Around this time last year, a little animated movie named ‘Rango‘ came out and fell into the hearts of many audiences over the world. Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, the creators of ‘Despicable Me‘ and ‘Hop,’ have decided to bring another Dr. Seuss tale to the big screen. To be fair, the last Dr. Seuss movie we had was 2008’s ‘Horton Hears a Who,’ which was released by 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios instead. Luckily that movie was great, so Dr. Seuss’ name wasn’t shunned by pop culture and adult jokes. Four years have passed, and voice talents like Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, and Betty White have all come together to bring audiences all over the world ‘The Lorax.’
‘The Lorax’ is the tale of a town called Thneed-Ville, where everything is made of plastic and people like it that way. One day a boy named Ted, as a result of trying to impress a girl he likes, goes outside of town limits and discovers a man named the Once-Ler, who tells him the story of The Lorax and how all the trees have been destroyed. The trailers for this movie were okay, but nothing great. I was surprised and happy to see how much I enjoyed ‘The Lorax.’ The animation is superb, the story is stretched out nicely, and the voices are brilliant. ‘The Lorax’ is already an early contender for best family movie of 2012, and that’s not just because there haven’t been many family movies to come out this year.
The thing that surprised me the most about this movie is that it is in fact a musical. That’s right, a musical. From the movie’s hilarious opening number to the final closing song, the soundtrack to this movie is top notch and very fun to listen to. There is a song that Ed Helms sings in this movie showing how evil the Once-Ler becomes, and it is as of right now the ‘Man or Muppet’ of 2012. The opening number of this movie that introduces audiences to the town of Thneede-Ville is both hilarious and a bit weird, because you can tell that this town is pretty insane. It’s actually pretty ironic that Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, both singers/actors, don’t cast a single note in this movie when it comes to singing. For a movie not advertised as anything more than a comedic family environmental awareness flick, the soundtrack makes ‘The Lorax’ funnier, more energetic, and better than it would’ve been without the songs. The voice cast is just as good, if not better.
The voice cast in this movie is surprisingly really good. Danny DeVito has this sort of charm that goes along with this quirky orange fluff-ball. His voice is even quite strong when some of the dramatic (yes, there are dramatic scenes in this movie) parts come into play. Ed Helms is also a surprisingly strong voice playing the Once-Ler. He portrays the Once-Ler in both the flashback scenes and when he’s talking to Zac Efron’s Ted in “present” day. Helms’ voice is both funny and energetic, proving that he knows exactly what he’s doing with his career. (Aside from ‘Meet Dave‘) Zac Efron also surprised me as Ted, a boy trying to get the girl he loves. Really the only complaint I can make with Efron is that it just doesn’t fit his character, which is a 12 year old boy. I doubt he could’ve gone through puberty that fast, but hey that is how life works sometimes.
After her horrendous role in ‘Valentine’s Day,’ Taylor Swift comes back for voice acting, and she’s pretty good too. She is a sweet, innocent girl whose only dream in life is to see an actual tree that’s not made of plastic. She wasn’t needed for the movie, but she was good. And of course, there’s Betty White as the cooky old grandma. There’s nothing much to say about her other than she is hilarious. This film is just another example of how older women can be the funniest part of a movie. That’s all there needs to be said about her. Overall the entire cast was really good, and they help give the movie some of the comedic energy needed.
The only complaint I can give about this movie is that it feels longer than 86 minutes at parts. I don’t like when my butt starts getting sore in a movie that’s less than 90 minutes, nor do I think anyone likes that. Other than this little thing to bear with, ‘The Lorax’ is a fun, upbeat, and awesome family movie that teaches kids a really good message about the environment. The voices are great, the songs are hilarious and energetic, and the message of the film stays true to the heart. I personally am not a fan of the Pixar movie ‘WALL-E,’ so seeing that movie combined with the quirkiness of ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,’ the animation and heart of ‘Despicable Me,’ and the imagination of Dr. Seuss had me captivated throughout. There aren’t many family movies out there at the moment, so why not make it a fun day with you and your loved ones. Trust me parents, you will have a fun time despite some of the jokes feeling too childish. If you want your kids to become the next generations of saviors for Planet Earth while getting some laughs and 3D images along the way, then do yourselves a favor and take them to see ‘The Lorax.’
Final Rating: 3.5/4