The wonderful world of Dr. Seuss met the elaborate 3D animated world of Illumination Entertainment Production, and created an harmonic family film loosely based upon one of Theodor Geisel’s social commentaries disguised as children’s book “The Lorax”. Director Chris Renaud had enormous shoes to fill given the success of “Horton Hears a Who” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, which both catered nicely to their target audience of innocent children as well as pleasing hardcore Dr. Seussians. The story began in Sneedville, where young Ted (Zac Effron) traveled beyond the gates of evil businessman O’Hare’s (Rob Riggle) plastic tree and bottled fresh air gated community. Ted sought out the Once-ler (Ed Helms) to find a real, living tree for his crush Audrey (Taylor Swift). Ted then meets the Once-ler (Ed Helms) who dives into an elaborate flashback of his experience with the Lorax (Danny DeVito). On March 2, 2012 audiences were immersed in a bright, colorful 3D universe in which one could reach out and attempt to feel the soft, fluffy truffula trees, yet this 3D world translates so well and just as sensory currently streaming on Netflix. Needless to say the animation on this film was out of this world, every set seemed elaborately life-like with extreme attention to detail in regards to lighting, texture, and movement. Sensations such as a cool breeze and wet flannel pajamas are so well animated it seems the viewer is looking in on a strange alternate universe.
What added to the animation was the screenplay, written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, both of Whom wrote for “Horton Hears a Who” as well as “Despicable Me”. The Lorax stands out with its constant reference to Dr. Seuss as well as childish humor mixed with hidden jokes for adults. Cinco Paul was also collaborated with artists such as John Powell and Ester Dean to create a playful soundtrack, which transformed the eco-friendly story of “The Lorax” into a musical. Now, theses songs were by no means dynamic, on the contrary they are extremely vapid, but they were disgustingly catchy and kid friendly. The songs also acted as an artistic outlet for the voice actors of this film to showcase their singing talent.
Joining the iconic ranks of Jim Carey and Steve Carell, Ed Helms was absolutely inspired, portraying both a young naïve Once-ler entrepreneur, as well an old, creepy, guttural version. His amazing vocal abilities were shown in his portrayal of the different characters as well as his milky soothing singing voice. Obviously, Danny DeVito was the voice of the stout Lorax with the large mustache. Who else would perfectly portray the short grumpy speaker for the trees? Rob Riggle portrayed the evil O’Hare adequately; his groggy, gangster-esque persona supplied an antagonist to Zac Efron’s protagonist portrayal of Ted. Efron was believable and refreshing as innocent yet curious Ted. Swift could have been replaced with anyone but it was exciting for kids to see her name roll down with the credits. Everyone who worked on “The Lorax” played to their strengths; beautiful animation, creative writing, and a growing legacy of hilarious, multi-talented lead actors.
Running Time: 1 hour 26 minutes
Now streaming on Netflix