A Simple Message for Simple Minds
The Lorax: It is a film for the ages ... well, at least certainly for all ages under the age of eight. For everyone else that understands that there are some subtle complexities in life, this film based on the Dr. Seuss fable about the dangers of massive deforestation, and the resulting pollution of an affected area, might bore you to near total distraction ... or worse.
This gloomy theme of the possible ecological devastation of the planet was the thesis of Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, when he wrote his Children's book, "The Lorax," in 1971. It is this apocalyptic tale, which terrified some children then, and remarkably entertains children now in 2012, and hopefully, these children will gain some understanding of the imperative importance of forest sustainability, and never detour from the present reforestation path that the United States is already on. Hopefully, folks in Brazil will see this (early) children's film, and stop the deforestation of the Amazonian Rain Forest, but I rather doubt it.
Regardless of the film's implied advocacy, the problem is not its communicative ability with these pre-eight children, it is its inability to sustain any original cohesiveness of message with mildly intelligent folks over the age of eight.
Why you might ask?
The screenwriter, Ken Daurio, chucked the whole Dr. Seuss sing-song, near-nonsense writing style that, in aggregate, actually makes good sense, and replaced it with the simple conversation of adults, who have all the depth of non-precocious children, which elevated the message, and the film's entertainment value to that of the aforementioned pre-eight year old perspective. In the theater, where I viewed the film, the children loved the bright colors, and the exaggerated action intended to convert properly to the 3D format, on screens where that format is presented, and the singing of silly songs, which may work well with dumbed down dialogue that inclusively speaks more to the hyperactivity of an overly stimulated youth market, than to these children's future cognitive abilities.
In this arena of the movie business, entertainment is key, and to the extent of this film's successful endeavor to entertain the eight and under crowd, I give the film a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. In all other arenas: the animation and "C.G." (which was quite good), the acting voices were more than serviceable; however the script, and, thereby, the film's direction was quite poor, which is how my grown-up analytical mind assesses the film, and in a more negative sense, I give the film 1 3/4 stars. Combining my sense of the film from a child's eye, and from my perspective as a thinking adult, I give a slight nod to the child's view, hence the 2 1/2 stars. One of the best features of the film is that its run-time is only 86 minutes.
My commendation to all the mostly fathers, and some mothers (in the theater I attended), who brought their children to the theater to receive yet more stimulation, for this is what fathers do, irrespective of whether they take any thing real away from such a film as this. It is just too bad that the spoken and directed story of "The Lorax" cannot rise to the level of informative entertainment for the more sophisticated adult. There is one small piece of optimism for those dutiful dads, who found the gumption to take their children to see the big screen Lorax: If you raise your children to be as smart as is their nature, you hopefully will not have to revisit films such as this after your child's eighth birthday.
Rated PG (should have been a G). Released in theaters March 2, 2012.