I am, and always have been a huge Dr. Seuss fan. Like any good fanatic, I have read all the books and I have seen every single Seuss movie. Over the past fifteen years or so, there has been a shift from the original, classic animations of Seuss works – such as the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in 1966 – to live action and digitally animated adaptations. The first mainstream Seuss reboot was the 2000 remake of the Grinch, and the part was played fairly well by Jim Carrey. It was okay, but nowhere near as fantastic as Horton Hears a Who!, which was produced by Dreamworks Animation in 2008 and brought the voice talents of Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Carol Burnette.
From that success came the 2012 adaptation of The Lorax, which is by far my favorite Seuss character (edging the Grinch) and my favorite story by the good doctor. I believe that The Lorax is my favorite Seuss tale because I am a bit of an environmentalist and an outdoorsman, and the moral of this classic tale is one that endures throughout the generations.
Now that I’ve informed you of my well-versed past with the works of the Doctor, it’s time to get on with the critiquing of this latest adaptation!
I am a fan of Horton Hears a Who! – it had a great combination of voice talent, visual quality, and story. I found that Dreamworks Animation really took what they learned from Horton and expanded on it. The world that was animated looks as though Dr. Seuss himself was designing the 3D models. I was blown away at just how great of a job the studio did with the setting of this film – the illustrations of a Seuss book are a large reason why they are so engaging and awesome!
The voice talent in The Lorax was just as impressive as the visuals – The roles were flawlessly cast! Danny Devito as the Lorax was a fantastic match, as was Betty White voicing the grandmother of the protagonist Ted. While I am not a fan of Zac Efron’s prior work (The High School Musical series, for those REALLY out of the loop), he did a great job providing the voice of Ted. I was equally impressed with the voice talent of Taylor Swift, who is more inclined to be behind the mic onstage rather than in a movie studio. Her role as Ted’s love interest seemed genuine and fit well. Although the characters are additions to the original story, I felt that it was perfectly okay and it seemed to fit well with the rest of the plot.
While the movie is longer than the actual book (It is very difficult to adapt a feature length movie from a 20-30 page children’s book!) I feel that it was overall decent. The movie is not as subtle as the book in its message, and I did find myself missing the bittersweet, somewhat darker version of the original Seuss story. The movie really expands on the Once-ler’s family, and seems to portray the capitalist who ravaged the nature around him in pursuit of corporate profit as a bit naive. I welcomed the addition of Mr. O’hare, a tycoon who makes his fortune selling fresh air in bottles (much like water in our world) to the smog-choked citizens of Thneedville, the 100% plastic utopia that keeps the people from seeing the true devastation of the world outside.
All in all, I think it was a great movie. I was blown away by the animation and color – 100% Seuss. The voice talent was great, and the story, while different, panned out to be acceptable when compared to the original. The inclusion of several musical numbers was unexpected but not too annoying – it also seemed to add to the very “Seussy” feeling. Also, I doubt there’s any difference (other than price) when viewing this movie in standard or 3D format. I had no choice in the matter, watching the 3D version because that was the only choice at the theater. (I also did not suffer the headaches that can result from 3D movies, so that was nice!)
Golden Squid Rating
It’s worth seeing!