An adaptation of Dr Seuss' 1972 book, The Lorax.
THE LORAX (U) It seems extraordinary today that the animated film was once under threat of being sidelined. Disney got itself back on track with The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King and when the technology allowed it, moved to a different level with Pixar. Other film studios soon caught on and now there is even an Oscar category for best animated film - I don't think we can call them cartoons any more. The work that goes into them is extraordinary, with each film taking around 4-5 years to make, with painstaking attention to detail. These days, virtually every hair is animated, which you can imagine takes an awfully long time. Dreamworks' latest offering is an adaptation of Dr Seuss' 1972 book, The Lorax.
Ted (Zac Ephron) is an idealistic young boy who lives in a completely artificial city called Thneedville - everything is made of plastic and synthetic material. He has a crush on a young girl, Audrey (Taylor Swift) who wishes that she could see a real tree. His grandmother (Betty White) tells him that the person who can help lives beyond the city, which is walled in, a mysterious chap called the Once-ler (Ed Helms). Ted sneaks out of the city, and discovers a barren wasteland filled with dead tree stumps, and in the middle of them is an old house in which resides the mysterious man. The Once-ler then recounts his story as to why the trees are all gone - it's his fault as his own greed led to the chopping down of all of them, despite the warning of the tree's guardian -The Lorax (Danny De Vito). Ted then has a chance to bring back the trees, but has to outwit the town's most powerful man who built his fortune on the artificial nature of it.
This is a very sweet film but possibly a bit too sweet. The young will love it, but lacks the brilliance of the likes of Pixar's work such as Toy Story. It looks great and there are some very funny moments. For the grown ups there is a warning about the downside of seeking profit at the expense of nature. This was a lesson Dr Seuss first brought up in his book, but which still resonates today in the age of global warming. It's cleverly made but doesn't quite grab you or take you on a journey like some of its better made counterparts. Also it was quite unnecessary to have a 3D version. It's a good one for the summer holidays.
6/10 Andrew Shepherd