It’s happened again. One of those wonderful, celebrated picture books from our childhood has made it to the big screen, this time in the form of a small, little furry creature speaking for the trees, the Lorax. From the creators of Despicable Me comes a hilarious and charming adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic we all grew up with. Showcasing the voices of big names like Zac Efron, Betty White and Taylor Swift, The Lorax shares an important message all ages can benefit from sans cheesiness.
The story centers around a town called Thneedville, where the lack of live trees renders the town helpless in the hands of our antagonist, a scheming (but so cute!) corporate monster hell-bent on accumulating profit by means of selling “fresh air.” The trees are blow-up, the sunlight is artificial, and the whole town is strictly monitored, 1984-style. But citizens are perfectly happy with their plastic existence, regularly breaking out into catchy tunes to portray their contentment.
The only ones who seem at all perturbed are our main characters, Ted and Audrey. Lamenting the loss of the native “Truffula trees” Audrey expresses a wish for a real tree. Ted, hoping to win Audrey’s heart, makes it his mission to acquire one. Assisted by his cantankerous but loveable Grammy Norma, Ted embarks on a hilarious mission that illustrates that if one cares enough, they can make a huge difference.
With significant parallels to deforestation issues of today, the movie puts forth the idea that even good intentions can, with only a few missteps, go bad. In the case of big companies this is especially true. When something is messed up in the world, the focus shouldn’t be on the heinousness of a corporation and their wrongdoings, but what individuals can do to fix the problems.
The movie presents this message subtly yet humbly and just light enough for kids and adults to understand the underlying meaning. The Lorax takes a prevalent, mature, and much-discussed theme and reinvents it, presenting audiences with amazingly adorable and cuddly teddy bears and goldfish.
The Lorax is not just for kids, though. As children gasp with delight, you’ll be marveling at the power of the message. You’ll be “aww”-ing as much as you are doubled over laughing. In many cases, the movie doesn’t compare to the book, but The Lorax might be a significant exception.