Happy Friday everyone! First of all, I need to apologise for being largely absent over the past week and a bit. That wasn't the plan... we've just been seeing friends, taking trips, and other stuff that tends to happen during the summer months (regardless of the random weather in Scotland). I'm going to try to catch up over the weekend.
So this was my favourite Dr Seuss book as a kid. That might be because it played into my whole eco-warrior phase, but I think it's a great story and the message only gets more relevant. But that message is only for kids, by the way. I think it's good to bring it to their attention in a context that they'll enjoy, but most conscientious adults won't need the reminder, and I found the bombastic production didn't match the simple charm of the book.
The core story was fleshed out in a way that I felt a bit ambivalent about. The Once-ler was an emblem of faceless capitalism in the book - literally, as all you see of him is a pair of arms wielding an axe. He comes across a forest of Truffula trees, which he chops down in order to use their tufts to make thneeds, bizarre multipurpose garments. In the movie, he befriends the cute woodland creatures, but still blithely destroys their entire habitat. He's too nice to convince as a villain, whereas, in the book, he only develops a sense of guilt after the Lorax disappears.
There's a new villain introduced, too - the tycoon O'Hare who runs the town of Thneedville, which sprang up after the forest was felled, and manufactures bottled air. His character is a cardboard cut-out, but the idea of paying for fresh air is a great conceit in terms of taking corporate greed to its logical extreme.
A lot of the new elements introduced by the film seem quite clumsily grafted on and don't quite add up - Ted, who went unnamed in the original story, wants to find a real tree to win the heart of Audrey, who seems to be in the minority among the brainwashed inhabitants of Thneedville in yearning for a return to nature. Where did these people come from? Were they created at the same time as the plastic conurbation? The town is surrounded by thick metal walls and no one seems to be aware that it is in the middle of a dessicated wasteland. O'Hare has security measures in place to ensure no one leaves town, but Ted manages it without too many problems on several occasions.
In conclusion, I'd have to say it was an average effort. Kids will love it - song and dance numbers included - and hopefully it will encourage them to think about what's happening in the world. It's enjoyable enough for adults, as long as you don't expect justice done to the book.