Musical, merry and full of colour the starting scenes were a little bit of a shock despite my adventures into Kid-dom of Alton Towers a few days earlier. The cinema had been littered with remains from the Official Preview, with star Danny DeVito (The Lorax) in attendance, the night before. Filled with copies of the little orange man with the huge moustache I wasn’t sure what to expect. The original children’s book was one thing, but with more and more literary creations becoming Hollywood’s inspiration, this could turn into just about anything.
Thneadville was quickly shown to be “perfect” in a slightly creepy sense of the world. Covered in plastic, nature has fallen to the wayside and instead families buy customisable and remote-controlled trees, lighting the surrounding area in the right colour for the season. Colourful and yet disturbing: fresh air is bought and delivered because the air around the town is so polluted, and the man making all the money is a small man with a strange haircut. Only when nature is gone could someone really get money from the thinness of air, but he has and is currently in the process of polluting a little more to make bottled air, now newly portable!
When Audrey (Taylor Swift), the girl Ted (Zac Efron) seems besotted with, declares she would love to see a tree, Ted goes to find the Once-ler. From there he learns of the Once-ler’s ambitious mistakes that led to Thneadville’s lack of trees, creatures, and fauna. Whereas Dr Seuss‘ book leaves the reader with a ambiguous note, passing on the last Truffula seed to a boy without the suggestion that it all turned out right, The Lorax of 2012 continues to a final rousing beat. I won’t tell you how exactly, that would be mean, but I will say that it managed to make me laugh and cry and take away a continued passion for nature and the greenery around me.
Character-wise I adored the character of Ted’s grandmother (Betty White): fiesty, full of old tales, and snowboarding! It was a shame we didn’t see as much of the Lorax as you’d expect from a film with his name, but his wise words and cute shenanigans with the bears of the forest, warmed my heart.
The point of book and film is clearly to point out the dangers of shunning nature, interfering and abusing it, and this was pushed the entirety of the film. What was also interesting was the take on “doing what comes naturally”, the more it was seen as dark and cruel. The greed and green took over and destroyed the colourful landscape of the forest, making me question what else we claim as “perfectly natural”, whilst justifying destruction.
All-in-all it was a good film, and definitely one for the kids. Parents might find it a little one dimensional at times, but it amused me. Plus I want to make a bear-costume for my very own Bear – he’d be the one with a mouthful of marshmallows!