The release of "Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax" falls on the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss himself, but this shiny animated adaptation of his 1971 children’s classic might not be the best birthday present.
Director Chris Renaud ("Despicable Me") and crew neatly translate the fable of The Lorax (voice of Danny DeVito), who warns the Once-Ler (voiced by Ed Helms) against destroying the forest for his industrial-sized plans to create consumer demand for multi-purpose "thneeds." But, like the Once-Ler,
‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’
Opens Friday, March 2, at theaters everywhere; rated PG for brief mild language; 94 minutes.
Renaud & Co. can’t leave well enough alone, padding out Seuss’ original story with a framing story in which 12-year-old Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) seeks the Once-Ler’s help to bring trees back to his plastic suburbia so he can impress a cute high-school girl, Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift), a plan that runs afoul of a new corporate greedhead (voiced by Rob Riggle).
The new narrative, with its cloying song numbers and an ending lifted from "Wall-E," turns Seuss’ serious yet still somewhat subtle pro-environmental message into a heavy-handed corporate screed — which, considering the movie’s marketing campaign and tie-ins with the likes of Mazda cars, comes off not only as overwhelming but also hypocritical.
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