Zany in more ways than one, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is a fun animated film that kids will love and parents will appreciate, unless you hate the environment. With a heavy handed message about nature and big industry and questionable musical numbers, The Lorax isn't perfect, but is consistently enjoyable.
The Lorax follows Ted (Zac Efron), a boy who lives in a city where everything - including the trees and even the air - is artificial, plastic and fake. When the girl he loves (Taylor Swift) mentions that she would love to see a real tree, Ted sets out into the wastelands that surround the city to seek out a ruined businessman who he believes can help him. There he learns the story of the Lorax (Danny DeVito).
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Brightly colored and highly detailed, The Lorax reinforces the clear truth that animation is a better format for Dr. Seuss books than live action will ever be. While the visual effects aren't as dynamic as those found in Pixar and some DreamWorks movies, the film looks great, the world the animators have created alive with cute critters and other strange things.
More importantly, The Lorax contains several likable and funny characters, from the title character to the greedy villain and everyone in between. Danny DeVito does great voice work as the wise and so humorless-he's-hilarious Lorax. Furthermore, the movie is lush with merchandise-friendly characters that will keep kids fascinated (and hungry for toys).
While not necessarily a flaw, The Lorax does come on strong when touting environmentalism, to the point that some people will be turned off. What starts off as a fun and innocent film becomes a dreary slog, especially for 10 or 15 minutes in the second act. The film rebounds with an entertaining third act, but it would have benefited by being more subtle with its theme.
The musical numbers also do not work. A few of the sequences reinforce the 'anything goes' mentality of the Dr. Seuss world, but The Lorax lacks a single memorable tune. The movie didn't need musical numbers in the first place, and they are by far the film's biggest weakness.
Nevertheless, The Lorax is a fun, enjoyable cartoon that kids will love, and in the end, that's what important. The sing-along numbers should be left to Disney, however.
The Lorax is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray features three all-new mini movies, deleted scenes, featurettes about the books adaptation to the big screen and the making of the mini-movies and more.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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