The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Dr. Seuss' The Lorax | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

Directed by: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Starring: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Betty White

Another Dr. Seuss adaption. I say this without enthusiasm or disappointment. Dr. Seuss films are usually just mediocre, nothing to get excited over. However, they make a lot of money. Thus, we get the movie adaption of "The Lorax." 
I won't lie, I've never read The Lorax, nor do I know anything about it, aside from it's environmental message. But I can tell this film really stretched the source material. Even with the extensive (and uninteresting) chase scene, even with the half-dozen musical numbers (only one of which I really enjoyed), and even with the additional characters, the film has a relatively modest running time. 
The Lorax isn't that good, unfortunately. It has strengths, but it also has a lot of weaknesses. 
For one, it seems The Lorax has no imagination for itself. At least half of the material of the film has been borrowed from other films. The "adorable" brown bears that wander around speaking in gibberish are obviously a rip off of the minions in "Despicable Me". The prank that the Lorax plays on the Once-ler, by putting his bed in the river is a rip off from "Parent Trap". 
And speaking of the "bed-in-the-river" prank, I must ask how it's physically possible for a bed, frame and all, to float in the water. 
There is nothing unique about the characters. We've seen them all in other movies. O' Hare is the generic, evil, power-hungry villain. Audrey is the generic, tom-boy, girl that the main character falls in love with. There are even characters in this movie that seem to appear in different forms. The Lorax just can't run by itself. It has to take ideas from elsewhere. 
The voice cast is average, but the voice of the main character, Ted, just doesn't work. He's supposed to sound like he's 10. Don't have Zac Efron voice him, get a little boy! But I digress. 
On the flipside, the animation is gorgeous. It can't match the detail of "Rango" or "Tintin", but it makes up for it with vibrant colors that really bring the world of Dr. Seuss to life. 
Also, the musical score by John Powell is very good, though it doesn't really break any new ground. And to be honest, I really didn't like the choir bits. And did I mention my feelings about the songs in the movies? Aside from the one at the beginning, they were all very uninspired, and usually dull. 
Some of the gags are quite good, but there were too many stale ones to make humor the strength of the film. There are also attempts of "cuteness" that over stays it's welcome. 
There are, however, some surprisingly touching moments, and there are times where you might just sit back and think for a moment (heaven forbid, you may actually think during a movie). There's certainly a curious amount of food for thought on display. 
The one thing I like most about the film, is also the film's main problem: The singing fish. There are three fish that look like that of "Cat and the Hat", that sing, not words, but notes. This is all performed in barbershop-quartet form, and is very amusing (there's one moment in particular when they hum the "Mission Impossible" theme). 
The reason this is the film's biggest problem, is because they're the best part. If the strongest thing about a movie is a recurring gag, you've got a problem. And that's the problem with "The Lorax". It's not good enough to remember outside of a couple good gags. The rest is fluff. 
The target audience, however, (kids between 2 and 10) will love this film, I guarantee it. The auditorium I saw the movie in had not a single spare seat, and every kid in the room was laughing their heads off. I heard very few parents laugh. 
This isn't a bad movie. It's just a kid's movie, and it's somewhat painful to say that.

Joshua LF Mitchell