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Rediff.com  » Movies » DVD review: The Lorax pack has some beautiful elements

DVD review: The Lorax pack has some beautiful elements

August 10, 2012 13:43 IST
The Lorax posterThe Lorax is a lovely film with an important message, writes Arthur J Pais.

A lively warning against thoughtless industrialisation, the animated version of Dr Seuss's children's classic book The Lorax became quite a hit in America a few months ago.

Though Dr Seuss is not widely known outside of America, Canada and the United Kingdom, it has done good business worldwide, earning over $350 million. Now, this gloriously vivid film bursting with good humour and lovely music is one of the hottest selling videos.

The film, of course, adds a few things to the 67-page book but is enriched by the changes that include Thneedville, a town made primarily from plastic.

Filled with inflatable trees, fast cars, and suffocating air, its residents are forced to purchase bottled fresh air. But some things cannot be taken for granted even in this town. Twelve-year-old Ted (Zac Efron), for instance, will do anything to find a long extinct Truffula Tree in order to impress Audrey (Taylor Swift), who really wants to see one.

Since there are no real trees in Thneedville, Ted acts on the stories of his grandmother (Betty White), venturing beyond the city's walls into the wasteland to locate a mysterious creature called the Once-ler (Ed Helms). Ted then discovers the story of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), a grumpy but charming creature who speaks for the trees.

The best part of the film comes when Ted begins to hear the tale about a once-perfect landscape filled with beautiful Truffula Trees and enchanting animals and realises how the landscape was doomed by one greedy young man. And because of that greed, the Humming Fish and other lovely creatures have been wasted.

Special features include mini movies, deleted scenes like Seuss to Screen, Truffula Run, Once-ler's Wagon, Let it Grow singalong. DVD-Blu-ray-digital copy combo pack is also available.

In Wagon Ho, two of the brown Bar-ba-loots take the Once-ler's donkey and wagon for a joyride. Forces of Nature finds the Lorax trying to scare the Once-ler into leaving Truffula Valley. And Serenade shows two Bar-ba-loots engaged in a song-and-dance-off, wrote The National Post 'suggesting the remote possibility of a Chipmunks-style spinoff ' -- which, for the record, would be a horrible idea.

Another feature, Seuss It Up, provides a quick lesson on how to draw a Lorax, a Bar-ba-loot and a Humming-fish. Seuss to Screen, meanwhile, discusses how the filmmakers dealt with the writer's iconic images. The Once-ler, for instance, is never glimpsed in the book other than as a pair of eyes and green arms, so the film gives its Once-ler long green gauntlets, helped by the fact that the text mentions a 'gruvvulous glove.'

The directors also discuss the films that helped inspire their work including The Princess Bride  (for its story-within-a-story structure) and Raiders of the Lost Ark, for the scene in which the Lorax makes his appearance in a cloud of lightning. They also explain that they wanted to make the Once-ler an ordinary person rather than a monstrous figure, so that audiences could relate to the fact that he didn't set out to destroy the Truffula trees.

The home entertainment packet has been well received by the critics.

'The filmmaking team led by co-directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda (behind another hit, Despicable Me) used the original Dr Seuss book as a touchstone, while building a more modern environmental story around it,' wrote The Toronto Sun. 'The Lorax looks absolutely scrumptious in the Blu-ray format. The colours pop and the Seuss world are given its due.'

Arthur J Pais in New York