The Lorax

Image: aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s nicer than a night out at the movies?  It was just me and the guys, out enjoying the good ol’ cinéma…  And, well, while it’s probable that we were the only people in the theatre over the age of 20 not accompanying their young child, it was a free movie coupon well spent.

What movie could attract audiences of such diverse demographics, you say? The answer to that question is The Lorax.  If you’re asking, “what’s a Lorax?” then you probably have never read the book – the Dr. Seuss book – as a child, but that’s okay.

The Lorax, published in 1971, was a tale about capitalism, consumerism, and environmentalism, all wrapped up in a children’s story. In a futuristic town where nature no longer exists, we follow a young boy who encounters a mysterious figure named the “Once-ler” in his quest to find a tree.  The Once-ler recounts his story: as an eager young man he sought to create a product that everyone would want, and in turn began to cut down trees to gather resources. Despite the warning from the Lorax – the creature who speaks for the trees –  the Once-ler continued his work until not a single tree remained in the entire land. All the animals were forced to leave, his factory was shut down, and the Lorax had disappeared. Back in the present, the Once-ler expresses his regret, but offers a glimmer of hope – he gives a single seed to the boy to plant.

While the movie expands upon this simple story, I felt it did a decent job of delivering the message Dr. Seuss intended: that we all live in balance with nature, and that greed can be a dangerous thing.  It’s possible the flashiness of Hollywood storytelling (the numerous songs or chase scenes, for example) may have distracted youngsters a bit from that message, but in any case, it is really nice to see movies out there that are entertaining as well as thought-provoking – for any age.

I think it says a lot for a kids movie when a grown male can leave the theatre thinking critically about what he just saw. One line that really stuck with me, and spoken in good old Seussical style, is: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

How true that line rings — especially in rhyme.

-Phil
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