Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Lorax (C-)

Usually it takes very little for a film to stir up controversy. By depicting a religious figure in any form, uproar from at least one "morally righteous" association is inevitable, but these disputes can also take root in seemingly trivial aspects. For example, this weekend's Farrelly Brother comedy update, The Three Stooges, received extreme scorn by the Catholic League for the throw-off visual gag of an attractive nun in a mildly revealing bathing suit. Does the film itself treat Catholicism with slander and negativity? No, but this tiny joke draws opinionated quarrels from certain groups all the same. Illumination Studios' animated followup to their 2010 surprise blockbuster Despicable Me, the Dr. Seuss adaptation, The Lorax, gained notoriety in right-wing circles for its anti-corporate, pro-environmental message. Fox News, along with partners in conservative media, raised controlled hell when the children's movie was released; claiming the film was an effort by liberal Hollywood to subtly "brainwash" the right-wing youth into obtaining moral viewpoints of those on the far left. Though I respect the choices of those who felt so strongly against the film, perhaps they should've waited for an opportunity with a more liberal stance to rally the troops in opposition toward. In general, The Lorax is brightly colored generic fluff, and nothing more.

With its only creative decision being the casting of Danny DeVito as the titular Lorax, which admittedly was pretty amazing choice for lack of a better word, this was a dull, unfunny, and incredibly forgettable experience; with its only benefits the already mentioned DeVito casting, and the ADHD sugar-high visual palette of joint directors Kyle Balda and Chris Renaud. It's a shameless adaptation; one which takes an equally creative and powerful story by a childhood icon, and mangles it through Hollywood banality until the end result is something you hardly recognize. Adaptations like Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are have proved it's all too possible to successfully bring a short children's story to the silver screen; but The Lorax doesn't follow in suit. Rather, it slathers its origins with mediocre musical numbers, cringe worthy non-sequiturs, and new characters and plot lines so hopelessly dumb it detracts from the important environmental morals the film is intended to teach. The supporting cast of Ed Helms, Betty White, Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, and Rob Riggle at first seemed like it would make a difference, but like the film itself; they've already cashed in.
This is not a film to attempt to persuade people from seeing out of controversy, but rather out of the film's own ineptitude.
Grade: C-
*Though I wouldn't recommend the film anyway, viewing it in 2D rather than 3D won't make any difference other than money saved. If you don't want to just skip in general, ditch the glasses and view it in 2D.

No comments:

Post a Comment