Welcome to Snooze-Ville
The Lorax owes more to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs than it would like. Its environmental concerns, specifically deforestation and greed, are secondary to the robotic animation and inanimate dialogue.
Taken from Dr. Seuss’ list of tales, The Lorax follows the search on the part of Ted Wiggins (voiced by Zac Efron) for a real tree. He’s in love with Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift) and the only way he can impress her involves finding what she wants most. The main problem? Ted lives in “Thneed-ville,” pronounced Sneedville, and the only forests are artificial. So that means leaving town. Easier said than done because the mayor, Aloysius O’Hare (voiced by Rob Riggle), keeps tabs on all activity. He has to -- due to the fact he sells bottled oxygen. The last thing he needs is to lose money because people can get clean air for free.
There’s another plot but it’s not important. The Lorax requires extremely low expectations from adults. Meanwhile, children will probably get a kick out of the brightly coloured characters. That may explain the film’s phenomenal success in America. No doubt it will play just as well in Britain. However, it’s difficult to recommend The Lorax given that its animation pales next to the Toy Story trilogy. The colours may be as vibrant and kids may ooh and aah but that doesn’t make for an appealing plot. You might as well edit together a montage of children’s drawings for all it’s worth.
The trouble begins with the choice of songs. “Thneed-ville” features lacklustre lyrics – it’s not the only Mamma Mia moment here as several other compositions burst forth. The impression it leaves has to do with Attention Deficit Disorder and how worried directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda were about keeping things moving. Let me be the first to inform them that children don’t need patronizing. Most of them are smart and know what they want to see. The sooner filmmakers realise this, the happier parents will be.
The Lorax runs for a paltry 86 minutes, and it’s no classic. At best, the film feels like a mild entertainment, catering to dumb trends over more enlightened concerns. I believe the screenplay by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul could be more daring without the cheap gags.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated "PG" by MPAA.)