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Movies: The Lorax (with our special guest reviewers)

still from the loraxThe Lorax (DANNY DEVITO) stands with the Bar-ba-loots, Swomee-Swans and Humming-Fish in “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”, a 3D-CG adventure from the creators of “Despicable Me” and the imagination of Dr. Seuss./Universal Pictures and Illumination EntertainmentWas I expecting too much? Not from the movie. The Lorax is a great movie; let’s just get that out of the way first off. Expecting too much from our Guest Reviewers, possibly. When our six year old and four year old expressed a great desire to see and review the Lorax for the website, I was not overestimating their keyboarding skills. I knew I would be typing this review, but I did expect a bit more collaboration, some verbiage to equal the enthusiasm they expressed after the movie, and perhaps if I had hooked them up to a voice recorder immediately after the film, the results would have been better than what follows below, but still, after springing for tickets, a tropical fruit punch and bag of gummy bears and a bag of m&m’s, I expected more from them.

But what about the film. The Lorax was great. If anyone however is expecting a faithful retelling of the book, then, well I can’t help you with your foolish expectations, but a book like The Lorax does not lend itself to transformation into a movie without some liberties. Otherwise, you would have a very short film that would not find itself on 4,000 screens nationwide. So no the movie is not the book, only some characters’ names are all that remains. However, the movie of The Lorax does retain the heart and message of the book, that unless [someone like you does something to change this world we have, we are all headed for a sad place indeed]. The film does add a love story, a young boy named Ted who is in love with Audrey, a young girl who dreams of real trees in the fabricated world of Thneedville. (For those that don’t know, the characters of Ted and Audrey are named for Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) and his wife Audrey.) Ted becomes determined to deliver to Audrey such a strange thing as a real tree for her birthday. Ted’s grandmother (voiced by Betty White) sends him on a quest outside the bubble of Thneedville to the ruined world beyond to find the Once-ler whom she says is the person to help Ted find that real tree. With the Once-ler Ted also finds the tale of Thneed greed & devastation and the Lorax.

Overall, both the boys loved the story. Mr. 4 years old did get a touch restless at times when there was a bit of dialogue with no action, but how much this restlessness was based on the film and how much was based on the perhaps unwise overabundance of candy and liquid sugar, we will never know, but going out on a limb here, I’d fault the sugar more than the film on the squirming. In the end, the Truffula seed is planted, grows and life is restored to the world, ending things on a note of optimism that played well in the theatre. The writing team of Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio and director Chris Renaud have done an amazing job in creating a film that both tells a captivating and amusing story and at the same time still delivers a message true to the book, with all the heart of the book. And the voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Effron, Taylor Swift et al., are well cast for this story. I think that of all the films that are out there for kids, there are few that compete with what The Lorax has to offer, both in terms of entertainment and education: it is that perfect combination where a needed lesson is imparted without beating you over the head, and not only is it a great lesson, it is a message of empowerment since kids are told that it is up to them to prevent the consequences of inaction.

And now here is the overly informative comments of our reviewers:

What was your favorite part of The Lorax?

G: Ted on his one wheel motorcycle.

F: when the Truffala tree seed got planted by Ted

 

Do you think The Lorax looked good?

G: yes

F: it looked exciting

 

Would you tell your friends to see The Lorax?

G: yes, I would tell my friends.

F: yes

 

Anything else you want to tell me about The Lorax?

F: Awesome. I would watch it more than 10,000 times.

G: the movie made me happy.

 

Bottom line: They loved it. The animation is superb and the story held their attention for 95 minutes, which is pretty impressive for a 6 year old who is not very good at sitting still for more than 10 minutes for anything that does not involve trains or Minecraft. He did, in fact, recommend it whole heartedly the next day to his friends & their parents, so it’s a winner. It is, as he said, awesome.