DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX – Review by Susan Granger

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The 3-D animated adaptation of this iconic, cautionary environmental fable focuses on taking responsibility for the devastating effects of industrialized society on the environment.

Idealistic 12 year-old Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) lives in the isolated, artificial city of Thneedville, where greedy Mayor Aloysius O’Hare (voiced by Rob Riggle) has found it profitable to eliminate all organic, oxygen-producing trees, making fresh air available for sale only in bottles. Knowing that his teenage playmate Audrey (voiced by Grammy Award-winning Taylor Swift) yearns to see real, not plastic, vegetation, Ted embarks on a quest to find a seed from the Truffula Tree. Encouraged by his nervously protective mother (voiced by Jenny Slate) and feisty, wisecracking grandmother (voiced by Betty White), Ted ventures off to find the reclusive hermit Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms), who recalls – in flashbacks – how he chopped down all the region’s beautiful, pinwheel-shaped, orange, pink and purple-blossomed Truffula Trees for profit, much to the chagrin of the portly, mustachioed guardian of Nature called the Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito).

The common-sense message is aptly summed up in poetic prose by “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing going to get better. It’s not.”

Children’s book author Dr. Seuss, otherwise known as Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote this despairing tale back in 1971 and, unfortunately, its translation to the screen doesn’t fare as well as “Horton Hears a Who!” or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” although it’s executive produced by Geisel’s widow, Audrey. After collaborating so successful on “Despicable Me,” screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio and director Chris Renaud – with co-director Kyle Balda – have spread the simple, ecology-propelled story so thin that it becomes cluttered with slapstick chase sequences, mediocre musical numbers and synthetic trivia, ultimately becoming tedious. And the hectic finale will inevitably be compared with the far more inventive “WALL-E.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is a fanciful, commercially viable, green-friendly 5, resulting in a Lorax-approved laundry detergent appearing in a grocery store near you.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.