Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Directed by: Chris Renaud (co-director Kyle Balda) Starring: Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift Rating: Not Yet Rated Release Date: March 2, 2012
TRAILER SCORE: 7/10
Thoughts by TSR: 2008’s Horton Hears a Who! is a film I like, so naturally I was on board when I heard that film’s writing team was penning another Dr. Seuss adaptation. Now that I’ve seen the trailer for Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax I have a few minor issues, but I mostly enjoyed what it had to offer. I’d be lying if I said the song by The Polyphonic Spree didn’t have something to do with that, but it’s still a beautifully animated trailer for a film with a good deal of potential.
Like many others, I’m not sure how I feel about the filmmaker’s decision to depict the Once-ler as human. Actually, that’s not really the crux of the issue. It’s that they fully show him. In the book the Once-ler is a green-armed creature that is never fully seen. I understand the idea is to make the Once-ler a more relatable villain, and Ed Helms voicing the character helps in that regard, but that’s one thing I would have preferred they left alone.
Luckily one of my favorite moments in the trailer involves the human Once-ler. After cutting down a tree, the Once-ler distracts the Lorax and blames it on the cute little critter next to him. The look on the little critter’s face as it reaches up for the ax made me laugh harder than anything else in the trailer.
My other minor issue is the casting of Danny DeVito as the Lorax. It’s my own fault, but I fear I’m going to have a hard time not picturing Frank Reynolds from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” whenever the Lorax speaks. DeVito does seem a good fit for the Lorax, but the things DeVito’s character has done on “Sunny” aren’t ideal to have on the mind while watching a Dr. Seuss adaptation.
A key factor for this film’s success is whether or not it maintains the environmentally conscious message of the book. There could be problems if the adaptation buries that message in favor of love interests and celebrity voices, but for now I have hopes that Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax will be a worthy adaptation of great book.