The notion that adults can enjoy films intended for a younger audience is another reason that cinema lets parents breathe a deep sigh of relief. Through companies like Pixar and more specifically through films like Up, TRON: Legacy, Finding Nemo, the Toy Story trilogy, and more, the idea that kids’ movies are solely for children is a thing of the past. No more are the days of those stupid My Little Pony flicks invading the household of every toddler across America. Now, animated movies are so well made, they’re sometimes even nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Family films, according to some, are also ways to tap into a child’s subconscious and invade their minds with the liberal agenda of Hollywood filmmakers. Things like alternative economies, energy conservation, and anti-establishmentism have been invading the multiplexes in recent years so say the conservatives. In fact, Fox News made it a priority to point out how The Muppets was brainwashing children to be “anti-oil”. My response then was a simple little middle finger and the acknowledgement that Fox News is absolutely bananas. My views then changed after I saw The Lorax.
Based off of a popular book by Dr. Seuss, The Lorax follows the title character (Danny DeVito) as he tries to save all the trees in the world from being chopped down. The Once-ler (Ed Helms), a small town hipster kid with a dream to sell his ingenious invention, runs into some trouble when after cutting down a tree in a forest abundant with cute little animals, meets the Lorax who “speaks for the trees”.
In present day, man kind lives in a world with no trees. A young boy named Ted (Zac Efron) ventures off “Outside of Town” to look for the last living tree. Why? To gain the love of Audrey (Taylor Swift), a curious, young girl who wants nothing more than to just see one little tree. After drifting out far beyond the limits of his town, Thneedville, Ted meets the Once-ler, now a shut-in who refuses to go outside. Ted begs to hear the story of where he can find the last tree before Mr. O’Hare (Rob Riggle), a business tycoon who’s made a fortune from selling bottled air, finds out of his plot to plant a seed. Is the metaphor starting to seep between the lines yet?
The Lorax is a perfectly innocent and perfectly liberal little film that preaches the dangers of not having fresh-air as well as the dangers of big business ruining all moral integrity. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a pretty liberal guy. But from the first scene, The Lorax preached its message so pervasively, that I just wanted it to shut up and stop lecturing me. What could have been a run-in-the-mill family comedy quickly transforms into a hypocritical commercial for “going green”. By hypocritical I mean, as much as the film speaks out against big business, what do you think they used to advertise the damn thing? I rest my case.
As a film, The Lorax is perfectly enjoyable kiddie fare, offering a comedy full of physical comedy gags that will keep kids and adults laughing, but I would have appreciated a lot more wit and wordplay that is synonymous with Dr. Seuss. The voice-acting is decent enough from everyone, but it seems like the producers were much more interested in casting big names instead of talented voice actors, especially with Zac Efron. He’s an undoubtedly talented kid, but his voice definitely doesn’t fit the character of Ted and it just seemed kind of awkward.
The Lorax was better than I expected, but that’s because I expected it to be in the same league as Batman & Robin. In fact, The Lorax is about the same league as movies like Space Chimps; fun to watch at first but instantly forgettable. If you want to watch a good movie about the environment, watch Wall-E. That, my friends, is animation created to perfection.