Monday, March 12, 2012

Lorax Review

Another Dr Seuss creation brought to the big screen with "the Lorax" but this one is not like the others. You might leave the theater feeling full of popcorn and full of guilt about your carbon footprint.

A little background: The Lorax is a creature that speaks for the trees and he appears when there has been an injustice against one of his forest dwellers. The Once-ler is a man on a journey to be successful with his invention, the Thneed. He ventures to a glorious, thriving paradise inhabited by bears, fish, and birds and cuts down one of the trees to harvest the material he needs for his invention. The Lorax appears and makes the Once-ler promise not to cut down anymore trees because of how important they are. the Once-ler's promise quickly goes out the window when his invention becomes the latest need of the people. High demand means more trees need to be cut down and the Once-let becomes blinded by his greed and a "what's the worst that could happen?" attitude and before he knows it, there are no more trees anywhere. The land is barren. Not only are there no trees, but the air and the water have become so polluted from the harvesting and manufacturing that the once beautiful lush place has become unliveable.

Enter the love story that drives the movie. The people of Thneedville live in an entire plastic world. Everything is manufactured and the toxicity of the outside world is in seeping and impacting them. They joke about how their children glow and become radioactive after swimming in their water. The head honcho of Thneedville is O'Hare who made his millions selling fresh air, since the people can't get it naturally. Ted (Zac Efton) wants to get the girl Audrey (Taylor Swfit) and the girl wants a real tree. Ted goes on a journey to find out what happened to the trees, why are they nonexistant?

Enter the agenda. As you listen to the songs and the conversations the Lorax has with the Once-ler, you start to realize that this movie is a message about the environmental slaughter happening now. The movie is entertaining and the characters are lovebale so it's bound to get the thumbs up from younger viewers but it at times feels like a finger wagging at the adults. Big corporations and factories that produce the things that we as consumers think we need are destroying the trees and land that we actually NEED to survive. The agenda hiding (not so secretly) behind the cute bears and the singing fish is that we need to make the changes in the world or else there won't be a world for us to live in. Parents are a little blindsided by the preachy tactics. A little head's up would have been nice so that parent's could decide if they were going to take the message to heart or with a grain of salt. Some people, especially when it comes to their children, don't like getting more than they bargained for in their kid movies.

Enjoy the message, the movie, or skip it and stick to the book. Either will be a positive way for your kids to learn how important our environment truely is, but it will let you do it in your own way.

(This might just be me, but I also noticed some religious parallels. Bears, fish, and birds are the only creatures in the forest the Once-ler settles down in? Seems like a weird, random combination but in this very Eden like place, it makes sense. In the Creation, God placed beasts on the land, foul in the air, and fishes in the streams)

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