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Monday, March 5, 2012



So how did RAMA feel about DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX? Make sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

There’s nothing more frustrating than an average movie, you can’t fully like it and you can’t get yourself to fully hate it either. It’s one of those cases where you’re grateful for certain characters that exist, otherwise you’d throw a tantrum. THE LORAX is faithful to the original material, to Dr. Seuss’ book but you couldn’t care less for the mountains of additional elements that the movie features. The book advising you to care for trees is nice but a full blown movie doing exactly that feels more like Hollywood, for the gazillionth time again, shoving down its environmental sermons down your throat…

From the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss comes the 3D-CG feature Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, an adaptation of the classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. Danny DeVito will lend his vocal talents to the iconic title character of the Lorax, while Ed Helms will voice the enigmatic Once-ler. Also bringing their talents to the film are global superstars Zac Efron as Ted, the idealistic youth who searches for the Lorax, and Taylor Swift as Audrey, the girl of Ted’s dreams. Rob Riggle will play financial king O’Hare, and beloved actress Betty White will portray Ted’s wise Grammy Norma. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is the third feature created by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop).

As soon as the marketing says that this movie is ‘from the makers of Despicable Me’, I knew that I was going to have a hard time enjoying it because if it weren’t for those minions and that girl who liked all things fluffy, Despicable Me would’ve been .. well, flat, mediocre and ultimately despicable. THE LORAX is no different, the character the Lorax himself is worth watching. Voiced the great Danny Devito, I wouldn’t describe his character, the guardian of the forest, as a wise figure, the movie makes him more of a little guy who’s highly intrusive, whose methods are a bit dangerous though he means well by them.

The once-ler is voiced by Ed Helms. Now, in the book, you don’t get to see the Once-ler, there are only hands and his words but the movie pretty much created this complete character for you to see. He’s some kind of guitar-playing, cocky traveling salesman who eventually becomes greedy and uncaring. The product he sells is a thneed which is multifunctional, and the fabric is taken from the trees that look like giant cotton candies.

So you have those guys and then you have an entire town of thneedville and characters like Ted (Zac Efron), Audrey (Taylor Swift) and Grammy Norma (Betty White), I can understand why they need to have all that and more because if the adaptation would just go straight by the book, it would be a very short movie.
Thneedville is an interesting concept, to a certain point I find that whole corporate forces selling oxygen and fake trees to be quite amusing. The town is run by a villain, Mr. O’Hare who I suspect suffers from Napoleon/inferiority complex.

But the song and dance number and the adventures that happen in that contained environment is formulaic.
A guy wants to impress a girl, a grandma who’s cooler than she looks, a chase scene that wants you to think like you’ve got your 3D money’s worth. The makers of ‘Despicable Me’ take even less risk this time around compared to their previous gig.

But once again, I suppose if those things didn’t exist, this would be a very short movie. Equivalent to minions, THE LORAX has singing fishes and a group of bears that can be confused one minute and then angry the next.

By the way, the songs by composer John Powell sadly just aren’t memorable. I’m a big fan of Powell’s but his work on THE LORAX proves that he’s no Alan Menken.

Unless you’re a kid of between age 3-5, you’d find THE LORAX simply forgettable and mundane. But I happened to attend the press screening where other press members brought their kids and even those kids didn’t laugh at the jokes, which goes to show that it takes more to get kids to laugh these days, THE LORAX’s humor and animation just aren’t impressive, even to its target audience.

At times, the environmental message in this film is heavy-handed and overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for motivating our young generation to care about this God-given planet but if this movie is one way to go about it, caring for the planet may end up being the last thing on their mind.

GRADE: 2 out of 5

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