Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • U
  • Animation, Comedy
  • 2012

Dr Seuss' The Lorax

Dr Seuss' The Lorax

Synopsis

An animated adaptation of the revered children's book about the moustachioed orange eco-warrior

About

"I speak for the trees" announces the titular Lorax, grandly, after appearing in a clap of thunder from the shattered stump of a recently-felled truffula tree. The problem, at least with this adaptation, is that he doesn't, really. The self-appointed "Guardian of the Forest" just stands by as the life-giving flora is brutally cut down, doing little more than tutting and shaking his head in the manner of a disapproving spray-tanned pensioner watching the youth of today skateboard down the street.


And why does he not use his "powers" to prevent this wanton destruction? Ostensibly to teach a single misguided person, the Once-ler, a harsh lesson in the benefits of sustainable farming. Which has always felt like a somewhat extreme approach to me, but hey. Perhaps he is a representation of the Once-ler's guilt, like a grumpy, furry conscience. Or perhaps the embodiment of nature, impotent in the face of technological advancement and consumerist greed.


Alas, the answer is not made clear in the film because the Lorax himself (nicely voiced by Danny DeVito) doesn't really feature that much at all, what with the filmmakers preferring to focus their limited attention spans on a painfully trite teen romance, an uninspired bad-guy (he's short, it's funny, geddit?), and some thoroughly lacklustre high-speed chases.


It doesn't help matters that the songs are instantly forgettable and the characters are as plastic and generic as the town they inhabit. The animation is of a decent enough standard, yet I couldn't help but feel that for a film based on work from the fertile mind of one of America's most beloved and unique children's authors and illustrators, there is a noticeable lack of visual originality, charm or wit.


This is all a great pity, because there is an important ecological message here, especially for younger viewers. However, when this message isn't being driven home with all the subtlety of a stretch hum-vee, it's being lost amidst generic mayhem and noise, diminishing the power of Seuss' bleak, cautionary, yet ultimately hopeful, tale.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift

In a nutshell

Certainly not terrible, The Lorax nevertheless lacks personality and charm, and ends up feeling, somewhat ironically, like a cynical exercise in commercialisation.

by Iain Gray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

    On Film4: 4 Aug 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Maidan

    Documentary portrait of the winter 2013/14 Ukrainian demonstrations in Kiev against the pro-Moscow presidency of Viktor Yanukovych and for a greater integration with Europe.

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement on Film4

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

  • Film4

    The Impossible on Film4

    A true story made with the intimate involvement of the Spanish family, the Alvarez Belons, to whom it happened, The Impossible tells the story of a married couple (Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor) and their three sons, who were holidaying in Thailand when the

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share