A feature of The Lorax, finally at last!
They're adapting a favorit book from my past!
To say I'm a fan of Seuss would be true,
I'm a master of fish counting, of both red and blue
(If you got that reference, you're a Seuss fan too!)
So I saw the flick, and it was a bad show
But to my surprise, only I thought so.
I puzzled and puzzled till my puzzler was sore.
This movie, I saw, was a total bore.
They padded the feature, yet shortened the best part!
And compared to the book, there was very little heart.
The message was muddled, the songs were a pain.
So much pointless cuteness, it damaged my brain,
To the point where I thought that I turned insane!
Yet, the audience liked it. This I cannot explain.
They liked the whole movie. They liked it a lot,
Despite the lame characters, and it's week plot,
They liked the villain, ripped straight from Captain Planet.
They even liked the obnoxiously fat bear, goddamn it!
Am I the only one who sees this as wrong?
Who's annoyed by the forcibly hip Once-ler song?
And also, The Lorax doesn't speak for the trees,
But trips to your iHop in new SUVs.
This movie was bad, but what to do now?
I must stop more tickets from selling...but how?
I have some issues with this film, it's true,
So allow me to rant in the following review
So much like the movie, I'll drop the rhyming scheme,
To better explain and show you what I mean...
|Speaks for the trees, and new SUVs!|
Now for those not in the know, The Lorax is one of Dr. Seuss' less popular books, mostly because the book deals with a rather loud pro-environmental message and it does end on a bit of a downer. With those two things combined one would think a movie adaptation of The Lorax would be a bit of a hard sell, but hey! This is Hollywood! They'll adapt anything, and honestly that's not always a bad thing. Hell, when Disney adapted an amusement park ride we ended up with one hell of a nice Pirates movie. But there is a right and a wrong way to adapt things, and sadly Seuss' properties have never really transitioned all that well to feature films, with movies ranging from piss poor (Cat in the Hat) to "meh" (Horton Hears a Who, which was adapted to the big screen by the same guy who wrote The Lorax's script, Ken Daurio.) The Lorax isn't the worst Dr. Seuss adaptation out there, but sadly it does get a bit more wrong then it does right.
One of the interesting aspects of the book is the fact that it's narrated by the story's antagonist, The Once-ler, to a blank slate of a young child, representing the reader. But since the movie needs to be lengthened to make it a respectable feature length, the obvious choice was not to expand on The Once-ler's story, but of the kid's side. So the kid is now given the name Ted (played by Zac Efron,) and his own conflicts outside of the original story. I have nothing wrong with this choice, making the actual "Lorax" story more of a story within a story. But as a result, the film creates a lot of really cool ideas with very little overall thought on how that changes the message and theme of the original.
|Ted's town is designed well...maybe too well...|
|Hey baby! I'd like to plant my roots into you anyday!|
In the flash back, the Once-ler is somewhat changed as well. First of all giving him a face (guess it was too hard to leave him in the shadows for the whole movie,) then making him a "cool" guitar-slinging teen for the older demographic, then finally adding a one-demential overbaring mother. It mostly felt like filler to me, but then we actually got to the valley where the Once-ler first lays eyes on the tuffula trees and oh man! Speaking of filler, let's talk about the cute animals!
|The fat bear eats more cuz he's fat! LOLOLOLOLOLO!!|
You may have noticed my review of The Lorax so far has been rather sparse on any mention of the actual Lorax (who was fittingly voiced by Danny DeVito.) That's because while the book mostly involved a constant back and forth debate between the eager corporate Once-ler and the nagging, tree-hugging Lorax, the movie mostly involves Lorax just bugging the Once-ler. Bugging, and pestering and trying an oddly cruel scheme to rid the Once-ler from the valley. Yet the Lorax never really gives him a solid reason for not chopping down the trees. He warns that cutting down trees is bad, and he should stop doing it, but doesn't give him reasons. That's what made the book compelling! The book didn't talk down at its kid-centered audience, or try to distract them with lame animal gags; it addressed the issues of deforestation in a straight forward and creative way, letting both sides have a back and forth discourse until the situation got out of hand. Most of the events of the book (the expanding of the Once-ler's shop and the individual goodbyes to all the wildlife) happens within the course of a 3 minute song (called "How Bad Can I Be? ...very subtle movie...) I guess instead of bringing up intelligent points about deforestation and the economy, we needed more forced visual gags with the cute forest critters. The whole result seems oddly paced: padded and stretched at the beginning and end, and then rushed in the middle to get most of the book's events over in 3 minutes.
|The Lorax: photoed here being mildly displeased.|
I know that feeling, bro.
|The 1972 version: with 98% more rhymes and 20% more wah-wah guitars.|
I hate to be such a downer on a movie that is actually trying to get a worthwhile message to children, and from what I'm understanding kids are getting some degree of environmental education from this film. But from where I stand, the message in this film feels neutered and only a fraction of what it could have been. Which is a shame, because when the film finally slows down from it's A.D.D. pacing and takes in a quite moment, the animation takes over for some very powerful scenes. Moments like when Ted first ventures out into the deforested wasteland, or the first and last truffula trees being chopped down. The film is great at wringing out every ounce of emotion in these parts. But those are only fleeting moments in an otherwise mucky film. This movie could have been a truly powerful force of nature, but instead it's just a very week, very soft reminder that trees are good because...well, because the film said so, that's why.
And then I thought a thought I didn't think before,
Maybe this movie sucks, because I know more.
I've seen the original and what it can do
Making my view on this film all wonky and askew.
This film has made millions, what else can I say?
The people have spoken, they're willing to pay.
I'm fine with their choices, I'll speak what I please
About this week movie that "speaks for the trees."
So what if the masses are in love with this flick,
I'm happy ranting and raving and being a dick.