Universal Pictures has released “The Lorax” trailer for its 3-D feature film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s 1971 classic. The animated movie features the voices of Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Betty White, and country superstar Taylor Swift. Danny DeVito provides the voice of the Lorax. The movie is due in theaters on March 2.
Dr. Seuss fans will note that a lot of scenes in the Lorax trailer look nothing like the book; there are new characters, new dialogue, new plot points. All of this may come as a shock to kids who have read the book, parents who have just read the book to their kids, and other moviegoers with nostalgic memories of Swomee-Swans, Humming-Fish and Brown Bar-ba-loots.
Dr. Seuss’s books, though aimed at kids, often explore topics that can be fodder for controversy in this 24-hour news/blog-driven age: war (“The Butter Battle Book”), ethnicity (“The Sneetches and Other Stories”), and in the case of “The Lorax,” the environment.
That last book tells the story of a mystical creature called the Lorax, who watches over a pristine forest full of colorful Truffula Trees and carefree animals. Industry moves in, chops down the trees, poisons the water and air, and forces the animals, and eventually the Lorax, to leave.
The ending is both grim and hopeful, the Lorax flies off “through a hole in the smog” but leaves a pile of rocks with the word “Unless” written across them. “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s Not,” the book reads. As it turns out, one Truffula tree seed survives, and holds out the promise that if it is treated with care “Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”
“The Lorax” has been attacked by those who say that it’s unfair to the logging industry, and by those who say it presents a caricature of environmentalists. Despite critics from both sides, many parents and kids continue to embrace the book. No doubt the film will have its fans and critics too.
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