The Lorax (2012)
The Lorax (also known as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax) is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment and based on Dr. Seuss' children's book of the same name. The film was released by Universal Pictures on March 2, 2012, on Universal Pictures' 100th Anniversary; as well as what would have been Seuss's 108th birthday.
Twelve-year-old Ted (Zac Efron) lives in a place virtually devoid of nature; no flowers or trees grow in the town of Thneedville. Ted would very much like to win the heart of Audrey (Taylor Swift), the girl of his dreams, but to do this, he must find that which she most desires: a Truffula tree. To get it, Ted delves into the story of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), once the gruff guardian of the forest, and the Once-Ler (Ed Helms), who let greed overtake his respect for nature.
- The main problem with this movie is that goes against the original book by turning the story into a light-hearted familiar film with comedy elements instead of a dark and interesting tale with a good message like the original book and Friz Freleng special.
- Pointless subplot involving Ted and his attempt to impress Audrey which is hardly seen since the Once-Ler's flashbacks take up a good chunk of the film.
- O'Hare is a weak and overly cartoonish villain. On top of this, none of the stuff involving him was necessary and only exists so the writers could find an excuse to make the book into a film.
- Incorrect casting choices: Both Ted and Audrey (the latter of whom is voiced by Taylor Swift of all people) are miscast as they sound way too old for their ages.
- Mixed message: The film has messages about how greed is bad and how protecting the environment is good yet the film has many advertising materials attached to it including polluting cars and disposable diapers.
- All of the forest animals are made into obnoxious Minions-like comic reliefs, which once again goes against what the book was trying to convey.
- On that topic, there is even an unnecessary cameo of one of the Minions in a scene of this film.
- Similar to some Illumination films, the characters are cliched: Ted is a generic boy who falls for a girl and tries to impress her and Audrey is as stale as a bread love interest.
- This film's infamous portrayal of the Once-Ler. Here, he's an obnoxious, loud pretty boy which once again goes against the original tone of the book since the Once-Ler was meant to be mysterious and foreboding. On top of that, it's very difficult to sympathize with him because by the middle of the story he technically becomes a villain by being responsible for the destruction of the entire forest, the air-pollution in Thneedville, and the departure of the animals by ignoring the Lorax's warnings.
- The Once-Ler's family are much more unlikable, as they didn't care about the Once-Ler until he became rich, then later in the film when his company went bankrupt, they abandoned the Once-Ler and took his money and were never seen again in the film after that. That could have been a good idea, but the execution is bad, with the family being cartoonish and annoying.
- Most of the songs are unnecessary and annoying, like the song in the opening.
- Speaking of the song in the opening, there's even a scene where a boy becomes green, which makes no sense whatsoever.
- This infamous commercial. Like stated in BQ #5, the movie's message is to show that protecting the environment is good, however in this commercial, it's the polar opposite; saying it's good to do air-pollution in the said car commercial.
- The missed opportunity of the film being a musical is that the film casted two legitimate singers, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, and yet they voice the only two characters in the film who don't get a song, as most of them either go to the Once-ler and the O'Hare delivery guy.
- The Lorax is an absolute downgrade from his normal self in this movie, as he's made into a pointless comic relief character like the other animals, despite his attempts to save the forest.
- Unnecessary pop culture references like how the Once-Ler mentioned Donkey Kong.
- This film had the chance to be timeless with an ambiguous ending but instead decided to go with the happy ending. The scene that should have been the end is pinpointed here: After the Once-Ler gives Ted the seed and says his lines, Ted drives off, leaving the ending a mystery.
- Plot hole: If the Once-Ler still has the last truffula seed, couldn't he just plant it in himself? (Yes this was in the original book too but still.)
- The songs can be good at times. "Let it Grow", for example, is admittedly catchy.
- "How Bad Can I Be?" is also pretty good as well, despite being a depiction.
- "Thneedville", despite it being about an artificial and environmentally harmful city, is admittedly funny and catchy.
- The art style is pretty faithful to the book, especially the buildings and some of the character designs.
- The animation is well-made compared to the rest of the Illumination films.
- Despite Ted and Audrey being miscast, the voice acting is at least decent like Ed Helms as the Once-Ler. Danny DeVito is also a great choice to voice the Lorax himself.
- Some likable characters such as Granny, Pipsqueak, The O’Hare’s guards, Cy the O’Hare delivery guy, and the Lorax himself.
- Some of the character designs are very good.
- There are some good funny moments here and there, such as Ted getting hit in the rear from a boot contraction when at the Once-ler's house, Cy falling into a manhole when he’s singing in the "Thneedville" musical scene.
- Some hilarious quotes in the film, most notably "You greedy dirtbag!" and "Let it die, let it die, let it shrivel up and... come on, who's with me? Eh?"
- When the film has a dark tone (particularly when Ted is driving outside Thneedville), it is a nice touch.
- John Powell's score is decent.
- The ending is heartwarming, despite not being in the original book.
The Lorax received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, who praised its animation and voice acting but criticized its marketing for ditching the original message of the book. The film earned a rating of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 152 reviews and an average rating of 5.9/10, with the critical consensus saying, "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is cute and funny enough but the moral simplicity of the book gets lost with the zany Hollywood production values.". It also has a score of 46 on Metacritic based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
- This was the first film to use the current Universal Pictures logo (although trailers and TV spots for it had the 1997 - 2012 logo).
- The song, "Biggering" was planned to replace the song, "How Bad Can I Be?". However, Illumination thought it was too "dark" and is not included in the final version, although the offical soundtrack includes Biggering.
- The song, "Let it Grow" became an Internet meme in December 2016.
- In fact, the songs of this film all became memes.