So me and a bunch of friends decided to see a bad movie last night for fun at the cheapest movie theatre in town only to find out it was worse than we thought it would be.
So good on you if you enjoyed the film. More power to you, I’m not gonna judge you for it. But that was possibly one of the most manufactured, soulless, hypocritical, polished pile of shit I’ve ever seen. Eragon used to be the only film I almost walked out on, but now I can add Lorax to that list.
The original story’s heart and message was lost in a pile of manufactured (ironically) garbage of a script and characters. Taylor Swift told someone to get her hand in marriage she wanted to see a tree. So instead of being motivated just by the idea of seeing nature, the boy is motivated by getting the girl. Are we for real? Is that the lesson we want to impart on kids? That you should only do something important or hard because your girlfriend wants it? Alright. I’ll let that one go and continue watching this goddamn movie.
The movie continues with the Onceler who, for some reason, is made to have a face in the film. Why? What the hell was the point of it? Besides making toys and marketing (again, the irony slays me) more palatable. Faceless characters have weight. ANYONE could be the Onceler. Even YOU. He leaves his family despite already having a good home for greener pastures. The only truly emotional moment in the film is when the first tree is cut down. I thought the sense of loss might be repeated later on, but NOPE, because we got songs to sing. While the original short film had songs to sing too, they weren’t as bogged down in trying to be hip and throwing the message at me that the producers couldn’t seem to put in, y’know, the actual film.
I see people arguing that the film gave a relationship between the Lorax and the Onceler. Yeah, it did, but WHY?! The Lorax isn’t about being a bro with the Guardian of the Forest. So why the hell was the movie made into that? Not only that, but the original message is lost in an, admittedly, catchy song (How B-a-a-a-a-d can I be? I’m doing it for the economy!). A relationship was struck between Prince Ashitaka (as well as Lady Eboshi) and the Forest Spirit in Princess Mononoke, one that kids could ALSO understand, but instead we talk down to children with drivel and generic characterization. Go Hollywood!
In the original, Onceler makes a good point; saying that he needs to support his family, and look at all these people who now have jobs and can support their own family! Lorax rebuttals that he gets that, he truly does, but what he’s doing with the trees is wrong. When Onceler asks what he should do, the Lorax in his frustration says he doesn’t know, but this is still wrong. This was the message Dr. Seuss knew was the struggle between the human need to provide for themselves and the environmentalists need to protect flora and fauna. This is a struggle that continues to today, still trying to find a balance between the plastics and the green. The film simplifies that, only catches it in a single, hardly profound line that it blows my mind that it could have been lost so easily even when the film tries to recreate the scene in it’s own way.
And while there was absolutely nothing wrong with the art in the film - on the contrary, the set designs were beautiful adaptions of Seuss design quality - the visuals hardly carried any emotional weight, save for a manufactured, by the books symbolism. I know very many talented people worked on the film, the quality of the models and animation speaks for that, but that could not support an already failed film that was trying so hard and so hypocritically to be Princess Mononoke For Kids (TM). It’s depressing to know this is the state of affairs, where SUV companies that are ~Lorax approved~ along with a myriad of other gas-guzzling, money hungry corporations supporting the film. Nothing in the actual film made me sad, just the idea that we’re so lost in a world of plastics, disconnection from each other and nature, that even our films about conservation are just as plastic and disconnected.
The original Lorax story, Ferngully, Princess Mononoke, Captain Planet (shut up, it’s good :’|) and other conservation stories have been a huge part in my life since before I could read. The same message of those films needs to be pushed in the poetic ways other movies have until someone GETS IT, which is why the line unless someone cares a whole lot, nothing is going to change, it’s not, is so important, but just simply was not carried by the film except in heavy handed exposition. I hope Lorax can be kept in the recesses of pop culture and not reemerge or be exploited further by corporations looking to make a quick buck.