Dr Seuss’ The Lorax (U)
Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda.
Featuring the voices of: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Danny DeVito, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Betty White.
Running time: 1hr 26mins
Based on the book by Dr Seuss, The Lorax is an environmentally conscious story of one boy’s noble quest to restore balance between avaricious mankind and Mother Nature.
Vocal performances are solid, including a suitably gruff Danny DeVito as the titular forest sprite, whose premonitions of ecological disaster fall on deaf ears.
Twelve-year-old Ted Wiggins (voiced by Zac Efron) lives in the carefully controlled utopia of Thneed-ville with his mother (Jenny Slate) and feisty grandmother Norma (Betty White).
Town mayor Aloysius O’Hare (Rob Riggle) provides the residents with all they need including blissful sunshine — everything except for real plants, which are manufactured in a factory.
Ted pines for the girl next door, Audrey (Taylor Swift), who tells him wants to see a real-life tree growing in her backyard.
So the smitten lad seeks out a hermit called the Once-ler (Ed Helms), who apparently knows why all of the Truffula trees disappeared.
The Once-ler recounts how he inadvertently devastated the lush landscape for generations to come and “summoned the legendary and slightly annoying guardian of the forest” known as The Lorax (DeVito).
Ted realises that O’Hare doesn’t want real trees restored because photosynthesis would jeopardise his lucrative oxygen supply business.
Underlying messages of unity and self-sacrifice for a greater good are admirable, drizzled with mawkish sentimentality to sweeten the pill.