Once-Ler’s Redemption Perverts Lorax

Mariana Aguirre, Staff Writer

Oh, The Lorax. The latest film rendition of this Seuss classic is nothing more than a digital coagulation of some oily essential fluids secreted by the “guilt gland,” located above the left kidney, that has been drained from an egocentric, overly optimistic man-child.

The old story of human greed and nature’s conservation does have much wisdom to impart, especially to the generation raised by pre-packaged meals and  apps on Mommy’s iPhone; however, as all movies, The Lorax is tailored too much to comedic entertainment, its barely discernible “be the change” message falling upon deaf five-year-old ears.

The story has been reworked to include “Thneedville,” an entirely artificial city where the blissfully ignorant citizens must purchase clean air from an unnecessarily hideous corporate genius, called O’Hare. All these events are the result the Once-ler’s complete eradication of  Truffula trees.

The main audience of The Lorax consists of ethically indifferent toddlers dragged by parents to be dazzled for a two hour interval by bright colors and catchy songs and nostalgic college grads desperate to relive some childhood innocence; the producers’ choice of voice actors Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, and Taylor Swift merely reveals their attempt to appeal to the unfortunately large population of naive, preteen media-zombies.

The new storyline is about a boy seeking the Once-ler, not because he’s disheartened by the bleak world’s pollution, but because he is spurred to find trees for his sweetheart. We finally get to see the Once-ler’s face (if you remember the book, only his arms were visible), and his eventual redemption; the Lorax returns to forgive him upon the planting of several new Truffula trees.

What? The Once-ler’s redemption? Is this supposed to end happily, all wrongs righted, all trees replanted?

The value of Seuss’s original story was the shock, the horror, the tears shed over the tragic plight of exiled Brown Bar-Ba-Loots and Humming Fish, the child’s realization that they are to blame, that they should walk to school rather than drive and turn out lights upon leaving a room. The concept behind The Lorax is the cold, hard reality of the whimsical world’s degradation, the allegorical interpretation of what’s happening right now, what has been happening for so long to all environments on this Earth.

Why should the message have been softened, the trauma trivialized, merely to cater to a tenderhearted young audience, to make over $70 billion the first week in theaters?! The film had so much potential to make its audience actually think for a change, and it is a pity to see it wasted. Kids need to be shocked, adults need to feel shame for their wasteful ways, and nothing will change when a book like The Lorax is being perverted for reasons entirely contrary to the ones for which it was written.