THE LORAX (Universal, 2012) D: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda, w/ Zac Efron, Danny DeVito (voices). Rating: NN; Blu-ray package: NNN Rating: NN
I don't care how much I agree with the cause, I hate to see kids' movies turned into propaganda. It spoils the fun. Worse, it trains the little ones to build their values on emotional appeal. Do that and they'll swallow bad ideas as easily as good ones.
The Lorax sledgehammers its pro-forest, anti-corporate-greed message and lets its story coast on generic plucky kid action with cute animals on the side.
Wanting to impress a girl, the kid (voiced by Zac Ephron) leaves his all-plastic city and finds The Once-ler (Ed Helms), who's destroyed the forest for raw materials despite warnings from the Lorax (Danny DeVito), an ineffectual protective deity. The kid gets the very last tree seed and races back to town to plant it, over the strenuous objections of Mr. O'Hare (Rob Riggle), who sells the town its air.
Acting, visuals and action are competent and cute, but apart from Mr. O'Hare's haircut and a trio of singing fish, there's nothing either touching or memorable. The fish show up again to good advantage in Serenade, the liveliest of the thee shorts in the extras.
Games and an interactive tour of The Lorax's world make the extras fun for the kids. Adults fond of the original Dr. Seuss book may enjoy directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda tracing the path from book to screen in their commentary.
EXTRAS Commentary, three shorts, making-of shorts doc, games, more. English, French, Spanish audio and subtitles.