The new re-make of Dr. Seuss’ classic, The Lorax is an interesting conundrum of a movie. It’s not the first of the Dr. Seuss classics that’s been re-imagined for the big screen. After the failure that was The Cat in The Hat, the mostly lackluster remake of Horton Hears a Who, and the so-so live action rendition of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, hopes for The Lorax were understandably not exactly the highest. Despite that, it’s actually a good movie in its own right.
It’s been just over forty years since the original rendition of The Lorax first debuted. The original classic animated feature presents the world of the Lorax in a very dark, gloomy setting. One could argue that the general vibe of the original is rather pessimistic; it could almost be argued that it was a prime example of art imitating life. Perhaps that was the general vibe of the nation at that time. This most recent re-imagining has much brighter colors, thus creating a happier, more hopeful feel. It could be argued that this more hopeful feeling is a result of the world becoming more aware and taking the original “unless” warning of the Once-ler to heart. The world is increasingly taking efforts to go paperless as much as possible from work life to daily life. This increased attempt to save paper products and take better care of the Earth in general has made a big change in the world, thus perhaps prompting this Lorax’s world to not feel as gloomy and pessimistic.
The story behind The Lorax has generally transferred over to this new adpatation. Given, liberties have been taken here and there. But the reminder that the world still has work to do in order to get on the right track is still there, too. While a similar environmental message is prevalent in the story, other aspects of the movie have changed. For instance, the addition of Betty White’s Grammy Norma is a change from the original. And Danny Devito’s is a little harder edged than that of Bob Holt in the original 1972 version.
This rendition of The Lorax sees some changes to the story and to the character lineup, in connection. For the alterations, it’s still not that bad of a retelling. The one downside to this version of The Lorax lies in its “animation.” This Lorax is presented in much the same way as nearly every other “animated” feature today. Rather then being actual hand drawn animation, it’s presented in the now standard cg-based format. This seems like a menial aspect. But animation style used to be one of the primary defining characteristics of real animated features before the advent of cg-based movies. Because it is another cg-based movie, it takes a certain amount of originality out of the movie. Dr. Seuss’ original animated features all had a signature style unlike that of any other features. Again, that style defined his features. So not having that specific style sadly lumps it in with every other recent “animated” feature, to a certain extent.
The new 2012 Lorax is not a terrible adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic character. Even despite the addition of at least one new character, and other liberties having been taken with the story, it’s still nice to see that it attempts to stay true to the original story. The only real downside to this remake is that like so many kids’ movies today, it lacks any real originality in its animation. Other than that single issue, this update to the Dr. Seuss classic is still worth at least one watch.