DR. SEUSS' THE LORAX
Genre: Animated Family Comedy
Premise: In an effort to win over the girl over his dreams, a boy (Zac Efron) seeks out a mysterious guy named The Once-Ler (Ed Helms), who tells him a story about tree conservation and a grumpy creature called The Lorax (Danny DeVito).
Behind-the-Scenes: This is the fourth feature adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book, after How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Cat in the Hat, and Horton Hears a Who. From Illumination Entertainment, the same company behind Despicable Me.
The Good: The animation is bright and colorful. The tone is light and cheerful. To its credit, the movie clearly aims to please everyone, and for the most part does. I may not recall the book as well as others, but the story here seems less padded with unnecessary filler than other Dr. Seuss adaptations. Or at least it incorporates additional material more organically in an effort to fill out a feature-length run time. The voice work by Helms and DeVito is spot-on. The environmental message is a good one for kids to hear. The 3D is surprisingly good. The marshmallow-loving bears are super cute.
The Bad: The music (there are a couple songs) is forgettable, and inconsistently used. Is this a musical or not? The movie can't seem to make up its mind. As noble as that environmental message may be, it's delivered in a ham-fisted, obvious manner. The comic relief in the form of a wacky granny (voiced by - who else? - Betty White) is a tired gimmick. Plagued by nagging thoughts that maybe this should have just stayed a book.
Should You See It?: If you're going with kids, sure. It's a lightweight, pleasant enough diversion.
Rating: *** out of 5 stars.