Monday, April 9, 2012

Belated Review: The Lorax

I went to see The Lorax over spring break (so... 2 weeks ago?  3?  I'm only counting forward right now).  I'll admit, I was doubtful at first.  I really wanted to see it, but the reviews were... mediocre at best.  As would be expected with any book-turned-movie, the main complaint was that the movie didn't fit well with the "spirit of the book".  As is frequently the case with negative reviews of movies I want to see, I didn't agree.

For one thing, the movie was amazing.  It was cute, with a good message, and just enough "adult" humor to keep the older audience (most of us in the theater were college students, actually) from being bored.  The best part is, the adult humor wasn't sexual in the way that most sly adult humor in kids movies is.  Instead, it was intelligent humor that any adult who's been in touch with current events would understand.  A few things that were funny in the way that the best Onion articles are funny - not because they are humorous, but because they're so close to home that they almost hurt.  For instance, the business which ultimately destroys the Truffula trees is described as "too big to fail", and the founder asks "How bad can I be?  A portion of my profits goes to charity!" ...

Second, I'm not sure what to think of those people who felt the movie didn't fit with the spirit of the original book.  Yes, more background was added - instead of just a story, told by the Once-ler about his life and interaction with the Lorax, we get the background of the boy listening to the story, and life in a society without trees.  Sure, there's a love story and a happy ending thrown in, but what's the harm in that?  The spirit of the book, as I see it, is a message of conservationism, a message summarized by the quote at the end: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

The film was designed to make us care.  Maybe it was the hike I took that morning that made the idea of living in a consumerism-driven, nature-less society so horrific, but I think the movie did a good job of showing us the consequences of letting companies rule our world.

Too bad we're not doing a good job of listening.

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