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


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

Director: Chris Renaud

There are no trees in the sterile walled-off “town without nature” Thneedville whose luckless inhabitants have to pay evil magnate Riggle through the nose for canned fresh air, a product usually supplied free by trees.

(Some good news, though - dogs are just fine in Thneedville. Battery operated and inflatable trees, along with lampposts, are available for canine relief).

Enter 12-year old Ted (voiced by Efron) who bravely breaks out of the town on his motorized unicycle to find a genuine Truffala Tree and so win the love of the girl of his dreams Audrey (voiced by Swift).

The first tranche of his amazing animated adventures brings him up against grumpy former-forest killer the Once-Ler (well spoken-for by Helms) who brings the lad up to speed about his past and how chopping down a tree brought him up against the tiny, magnificently moustached orange Lorax (vigorously voiced by DeVito, playing a character who is actually shorter than he is) and who, he claims, “speaks for the trees” and is lumbered with having to put over Dr Seuss’ increasingly irritating and overdone ‘save the planet’ “it’s anti-pollution and anti-greed” message.

Fortunately for kids who are the target audience, the film’s relentless ecological haranguing should go over their heads, leaving them to enjoy cartoon capers involving a trio of singing fish (who also do a pretty realistic rooster impression), bears that overdose on marshmallows. And there’s the occasional acid adult-aimed line like Riggle’s claim that “I’m Frankenstein's monster on a spider’s body”.

The vocal casting works well enough, the animation is good, as is the 3D filming although, to be honest, the extra dimension adds little to the overall impact.

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
86 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

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

Review date: 27 Jul 2012