March 6, 2012
Movie Review: The Lorax
I saw the Lorax movie with my family just over the weekend. Before I launch into my review of the movie adaptation of the classic book, I must confess that I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan. In fact, when I first started learning to read I went almost straight from flashcards to Dr. Seuss' books, despite my "smart" first grade teacher said I was too "dumb" (and that is a quote) to read them. Seuss' wordplay and rhyming schemes absolutely fascinated me and still do. As I grew older I found that Shakespeare has provided a similar level of linguistic pleasure.
With that out of the way, I am not prepared to review the movie. To put it all into a nutshell, I thought the movie was pretty good. I guess on a scale of one to five stars I would give it a solid three and a half. Trust me, though, very few movies would score a four or above on my scale. I did not feel ripped off by the movie, but I will say it is very much geared toward kids. My kids laughed, they giggled and they screeched in delight through a good portion of the movie. They asked when we left the theater when we could buy the DVD--the highest compliment a kid can give.
What bothered me about the movie--being the Seuss fan that I am--was the fact that the original language in the book was really not used at all. Other Dr. Seuss adaptations have incorporated at least some of the language into their scripts, which I think is not only a nice tip-of-the-hat to Seuss but also makes good use of some brilliant language. I would love to sit down with whomever wrote the script (sorry, I didn't catch the credits) and ask why the book's language was dropped.
My other big complaint about the movie: it seemed to slightly alter the message from The Lorax book. Sure, both the book and the movie are about excesses and damage done to the environment for business profits. The movie, though, skipped much about how the Once-Ler's business spiraled out of control, which I think is a very instructional part of the book. Also, the ending of the movie did not seem to drive home the message of how precious trees and other natural resources are. The book's ending I find almost haunting every time I read it.
I took a class in college about literature and film adaptations, so I get the movie could not be like the book. Because of what I learned in that class, though, I think the makes of the movie missed slightly on the essence of the book's message. I say slightly, because the variation really was slight and I might be the only person on Earth who even noticed or feels this way. I am picky about stories, and I think that comes from being a writer.
Would I recommend The Lorax? If you have kids, absolutely yes. If you are offended by "leftist" messages about conserving natural resources and not just acting selfish, this isn't the movie for you. If the second person is you, you really should read up on Teddy Roosevelt and realize that preserving natural resources should not be a partisan issue, but really should be something we all concern ourselves over. If you don't see the movie, then please read the book and appreciate what Dr. Seuss was trying to teach children and adults--I think his crafting of the story is brilliant.