Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Lorax

So the past few days I thought about writing this in rhyme,
but considering, and trying, just took too much time.
So here at long last, my opinion of The Lorax.
(spoilers if you haven't read the book.)
A word of warning, my one friend commented on the movie that it is a surprise musical. As in Surprise! Here's several musical numbers! In the advertising and trailers I'd seen, they never really said anything about the music, I didn't even know there was a cd out until I looked for it after seeing the movie. (FYI, there are 2 cds, one of the instrumental sequences and one of the actual songs and demo songs from the movie. make sure you know which one you're buying first.)
So the movie opens up with some words from the Lorax, voiced by Danny Devito. I loved him in My Little Pony: The Movie, and he's just as awesome here. He talks about the city the movie mostly takes place in, Thneedville, and bam! Musical number pops up. The song is hilarious and it gets the job done about describing the city, it's inhabitants and attitudes there a lot better then anything else they could have done. The song ends and we start following Ted, voiced by Zac Efron. Mostly good choice in the casting there, but he's one of the main characters in moving the story along even though the other characters drown him out. Like Betty White as his Grandmother, Ed Helms as the Once-ler, and Rob Riggle as Mr. Ohare, the bad guy in the film. Now I know the Once-ler is the bad guy in the book and he's repenting for his sins by telling the boy about everything, but in the movie he's awesome and just misguided by his family.
So Ted's main driving force in the story is Audrey, voiced by Taylor Swift. I think Hollywood might be typecasting her, since it seems Audrey was tailor made for her. (pun intended) The character is just a pretty face that likes trees, and thus Ted wants to know about trees. Now we get to the good part. Grandma tells Ted how to get to the Once-ler's house and how to bribe him to talking about the trees.
I'm going to gloss over the Once-lers backstory a bit since most of it is lifted directly from the books, some of it is a musical number or two, and another part are hilarious little side-jokes and humorous visual gags.
The Once-ler doesn't tell Ted the whole story at once, making him come back a few more nights to here the rest of it. This is most likely to give the secondary plot of O'Hare's a chance to continue and get fleshed out. I kind of like the breaks a bit, with a clear villain to hate, who knowingly does do bad things and threaten people, we sympathize more with Once-ler, since how bad could he possibly be? Yes, that is part of a song that takes him from his lowly roots as a budding entrepreneur, to the owner of a large corporation manufacturing Thneeds. Reminds me of people on Etsy. The song is awesome, not just for its catchy lyrics, but for the transformation in outfits.
Climax! Thrilling Chase scenes! Death defying tricks! Ending with a showdown at the park between O'Hare and Ted over planting the seed that the Once-ler gave him. Cue hilarious musical number that turns the crowd away from O'Hare, and towards planting the Truffala seed.
After several days of thinking about the movie, and seeing it again today, I still really like what they've done and believe it deserves full stars from any rating system out there.Some say they made the movie too preachy, and alluded to the Lorax as Truffala Jesus with the ascension into the heavens, and from the heavens later on, but those are the people who haven't ever read the book. Certain things like the rising of the Lorax and the preachy tone are taken directly from the source material. If anything, I think they made the movie less preachy then the book. At times the Lorax really gets out there with browbeating the Once-ler into changing his ways. Not so much of it in the movie.
I even got Tayron pried away from Mass Effect 3 long enough to go to the movie, and he thoroughly enjoyed it.
Some of you might be a little skeptical at seeing the Once-ler's full human form, I was a little wary myself, but I think executive producer Christopher Meledandri's quote, "The minute you make the Once-ler a monster, you allow the audience to interpret that the problem is caused by somebody who is different from me, and it ceases to be a story that is about all of us. Then it's a story about, 'Oh I see, the person who led us into the predicament is not a person. It's somebody very, very different.' And so it takes you off the hook." best explains the change and makes it a good decision and not a poor one.
It also opens the way for a very well done Once-ler design, I know I'm going to see at least a few Once-lers at the cons I'll be going to this year. (can you tell yet I like saying that word?)

The Truffala Tree design was also great, and here's a link to make your own Truffala Tree pencils, whether it's for a small child or a big one.

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