While Hollywood has tried to make live action versions of Dr Seuss’s stories in the past – such as the so-so The Grinch and the hideously awful The Cat In The Hat – his wacky tales are best suited to animation where the only limit is the filmmaker’s imagination.
So it comes as no surprise that this animated Lorax is one of the better Seuss adaptations, as brightly coloured, light and fluffy as candy floss, filled with cute creatures, songs and even an environmental message.
Ted (voiced by Efron) lives in Thneedville, a walled town where everything is plastic and man-made, to the point where residents have to buy their fresh air from local business big-wig O’Hare (Rob Riggle). But Ted is in love with neighbour Audrey (Swift) who dreams of seeing a real tree, so he decides to travel outside Thneedville to the wasteland beyond that’s the home of the Once-ler (Helms), the one creature who can tell Ted what happened to the trees and how to bring them back. The Once-ler tells Ted of a man who began cutting down the candy-coloured forest that used to be, angering a little orange fuzzy guy called The Lorax who spoke for the trees and animals and tried to save them.
Adults will probably find the songs a bit twee, but kids will love the look of this movie (the trees look like big fuzzy lollipops), the humour (the little woodland critters are a lot like the minions from Despicable Me in terms of comic relief) and the sheer glossiness of it all. The message about protecting the environment will probably fly straight over their heads (while grown-ups may find it all a bit preachy and heavy-handed), but hopefully they’ll at least pick up on the idea that it’s important to think of the other people around you, especially if you’re a money-grabbing capitalist.
Is Dr Seuss’ The Lorax suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Very young children (under 5) may be slightly frightened when Ted first goes to see The Once-ler but they’ll soon realise he’s harmless. They may also be a little bothered by O-Hare and his henchmen.