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Directed by Chris Renaud and Kyla Balda. Featuring Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Betty White. 86 mins.
Monica Heck, 29 Aug 2012
In a land of wonder and whimsy, where every child should go, Dr. Seuss set a fable, one you must know. Of a Lorax and a Once-ler and the truffula trees; a stunning tale about the environment and greed.
But Hollywood’s spin has demolished the sweet universe, even eschewing Seuss’ singular verse. So in an M. Night Shyamalan-worthy ironic twist, a rapacious corporation makes a film about corporate rapaciousness!
Though the moral about eco-wrongs still lingers somewhere in here, all of the joy and the magic has been sucked from the air. The short powerful story, once so divine, has been stretched, pulled and padded to an overlong time. To find the film’s message, first you must sift through needless romantic subplots between starlets Efron and Swift. Empty soulless pop-songs prove a forgettable drag – why didn’t they just use Tim Minchin’s tune ‘Canvas Bags’?
Though the candy-floss truffalo trees prove a fluffy delight and there are nice vocal gags from Ms. Betty White, the figures, like the moral, seem plastic and hollow and the cheap pop culture gags prove hard to swallow. Seuss’ heartfelt words are presented as ripe for mocking, and the irreverent disrespect is actually quite shocking. The dark meaningful tale is reduced to being cheesy – it’s vanilla, satire-lite Seuss, quick, cheap and easy!
After that awful Cat in the Hat and the Grinch from Jim Carrey, it’s easy to see why Seuss was so wary of letting his characters roam outside his books, reduced to blockbuster fodder and cheap meaningless hooks.
This money-spinning adaptation of Seuss for the masses – not to mention charging more for plastic 3D glasses – is a cynical move on Tinsel Town’s part that’s inspired purely by the bottom-line and not at all by the heart. So instead of paying for this film, buy the book! Go on do! Because Seuss’ voice is still sacred, and his morals still true. But unless someone in Hollywood starts to care a whole awful lot, these movies aren’t going to get better. Trust Seuss, they’re not.