Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2012. Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment. Screenplay by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, based on the book by Dr. Seuss. Produced by Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri. Music by John Powell. Production Design by Yarrow Cheney. Film Editing by Claire Dodgson, Steven Liu, Ken Schretzmann.
Gorgeously animated comedy from the Dr. Seuss book, beginning in a town made entirely out of plastic where no nature exists and the most powerful citizen is a zillionaire who has learned to sell people the very air they breathe. One little boy (voiced by Zac Efron) finds out about trees from a neighbor (Taylor Swift) with whom he is in love, deciding to break the rules and set out past the city limits in search of one to give her. What he discovers is a devastated wasteland of felled trunks and metallic refuse, where the only inhabitant is an old man who tells our young hero his tale: he was once an entrepreneur who came upon this gorgeous, fuzzy-lollilop arboreal landscape with its charming woodland animals and destroyed it all in the name of building industry, not realizing that through his exploits for profit he was sapping the very earth of all its resources. The experience also put him on the bad side of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), the protector of trees who was the man’s friend until he turned his back on him. Cute characters, fun jokes and vibrant colours are attractions, plus an environmental message that is spoken out to the point of being shrill: not that this is a criticism, given that environmental messages need to spelled out loud and clear, but there is an ironic Hollywood paradox here of complaining about environmental disaster while, being a kids’ movie, contributing to the very mess (throw out your WALL-E lunch box out and make room for a new one). The kids will learn and enjoy, and there isn’t the unnecessary addition of nasty, cynical humour that the execrable Cat In The Hat felt was necessary; this one wears its heart on its sleeve and we’re all the more entertained for it.