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'Lorax' encompasses zany Seuss style (VIDEO)

I love Dr. Seuss. I love how his books are filled with fantasy, strange creatures with even stranger names, and worlds filled with color that captures the attention of all audiences.

Among his works, The Lorax is one of my personal favorites because of its message about the preciousness of nature. It’s a simple tale of a greedy entrepreneur who disregards the warnings of a fuzzy orange creature. The movie, based on his book, was released March 2 from Universal Studios.

It follows the book’s deep environmental message and also adds a love story, several catchy musical numbers, and even more silliness to this classic child’s tale.

The movie begins by introducing an average 12-year-old boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron). Ted lives in a city that contains no nature and is constructed entirely out of manmade materials — radioactive streams, smoggy skies and plastic trees.

Ted’s heartthrob, Audrey’s (Taylor Swift) biggest desire is to own a real living tree. Ted then makes it his quest to find her one. There is only one problem: there are no trees anymore.

Based on the advice of his fun-loving grandma (voiced by Betty White) Ted goes on an adventure to find the one person who knows what happened to the trees: the Once-ler (Ed Helms).

Ted finds the Once-ler, who appears as a creepy old man living in a run down house in the middle of a barren wasteland outside of town. The Once-ler tells him the story of how he stumbled upon the forest of Truffula trees. He tells Ted of the warnings of the Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito), the speaker for the trees, who warned him about the consequences of his actions. But despite those warnings and the beauty of nature, he continues to greedily destroy the environment for money.

The strongest points in the movie for me were the graphics, character development and portrayal. The animators followed the wacky looks of Dr. Seuss’s world; the Truffula trees and zany forest animals exactly like the book. This was a big bonus point and I give props to the animation crew at Illumination Entertainment.

Along with that plus, I think that DeVito was fantastic in his voicing of the Lorax. He sounded almost exactly like what I thought The Lorax would sound like when I read the voice as a child. In addition to DeVito, White did an excellent job in voicing the endearing grandma.

Another positive aspect was the fun, upbeat original musical numbers by John Powell. The music helped the movie flow better and added more pizzaz to the movie. The music also made the most intense parts of the movie a little more entertaining and helped capture the audience more. I think that the movie also helped to add the zaniness aspect that Dr. Seuss is made famous for.

A negative aspect for me was the movie’s lack of humor. Despite a few cute acts by the bumbling forest animals the rest of the movie went basically without a good chuckle. While the upbeat musical numbers covered up most of the lack of humor, I still felt that the movie would have been more enjoyable with added comedy.

The film also could have done without one of the antagonists, Mr. O’Hare (voiced by Rob Riggle, who is a greedy tycoon making money by selling fresh air to the citizens of the town. The greedy business man hates trees and will do anything to keep them all dead. I think that this character is a poor attempt to bring a timeless Dr. Seuss tale into the modern day and the movie would have been better without him. I also think that the “industrial” mindset of people is a big enough antagonist that it doesn’t need an actual person to represent it.

While some people might think that the movie is a political argument against big business and industry I think that is just a reminder that once nature is gone it is near impossible to get back. In the book, after man destroys the forest he is regretful of all that he is done and wishes he could bring it back. Dr. Seuss was not trying to start a political debate but was merely trying to prevent a crisis before it happened.

Beside these factors, I think that The Lorax is a great movie that blends the lovable creativity of Dr. Seuss with a timeless environmental message that will satisfy younger kids and encourage older audiences to think about nature and how to preserve it.

The Lorax, which runs for 86 minutes, is rated PG for brief mild language. For tickets and showtimes, visit Fandango.

For more movie reviews, read the Feb. 24 article, Mediocrity outdoes likability of ‘Gone’.

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