Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Lorax (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

The Lorax

Here here! "The Lorax" has arrived to watch over our banyans, royal palms,  Australian Pines  and our gorgeous Gumbo Limbos (known as the 'tourist tree' because they turn red and peel).
Mainland developers and critics alike would do well to take heart, to take a breath, a break and watch.

"The Lorax" is a rambunctiously  animated entertainment,filmed in picture- perfect 3D, using every color in the rainbow plus the very prism of our DNA thrown in for good measure. It makes for giggly satire as well as some sound silliness. It is both a timeless cautionary tale and a tribute to Theodore Geisel also known as Dr. Seuss.

The plot is simple but no less engaging. 

Ted (Zac Efron) lives in Thneedville, an artificial "plastic" town with "no Nature" that looks uncannily like something out of Sawgrass Mills Mall. Even though there is a filter of blue in the sky the town is choked with smog and the residents need bottles of air to breathe. They overwhelm the AstroTurf terrain with thousands of plastic gallon jugs. Worse, the trees are some sort of polymer. The people of Thneedville perpetually shop.

Ted is smitten with Audrey (Taylor Swift) who professes her love for the bygone truffula trees. 

Needless to say, Ted vows to find a tree.

The film has a stirring and authentic visual texture that is true to Seuss. The songs are catchy, melodious and full of irreverent humor. A favorite is "How Bad Can I be?" A sonic assault of economic Darwinism and unabashed greed that will have all Grinches   rolling in the aisles.
Special mention has to go to The Onceler. Voiced by Ed Helms, he is the shamed visionary, an exiled Willy Wonka who used the earth for his own entrepreneurial gains, however short lived. Shown in shadow, The Onceler is a hybrid of Vincent Price and Cousin Itt, but he has the heart of a Julia Hill. In Seussan lore, Onceler is a benevolent Grinch, having more in common with Bob Dylan than Boris Karloff.

Another highlight is the humble and self-deprecating Lorax who looks like a cross between Wilfred Brimley if he overdosed on Doritos and a peanut. The Lorax has a pushy New Jersey accent. Voiced by Danny Devito, The Lorax is a delight. Last but not least, comedian Rob Riggle gives city dictator O'Hare, a crazed frenetic edge. O'Hare is a type A sales blend of Jon Lovitz and curiously, Hirohito (Noted for his WWII cartoons at the time, Geisel was unfortunately known to be prone to stereotypes) 

That being said "The Lorax" is a holistic and joyful analysis of the push and pull of The Suburban Status Quo against Ecology and the Juggernaut of consumerism. Simplistic you say? It is that, but this film is an animated Lego block  leading to sensitive awareness.  This is no trifle when many animated films are all mess with no message.  

See the film and take a leap from your seat and go to Fort Zachary. Watch. Wait. You might see a Lorax leering at you from one tall tree, ultra-orange and apoplectic in all of his curmudgeonly courage. 

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