Twelve year old Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) lives with his mother (Jenny Slate) and Grammy Norma (Betty White), in a town called ‘Thneed-Ville’ where nothing’s real – the trees and vegetation are all fake and Mr O’Hare (Rob Riggle), a tyrannical business man who rules the town with a steely grip, sells fresh air by the bottle. But Ted is a gutsy guy and after Audrey (Taylor Swift), the most awesome girl in town with whom he is totally besotted, tells him that she’d love any boy who could bring her a real tree, Ted sets out to find one in order to win her hand. Leaving ‘Thneed-Ville’ under cover of night, Ted determines to track down the mysterious Once-ler (Ed Helms) who, legend has it, lives in the wastelands outside the town. The reclusive Oncer-ler holds the secret to what became of all the trees as well as to the identity of the mythical Lorax (Danny DeVito), guardian of the once magical land that lay beyond the walls of ‘Thneed-Ville’.
Masterpiece is a word worn thin by overuse particularly when describing films which, though good, are often missing that special something. Occasionally however one will still appear which justifies the use of the word. The Lorax, the new animated fantasy from the team behind Despicable Me, is just one such film, as it has that special missing element (magic) in spades. This big screen take on one of wacky American children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel’s best loved tales, is an utterly bewitching animation which leaves you wishing it would never end. Seldom do graphics, story and characterisation come together in such a heady mix that completely envelopes the viewer for its entire ninety minute running time.
The Lorax accomplishes the rare feat of blending everything together to create a seamless piece of storytelling entertainment. Though clearly aimed primarily at children, the otherworldly animation which brings Seuss’ wacky imagination alive, will equally appeal to older viewers whose childhood memories are still haunted by the good doctor’s weird tales. Vibrantly coloured in acids and bleak monochromes this new production is probably the most accurate visualisation yet of his bewitching morality stories.
The film also has all the essential constituents of a classic. With the voice talents of the iconic DeVito as the sage-like Lorax and White as the mischievous Grammy Norma, and a theme which will resonate with everyone in today’s consumer driven culture, this fable will last in the memory long after the current crop of kid’s cartoon dross has faded.
The Lorax is so much fun I could have sat right down the moment it finished and watched it straight through again – and how often can you say that with modern cinema?
The Lorax is in cinemas 27th July 2012.
Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito
Runtime: 86 min