The Lorax (film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Chris Renaud|
|Screenplay by||Cinco Paul|
|Based on||The Lorax|
by Dr. Seuss
|Music by||John Powell|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$348.8 million|
The Lorax (also known as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax) is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment and based on Dr. Seuss' children's book of the same name. The film was released by Universal Pictures on March 2, 2012, on what would have been Seuss's 108th birthday.
The second adaptation of the book (following the 1972 animated television special), the film builds on the book by expanding the story of the Lorax and Ted, the previously unnamed boy who visits the Once-ler. The cast includes Danny DeVito as the Lorax, Ed Helms as the Once-ler and Zac Efron as Ted. New characters introduced in the film are Audrey, Ted's love interest (voiced by Taylor Swift), Aloysius O'Hare, an evil air baron (voiced by Rob Riggle), Mrs. Wiggins, Ted's mother (voiced by Jenny Slate), and Grammy Norma, Ted's grandmother (voiced by Betty White). The film received mixed reviews from critics, but grossed $348.8 million worldwide on a $70 million budget.
12-year-old Ted Wiggins lives in Thneedville, a walled city where all vegetation and plant-life are artificial. Ted has a crush on environmentalist Audrey, and decides to impress her with a "real tree". His grandmother Norma tells him the legend of the Once-ler, who knows what happened to the trees. Leaving Thneedville in search of the Once-ler, Ted discovers that the outside world is a barren, contaminated wasteland. He finds the Once-ler, who agrees to tell him the story of the trees over multiple visits. The next time he leaves home, Ted encounters Thneedville's greedy mayor Aloysius O'Hare whose company sells bottled oxygen to the polluted city. Explaining that trees, and the oxygen they produce freely, pose a threat to his business, O'Hare pressures Ted to stay in town, but Ted continues to visit the Once-ler.
The Once-ler recounts how, as a young inventor, he arrived in a lush forest of animals and Truffula trees. Cutting down a tree, he was confronted by the Lorax, the guardian of the forest who "speaks for the trees". After attempting to force the Once-ler out, the Lorax convinced him not to harm any more trees. Using the Truffula tree, the Once-ler created the "Thneed", a piece of cloth with multiple uses, which became a major success. His unscrupulous relatives persuaded him to resume chopping down trees to mass-produce Thneeds, leading to enormous profits but deforestation and pollution. After harvesting the last Truffula tree, the Once-ler was ruined, abandoned by his family, and became a recluse. The Once-ler was left heartbroken and unbearably guilty for destroying the forest. With the region uninhabitable, the Lorax sent the animals away to find a new place to live, and vanished into the sky. The Lorax left a single word on a small pile of rocks: "Unless".
The Once-ler gives Ted the last Truffula seed in hopes he can regrow the forest and make others care about trees. Ted returns home to plant the seed, which is spotted by O'Hare's city-wide surveillance. Enlisting the help of Audrey and his family, Ted is pursued by O'Hare to the center of town. O'Hare rallies the citizens against Ted, telling them that trees are dangerous and filthy, but Ted uses an earthmover to knock down a section of the city wall, revealing the environmental destruction outside. Inspired by Ted's conviction, the crowd turns on O'Hare, and the seed is finally planted. Time passes and the land begins to recover; new trees sprout, animals return, and the now-elderly Once-ler reunites with the Lorax.
The film ends with a quote from Dr. Seuss: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
- Danny DeVito as The Lorax, a mystical orange furry creature with a yellow moustache.
- Ed Helms as The Once-ler.
- Zac Efron as Ted Wiggins, an idealistic 12-year-old boy. He is named after the author of the book, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel).
- Taylor Swift as Audrey, Ted's love interest. She is named after Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss's wife.
- Betty White as Grammy Norma, Ted's wise-cracking grandmother and Mrs. Wiggins's mother.
- Rob Riggle as Aloysius O'Hare, the greedy mayor of Thneedville and head of the "O'Hare Air" company that supplies fresh air to Thneedville residents.
- Jenny Slate as Mrs. Wiggins, Ted's neurotic mother and Grammy Norma's daughter.
- Nasim Pedrad as Isabella, the Once-ler's mother.
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Uncle Ubb, the Once-ler's uncle.
- Elmarie Wendel as Aunt Grizelda, the Once-ler's aunt. This was Wendel's final film role before her death on July 21, 2018.
- Danny Cooksey as Brett and Chet, the Once-ler's twin brothers.
- Chris Renaud as assorted forest animals.
Additional voices are provided by Debi Derryberry.
The film is the fourth feature film based on a book by Dr. Seuss, the second fully computer-animated adaptation (the first one being Horton Hears a Who!), and the first to be released in 3-D. The Lorax was also Illumination's first film presented in IMAX 3D (known as "IMAX Tree-D" in publicity for the film). The idea for the film was initiated by Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss's wife, who had an established partnership with Chris Meledandri, the producer of the film, from a collaboration on Horton Hears a Who!. Geisel approached Meledandri when he launched Illumination Entertainment, saying "This is the one I want to do next". The film was officially announced in July 2009, with Meledandri attached as the producer and Geisel as the executive producer. Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda were announced as the director and co-director of the film, while Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the duo who wrote the script for Horton Hears a Who!, were set to write the screenplay. In 2010, it was announced that Danny DeVito would be voicing the Lorax character.
The film was fully produced at the French studio Illumination Mac Guff, which was the animation department of Mac Guff, acquired by Illumination Entertainment in the summer of 2011. DeVito reprised his role in five different languages, including the original English audio, and also for the Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian language dub editions. Universal added an environmental message to the film's website after a fourth-grade class in Brookline, Massachusetts launched a successful petition through Change.org.
Despite the original Lorax being made as a critique of capitalism and pollution, Mazda used the likeness of The Lorax's setting and characters in an advertisement for their CX-5 SUV. This was seen by some as the complete opposite of the work's original meaning. In response, Stephanie Sperber, president of Universal partnerships and licensing, said Universal chose to partner with the Mazda CX-5 because it is "a really good choice for consumers to make who may not have the luxury or the money to buy electric or buy hybrid. It's a way to take the better environmental choice to everyone."
Three mini-movies were released on the Lorax Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on August 7, 2012: Serenade, Wagon Ho!, and Forces of Nature.
Lou wants to impress a girl Barbaloot, but he has some competition.
- Wagon Ho!
The Once-ler arrives with his wagon and Melvin. Then Pipsqueak and Lou arrive. The Once-ler tells them not to have joyrides. When the Once-ler goes inside his house, Pipsqueak and Lou start cranking up the wagon, but Melvin refuses to pull it because he is angry that they whipped the reins. So Pipsqueak hangs a Truffula fruit in front of Melvin as an incentive. However, Melvin gets exhausted going up a steep hill. Then the wagon gets unhooked from Melvin, and it rolls downhill backwards while Pipsqueak and Lou scream in terror. Melvin chases the runaway wagon. Lou tries to stop the wagon by stabbing a stick in one of its wheels, but he gets stuck on the wheel instead. Finally, he lands back on the seat next to Pipsqueak, who hugs him happily. The wagon hits a rock and is propelled downhill even faster. When it approaches a cliff, Pipsqueak panics and grabs the wagon canopy, which flies off—only to be held in place by Lou. The wagon flies off the cliff, but the canopy acts as a parachute and they make their descent calmly, landing in the same place they left. Melvin appears shortly after. The Once-ler comes out of the house and is surprised to see them. He expresses surprise that they listened to instructions, but just when it seems like they fooled him, Lou sneezes and the wagon falls apart. Melvin hides beneath his hooves and Lou and Pipsqueak curl up into a ball. The Once-ler looks angry by growling, causing Lou and Pipsqueak to run away into the trees.
- Forces of Nature
The Lorax makes Pipsqueak an Honorary Lorax and team up to scare the Once-ler by using two sticks that looks like a monster's hand to freak him out. The Once-ler finds out it is fake and sprays water on the Lorax, which makes his fur puff up. When the Lorax tells Pipsqueak that he is going to turn out like him, Pipsqueak gets scared and runs away. The short ends with the Lorax telling Pipsqueak that he has lost his Honorary Lorax title.
The film received mixed reviews from critics who praised its animation and voice acting but criticized its marketing for ditching the original message of the book. It earned a rating of 54% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 157 reviews and an average rating of 5.9/10, with the critical consensus saying, "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is cute and funny enough but the moral simplicity of the book gets lost with the zany Hollywood production values." It also has a score of 46 on Metacritic based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
New York magazine film critic David Edelstein on NPR's All Things Considered strongly objected to the movie, arguing that the Hollywood animation and writing formulas washed out the spirit of the book. "This kind of studio 3-D feature animation is all wrong for the material," he wrote. Demonstrating how the book's text was used in the movie in this excerpt from the review, Edelstein discusses Audrey describing the truffula trees to Ted:
The touch of their tufts was much softer than silk and they had the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk – and [in the movie] Ted says, "Wow, what does that even mean?" and Audrey says, "I know, right?" So one of the only lines that is from the book, that does have Dr. Seuss' sublime whimsy, is basically made fun of, or at least, dragged down to Earth.
The film also garnered some positive reviews from critics such as Richard Roeper, who called it a "solid piece of family entertainment". Roger Moore of the Pittsburgh Tribune called the film "a feast of bright, Seuss colors, and wonderful Seuss design", and supported its environmentalist message.
The film topped the North American box office with $17.5 million on its opening day (Friday, March 2, 2012). During the weekend, it grossed $70.2 million, easily beating the other new nationwide release, Project X ($21 million), and all other films. This was the biggest opening for an Illumination Entertainment film, and for a feature film adaptation of a book by Dr. Seuss, as well as the second-largest for an environmentalist film. It also scored the third-best debut for a film opening in March, and the eighth-best of all time for an animated film. The Lorax stayed at #1 the following weekend, dropping 45% to $38.8 million and beating all new nationwide releases, including Disney's John Carter (second place). On April 11, 2012, it became the first animated film in nearly a year to gross more than $200 million in North America, since Walt Disney Animation Studios' Tangled.
|Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: Original Motion Picture Score|
|Film score by|
|Released||March 6, 2012|
|1.||"Ted, Audrey and the Trees"||2:36|
|2.||"Granny to the Edge"||2:33|
|4.||"Truffula Valley Fantasy (featuring The Lorax Humming Fish)"||5:00|
|5.||"Once-ler & Lorax Meet"||2:35|
|6.||"O'Hare Warns Ted"||3:21|
|7.||"The River Bed"||4:03|
|10.||"The Last Seed"||4:54|
|12.||"At the Park"||3:12|
|13.||"Funeral For a Tree"||2:10|
|Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: Original Songs from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||February 28, 2012|
|Label||Interscope, Back Lot Music|
|Music video (film sequence)|
|Music video (film sequence)|
|1.||"Let It Grow (Celebrate the World)"||Ester Dean||3:39|
|2.||"Thneedville"||Fletcher Sheridan, Antonio Sol, Beth Anderson, Oliver Powell, Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Missi Hale, and Rob Riggle||2:44|
|3.||"This is the Place"||Ed Helms||2:24|
|4.||"Everybody Needs a Thneed"||Ed Helms, Randy Crenshaw, Fletcher Sheridan, Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Monique Donnelly, Ty Taylor, and The 88||1:31|
|5.||"How Bad Can I Be?"||Ed Helms and Kool Kojak||2:52|
|6.||"Let It Grow"||Fletcher Sheridan, Dan Navarro, Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Jenny Slate, Claira Titman, Betty White, Rob Riggle, and Ed Helms||3:17|
|7.||"Let It Grow Gospel Ending (Original Demo)"||Jenny Slate||0:52|
|8.||"Thneedville (Original Demo)"||Fletcher Sheridan||3:58|
|9.||"The Once-ler's Traveling Madness (Original Demo)"||Ed Helms||1:35|
|10.||"I Love Nature (Original Demo)"||Randy Crenshaw||2:43|
|11.||"You Need a Thneed (Original Demo)"||Keith Slettedahl and The 88 featuring Antonio Sol, Fletcher Sheridan, and Taylor Graves||1:32|
|12.||"Nobody Needs a Thneed (Original Demo)"||Fletcher Sheridan and Randy Crenshaw||1:52|
|13.||"Biggering (Original Demo)"||Gabriel Mann, Randy Crenshaw, and The 88||5:01|
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In the 3D-CG version of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, we focus on Ted Wiggins, a 12-year-old boy in search of a living tree for the girl he adores.
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- Weekend Report (cont.): 'Titanic 3D' Doesn't Sink or Sail
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