Today: April 19, 2024
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The Lorax

The power of any animated venture from the Dr Seuss franchise is going to be a gamble.

The power of any
animated venture from the Dr Seuss franchise is going to be a gamble,
especially when the central character holds a painful resemblance to an aged
Wotsit that makes Tom Sellick’s facial hair quiver with envy.
The Cat In The Hat remains a miserable
flop, The Grinch will be dusted off
at Christmas yet doesn’t hold the gusto of a true festive classic. But there is
still something disarming about a story where a boy, Ted, voiced by the once
innocent Zac Efron, tries to get
Audrey, the girl of his dreams, voiced by a still innocent Taylor Swift, what she truly desires. The apple of her eye is a
tree, an impossible treasure in the glossy corporate stratosphere that makes up
the world of our pre-pubescent hero and his beau.

Barging through the town’s barriers on his hormone-fuelled
quest, Ted stumbles across more than he bargains for when he finds the lean,
unbecoming residence of The Once’ler, a frankly terrifying recluse who, after a
little persistence, begins to tell the young scallywag how he came to be such a
hostile being. His downfall caused by the Lorax (Trollfoot himself, Danny DeVito), a knee-high carer of the
woods that steps in to try and stop The Once’ler from destroying the trees to
fuel a business plan that will prove to his uppity family that he’s not a
failure.

Voiced by the harmless Ed
Helms
, Once’ler is a hopeless force of destruction and sadly the only
likable character in a crippling moral tale of materialistic pride crushing the
earth’s natural resources, a message that admittedly should be addressed but
not when there’s kids present.

To try and soften the blow every trick in the book is
pulled, from singing fish to grossly obese teddy bears to on-the-ball grandmas,
each wonderfully animated but mediocre in presence and used only for the
fleeting giggles of younger audience members. The Lorax himself is shadowed in
eco-implemented frustration, shaking his fist bleakly in the face of the
doe-eyed entrepreneur as the poster boy of a lost cause. This could have been a
very cute, encouraging face to a gentle push to recycle and not litter but
instead whole musical numbers are drawn out to illustrate the dreary
consequences of short-sighted profit making, and it makes for depressing Sunday
morning cinema.

Not sharing the perspective of the infant viewer, this could
be a case of over-thinking the blinding messages stomped into the ground by
tiny orange feet but the under-10 in tow didn’t dish out half as many laughs as
they did in Cars 2 or even Yogi Bear.

This is an adaptation which, even for those yet to
understand the dark side of wealth, comes up short and not just because the
title character doesn’t even come up to your waist. The animation is undeniably
wonderful, with colours and textures surpassing the screen without the assistance
of the 3D glasses but the narrative is grim and unkind and won’t allow room for
attachment to its characters.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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