Reviewed by: Laura Busch
enduring power of hope
What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer
Why is O’Hare happy with the idea that more factories leads to more bad air that will lead to more people buying his bottled air?
Does a person’s great success in business necessarily mean they will become a mean and greedy tyrant? How can this be avoided?
How might rain forest destruction affect our weather? Answer
|Featuring:||Danny DeVito … The Lorax (voice)
Ed Helms … The Once-ler (voice)
Zac Efron … Ted (voice)
Taylor Swift … Audrey (voice)
Betty White … Grammy Norma (voice)
Kyle Balda (co-director)
Welcome to the town of Thneed-ville, a suburban city that is completely devoid of real trees and fresh air. All of Thneed-ville’s trees are artificial, and all of the fresh air is supplied by “O’Hare Air,” a big company that bottles and sells fresh air to all of the city’s citizens. Twelve year-old Ted (Zac Efron), who lives in Thneed-ville, wants more than anything to win the affection of his friend and crush, Audrey (Taylor Swift). Audrey tells Ted that it has always been her dream to see a real live tree. In hopes of winning Audrey’s love, Ted sets out on a journey to find her a real tree.
Ted’s Grammy (Betty White) tells him he must speak to the reclusive, Once-ler (Ed Helms), an old man who knows what happened to all of the trees that once made up the beautiful Truffala Tree Forest. The grumpy Once-ler explains that he is responsible for the forest’s demise. When the Once-ler was a young man, he discovered the beautiful forest and began to cut down the trees so he could use their brightly colored tufts to make and sell Thneeds, a multi-purpose garment. After he begins cutting down trees, the Once-ler meets the Lorax (Danny DeVito), who is the guardian of the forest. The Lorax tells the Once-ler that he “speaks for the trees,” and that he is destroying the forest creatures’ homes, and he must stop. After hearing the Once-ler’s story, Ted resolves not only to bring Audrey a tree, but to rebuild the Truffala Forest.
Potential viewers should be aware that “The Lorax” has a fairly overt environmental and political message, but this is nothing new. Dr. Suess’ environmental allegory has sparked controversy ever since its publication in 1971. The city of Thneed-ville is presented as a caricature of suburban America, and the story touches upon issues such as ecological responsibility, consumerism, and big business. Most of the allegorical elements of Suess’ story will go over most young viewers’ heads, but it is something that parent’s should be aware of when making their decision to view this film. “The Lorax” does not compare to “Despicable Me,” director, Chris Renaud’s animated hit from last year. Unlike “The Lorax,” “Despicable Me” does not have any subtle political messages. It simply tells an entertaining and heartwarming story with a good moral at the end. From a storytelling standpoint, “The Lorax” is certainly not on par with some of the Disney Pixar classics, such as “Up” and “Finding Nemo,” but it is better than many of the movies targeted at children.
Even though “The Lorax” does not reflect an entirely Biblical worldview, it could, however, serve as a starting point for parents to talk to their children about what God expects of us as stewards of the Earth. It raises an important question: What sort of stance should we as Christians take on environmental issues? This movie also touches upon issues of greed and materialism, which could also give parents a wonderful opportunity to talk to their kids about what the Bible has to say about those issues.
What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer
“The Lorax” is refreshingly clean, especially considering that most animated children’s movies these days are marred by off-color potty humor and, in many cases, sexual double entendres. I am happy to report that the filmmakers do not resort to this type of humor. Some content that may be of concern to some parents include: a scene where Ted imagines that he finds a tree for Audrey’s birthday, and she gives him a brief kiss of gratitude in front of all her party guests (the imaginary kiss is very short and innocent). There is a bit of slapstick violence throughout the movie. Two of the characters mistake the little bears, who reside in the forest, for footballs, and they throw them back and forth a couple times. The portrayal of the desolate and treeless forest is a bit dark and gloomy. Also, a few of the animated characters are briefly shown playing outside in bathing suits (a few of those bathing suits are bikinis).
Director, Chris Renaud’s, film is aesthetically stunning, and it is also showcases some of the best animated 3D that I have seen (and I am not normally a fan of 3D)—though this film does not need to be viewed in 3D for one to appreciate the vivid animation. Young children will enjoy the bright and colorful scenes, the cute animal characters, the adorable singing fish, and the lively choreography that accompanies many of the film’s musical numbers. The vibrant animation and charming characters are some of the best aspects of this movie.
Outside of the film’s environmental message, you are left with a clean movie, especially by today’s standards, with cute characters that are brought to life in a beautifully animated movie. Though “The Lorax” is not perfect, it does have some good conversation starters on topics, such as greed and materialism. Overall, it is an entertaining movie, and is certainly one of the better choices out there for families.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.