July 22, 2017

Let “The Lorax” Be Your Guide

The LoraxBy Julie Samrick

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees,” opens the self-named “guardian of the trees” and hero of the film version of Dr. Seuss’s 1971 classic children’s book, The Lorax, setting up the story of what went so wrong in a town as bright, happy, yet as plastic as Thneedville.

 

On the surface all seems well in Thneedville, yet there is not one living plant or tree inhabiting it. Generations of residents haven’t known what they’re missing until a boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) first learns a real, live sapling is the way to a special girl’s heart. 

 

As Ted seeks to find what, exactly, did happen to trees, those ancient objects of lore, the story’s villain, and now shunned Once-ler, gives him the town’s history and how an object he invented, the Thneed (a shapeless, forgettable, thing that could be substituted for any commercial product today) corrupted nature. Through it all, Ted learns trees have a much bigger purpose than for just getting the girl.

 

The Lorax descends from the sky whenever a tree is chopped down.  His heavenly form stands as our collective conscience- to not lightly choose industry when pitted against nature.

 

The plastic, commercialized industry bemoaned as the story’s premise is ironically part of the film itself: marketers cleverly released The Lorax on what would have been Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 108th birthday, which has also been turned into “I Love Reading Day” in our nation’s schools in recent years.  No wonder viewers are flocking to theatres to see it.

 

Still, 41 years since the picture book’s release, the conservation themes are just as relevant today.  Unlike other kids’ films of late that aim for heavy, environmental messages, like Happy Feet 2, the lessons in The Lorax are simple and uncontroversial:  1) Plant a tree.  2) Don’t cut trees down unnecessarily.

 

The movie is filled with bright colors, even brighter music, and the look and feel of a Dr. Seuss book.  Yet Seuss’s use of rhyme and meter, why some call him the Shakespeare of children’s books, are acutely absent on the big screen.

 

There are environmental lessons in The Lorax, but also themes about greed, making amends, and teamwork that won’t be lost on kids older than 6. The PG rating is for some mild violence and language. 

 

So all in all, it’s worth a see, but do not fret, just save a tree!

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Comments

  1. Mindy Caplan says:

    I loved this movie and its message. It was also a feel good film with lots of singing to keep even the young ones entertained. This is one that I will for sure be adding to my library!

  2. Great review, as always. Can’t wait to see it, but disappointed it won’t have the good doctor’s rhyme time in it.

  3. Another message in The Lorax was about greed. Not to take so much that it can’t be replaced or regenerated for future use or supply. Isn’t it so relevant to the planet (Dr S. was ahead of his time!) Like how people have over-done the fishing, forestry, and mining of things. If we plan and use resources carefully, then what we use in one area of nature will not upset the balance in another…

  4. I just took my 5 year old and I loved the music mixed in with it. Some of the songs (like mission impossible theme) he did not know but a great extra I was not expecting! On the way home we had a great discussion of how the wind knocks down trees at our house or we have to cut down the old and diseased ones but planting new ones in their place is a great way to make sure we still have trees. Loved the colors in the movie as well!

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