Truffula trees make you feel like the pages came to life. The entire movie is visually stunning. What's more, the wildlife in the Truffula forest during the flashback framed tale of the Once-ler's life is cute and amusing. Kids will instantly love the Bar-ba-loots in their Bar-ba-loot suits and the Hummingfish. Danny DeVito also does a great job as the Lorax.
The 3D gets a passing grade, but nothing about it was ground breaking. You are aware of the 3D effects at some times, but through the majority of the movie, it doesn't matter. In fact, the best 3D effect came during the preview for Despicable Me 2.
The Down Side: To be frank, the musical numbers in this were forced and terrible. Each time I started to get into what I was watching, the music would start up and Ed Helms (whom I normally like very much) would sing something that would make me want to tear my hair out. I honestly think I would have enjoyed the movie much more without a single song in it.
When the dialogue turned to the environment, the whole point of the story, it seemed like the movie shifted gears. It slowed down, took too serious a tone in such a lighthearted setting. I'm not against the message, it just felt like a complete derailment anytime the subject came up.
The Wrap Up: All that said, it's a decent family movie. You won't want to run from the theater screaming and the kiddies will definitely like it. There are a couple deep lines and touching moments that you will think about later amongst the preachiness and annoying musical numbers. If you're looking to save some cash, the pretzel bites are a better investment than the 3D.
Happy viewing, TGD readers.
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