The Lorax speaks for the trees

The Lorax speaks for the trees

Kate Alaks, Staff Reporter

Ted lives in Thneedville, a seemingly-perfect town in which “bushes” are inflatable, “trees” have multiple functions (such as Disco) and bottled air is delivered to everyone’s door daily. This mirrors our own consumption-driven society, and is very well done.

I’m sure most people know the story of The Lorax from the picture book by Dr. Seuss. When the Once-ler (a mysterious faceless being) begins chopping down truffula trees to create his own, multipurpose product, the Lorax appears. The Lorax is a forest guardian who “speaks for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” Despite the Lorax’s best efforts, however, the Once-ler successfully destroys, pollutes, and sells, until the entire forest is gone.

At first I was a little skeptical about how a fairly short book could become a full length movie. I was pleasantly surprised; the movie was entertaining while still keeping the environmental message.

The movie essentially has two different viewpoints: the story of the Once-ler, and the story of Ted, a young boy who seeks out the Once-ler to impress a girl. Through the Once-lers narrative, and Ted’s own actions, the movie shows how important it is to protect the environment, and how much you lose when you destroy it.

Unlike the book, the movie Once-ler has a face and a back story. He comes from a family from which he is ostracized and his dreams are dismissed. He finally sets off to seek his own fortune which does not come easily. One can therefore understand where he’s coming from when he ignores the Lorax’s warnings and proceeds to increase his production of thneeds, causing massive damage to the forest and its inhabitants. Humanizing the Once-ler was a good strategy, because most people don’t set out with the sole purpose of destroying the world, they end up doing so because they don’t stop to think about the consequences of their actions.

Another part of the movie that rings true about our society is the bad guy: Mr. O’Hare, the tycoon making billions of dollars by selling people bottled air. He has discovered that the more polluted the air gets, the more bottled air he can sell, so he’s willing to use any means possible to stop Ted from reforming Thneedville. This mirrors the difficulties we face now, where oil and car companies fight against more sustainable options because they will lose profits.

The movie was peppered with unexpected songs that were quite good. In particular I liked the one called “How Bad Can I Be?” which plays during the Once-ler’s production boom.

I don’t have much criticism for the movie, but there are a few things. One is that there were a few points, such as when Ted was riding his moped, where you saw just the characters’ hands on the handlebars, and then the view ahead of him. While that might just be for a 3D effect, (as I realized afterwards,) it still screamed to me as a set up for a video game.

Overall, I really liked the movie. It brought the environmental message across while still being fun and accessible. It’s definitely a good movie to watch.