I sat next to a 7-year-old boy named Charlie, clad in Darth Vader attire, at the pre-screening of “The Lorax.” My heart melted a little as he told me about how he watches “Star Wars” movies every weekend. He bounced energetically in his seat, counting down the minutes until the movie started. As the lights dimmed, he turned to me and asked a question.
“Do you think it’ll be scary?” Charlie said, nervously. “I saw a part with an ax that looked scary.”
The theater was filled with kids like Charlie, both anxious and excited to see a favorite childhood book, Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” brought to life on the big screen. Although this film is aimed at a younger audience, its meaningful, save-the-planet message, lighthearted humor and phenomenal cast (Danny Devito, anyone?) makes it a must-see for all ages.
It opens in the town of Thneedville, a treeless town oblivious to the outside world, walled in with plastic plants, grass and homes. The story begins when a boy named Ted (Zac Efron) decides to find a tree to win over the beautiful Audrey (Taylor Swift).
So Ted embarks on a journey to find the Once-ler (Ed Helms), a mysterious figure that lives outside of town and supposedly knows what happened to the trees. After a long trek through the abandoned axes and upturned roads, he finally reaches his destination, the Once-ler tells him about how and why the trees disappeared, in the hope that Ted will bring trees back to Thneedville.
“The Lorax” never gets boring. It’s an upbeat movie with plenty of funny moments that had Charlie and I laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. Especially when the Once-ler told Ted that “If a boy does something stupid once, it’s because he’s a boy. But if he does it twice, it’s because of a girl.” Too true. It wasn’t one of those movies that kept me checking my phone for the time—it wasn’t too long or too short and kept me entertained for the entire 94 minutes.
Although, for those of you who loved the book, be warned: it does stray from the original story and adds a few more characters to the plot. The Once-ler is not evil like he is portrayed in the book, and instead of just hearing his story, we are also told Ted’s background. Set up like a musical, it is a story within a story—but don’t fret. It is not hard to follow and still keeps Dr. Seuss’ theme.
The 3D effect added a lot to the movie. I found myself flinching and moving out of the way to objects flying out of the screen. And Charlie kept reaching out to touch the Lorax’s long, bushy moustache.
The Lorax himself is quite the character. Voiced by Danny Devito, he speaks for the trees and first appears when a tree is chopped down. The word “lorax” means “lower your ax,” which ties into the main message Dr. Seuss was hoping to get across.
This movie has a strong theme of pro-environmentalism, but it’s not at all overbearing. It shows the audience why it’s important to take care of the planet rather than preaching at them. In Thneedville, their situation is so bad that there is a company advertising to sell fresh air in a bottle. Dr. Seuss published “The Lorax” in 1971 in response to the industrialization of the time period and how it could negatively affect our society. He leaves us with a somewhat eerie, yet truthful quote in the end:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
At the end of the movie, I asked Charlie what he thought.
“It was really good! I didn’t think it was scary at all,” he said, putting on his Darth Vader mask.
This movie isn’t just 7-year-old boys or 17-year-old girls, but all ages. Heck, this movie was so good that I plan on seeing it again. Everyone should see this movie, because not only is it hilarious and entertaining, but you can learn a lot from it. America is on the fast-track to being just like Thneedville—desolate and treeless. So buy a ticket, it’s worth your while. And, hey, maybe you’ll make some cute friends.
Three out of Four Stars