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Dr Seuss' The Lorax (3D) (DQ)


Stars: Voices: Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Stephen Tobolowsky

Director: Chris Renaud

This animated feature presents a typical Dr Seuss children's story - full of wise morals, tall top hats, plastic towns and bright colours.

No tree, plant or animal has been seen in Thneedville for decades, but Ted Wiggins (a distant descendant of Bradley?), a scooter-mad boy, sets out to change all that. He just adores the auburn-haired girl (Swift) round the corner and, when she says she'd like nothing so much as a real tree for her birthday, Ted (Efron) defies a ruling by the town's squat little despot, O'Hare (Riggle) and is soon scooting away into the surrounding wilderness - cue some good, spooky traps and obstacles - in search of the One-ster (Helms), who allegedly knows about trees, and can be bribed with 15 cents, a nail and the shell of a great-grandfather snail.

After Ted survives encounters with some typically eccentric Seuss contraptions, the One-ster, a murky figure with green gloves, is persuaded to tell his story of how he sold his invention, Thneed, made from the tops of truffula trees, but was undone by his greedy family, who influenced him to actually chop the trees down, instead of just harvesting their unique foliage, running roughshod over the objections of The Lorax (DeVito), the little, orange, vastly moustached, Godlike guardian of the local ecology.

Despite some excellent moments - The Lorax performs CPR on a near-drowned One-ster by rubbing two small bears together and clamping them on to his chest - and intelligent use of 3D, the lively little parable, although a visual delight, expands the slim Seuss story rather too much for comfort. It's clearly intended as a ghastly warning that we could all end up like the folks of Thneedville. Sure would save on gardening bills though.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
86 minutes. Not widescreen (3D). UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 21 Jul 2012