Sunday, March 4, 2012

Movie Review: The Lorax

This is not Dr. Seuss' Lorax. It is a spin-off. So now that we established that, you can go and see it and know what to expect.
It's pleasing, and appeals to baby-boomers and those who like classic pop music and classic T.V.  Which is fine. Cutesy baby boomer in-jokes that little kids don't get are just fine since the little kids aren't paying for the tickets. But where is the message from Dr. Seuss?

If you really want the Lorax, buy the book and sit down with a little kid and read it together. Use a real book. With pages. It doesn't matter what the age of the reader is, since all of us care about trees, and our natural world. After reading the book, go into the garden and plant something like a truffla tree. Or maybe just a pot of pansies. Get involved with real nature that you can smell, and water, and stick your fingers in. Grow a kidney bean--little kids are astonished how fast they grow. We're looking for kids to fall in love with nature-- not a Glee-like animation Broadway production.

I don't think the original story of the Lorax was really meant to entertain, although in the film I really did love the fish. And I was amused by the song about capitalism and Darwin. But the story by Dr. Seuss was intended to be expressed in the partnership of  readers, big and little, with room for conversation, questions and plans for what we will do about our world. Maybe some justified anger and environmental activism.

The Lorax was written just nine years after Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, which was the shocking expose of the damage to the environment by pesticides. And, of course, the nuclear age was still on folks' minds because testing hadn't stopped yet. What a thought, huh?

An unestimable number of Americans have adopted green habits since childhood and continued for decades and decades because of Dr. Seuss. So, we can enjoy the superficial fluff of the Seuss inspired films, but let's not skip the origins.

Dr. Seuss apparently loved children, and wrote material that affected their minds in a very positive way. In part, because reading the book is generally a shared experience with an older reader that creates an enormously positive memory. Or a lovely event at school.  And the experience is reviewed when the child reads the book again. Dr. Seuss incorporated marvelous themes while being wildly creative. And we would trade that in for an average movie day or cold, isolating dvd to be watched alone?
The best--daddy and the boys reading
An autistic boy , brother and dad enjoy Dr. Seuss this week.


  1. While the movie is funnier than the book, the drawback of this modernized version is that it loses the timeless quality of the story on the page. Still, I had a good time and it will definitely resonate well with plenty of adults and just about every kid imaginable. Great review. Check out my review when you can.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I agree, the book has a unique timeless quality that the film does not. But the message of nurturing the earth is still important!