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Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012) - Movie Review for Parents

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Dr. Seuss' The Lorax - Blu-ray
Photo © Universal

Bottom line: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax tells a musical version of the famous Dr. Seuss tale with eye-popping CG animation and memorable characters. Contains some mild rude humor.

MPAA Rating: PG, for brief mild language
Guide age recommendation: 3+
Genre: Animated/family
Runtime: 86 minutes
Voice cast: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle and Betty White
Release Date: March 2, 2012

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax - Overview

The people of Thneedville are a pretty happy lot. They have everything they need in their walled-in little town -- blow-up trees, bottled water, and even bottled clean air. But when young Ted finds out that the girl of his dreams, Audrey, has a dream of her own, he determines to make it come true.

The only thing Audrey wants in the world is to see a real tree, a Truffula tree. Ted sets out beyond the boundaries of the city wall and discovers that finding a real tree might be a nearly impossible task. The land is desolate, with no sign of life.

Then, Ted happens upon the dwelling of the old Once-ler. The Once-ler knows what happened to the trees, and he's willing to tell Ted all about it. Each day the Once-ler reveals a little more of the tale about his own greed and a little orange creature called the Lorax who spoke for the trees

Encouraged by his grammy, Ted keeps sneaking out of the city to learn more. But, the greedy Aloysius O'Hare, big business mogul and seller of clean air, does not want little Ted learning of things that could improve the environment and thus hurt his business, so he and his thugs try to put a stop to Ted's enriching activities.

Things in Thneedville will never improve, and the Truffula trees, along with the adorable Bar-ba-loots, Swomee-swans and Humming Fish that used to inhabit Truffula Valley, will continue to be nothing but a long lost legend. Unless, someone like Ted cares an awful lot.

The LoraxPhoto © Universal Pictures

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax - Guide Review for Parents

Colorful and whimsical animation, vibrant musical numbers and an incredibly charismatic voice cast make Dr. Seuss' The Lorax a winner for kids and families. The animation can best be described as eye-candy for kids, and in 3D, the eye-popping world really comes to life as Bar-ba-loots frolic in the Truffula Trees, Swomee-swans fly overhead, and Humming-fish melodiously prance around on land and dive in and out of the water.

The vibrant animation is supported by equally vibrant musical numbers that give the unexpected air of a full on musical to the movie. The music is big and bold. Ed Helms' voice as the Once-ler fills the theater with telling songs as the character changes from an ambitious young man with something to prove to a greedy tycoon to a remorseful and eccentric old hermit. The movie ends with a rousing gospel sounding number with a lot of heart and a good amount of humor.

From the book, you know that the message is a pretty heavy-handed environmental call to action. The movie conveys the same message without becoming distastefully preachy. At one point, the Lorax even hints that the Once-ler can enjoy success, but he needs to plant more trees and consider his impact as he goes.

Parents can rejoice in the fact that the movie is fun for the whole family and very kid friendly. I am surprised this movie got a PG rating. The movie is much more kid safe than several other G rated movies I can think of right off the bat. The reason given for the PG rating is "brief mild language." The only noticeable language was words like "idiot" and "dirtbag," although there could have been something muttered briefly that was not as intelligible.

There are a couple of points with some intense scary music (when Ted is discovering the Once-ler's dwelling) that might briefly frighten or unsettle very young children. Kids may also be unsettled or saddened by the Once-lers destruction and the resulting impact on the environment and the cute inhabitants of Truffula Valley.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax - Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (Low): The movie contains a little slapstick violence here and there played for humor, as well as sort of vehicle chase scene at the end. Most of the violence is inflicted on the environment with the chopping down of all the trees and the resulting effects on the animals and land.
  • Scary Scenes (Medium): When Ted happens upon the Once-ler's hideout, the music gets very scary and intense, which coupled with the dark and gloomy surroundings and little surprises like a kicking boot popping out of the house, could be scary to young kids. Ted is also threatened by O'Hare and his thugs and told not to leave the town again.
  • Sex/Nudity (Low): Ted has a crush on Audrey. A kiss almost happens.
  • Drugs and Alcohol (None)
  • Language (Low): A few rude words like "greedy dirt bag," "baby man," and "idiot" are used.
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (High): Greedy business behavior and unethical practices as well as destruction of the environment for gain are the obvious bad behaviors exhibited in the movie. The Once-ler goes back on his word. The Lorax and his creature friends try to send the Once-ler down the river while he sleeps. Many kids will probably imitate a few of the Lorax's gruffisms, like the famous, "That's a woman?" line.
The Once-ler NowPhoto © Universal pictures

  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Medium): Some kids may be very disturbed by the idea that factories and business hurt the environment.
  • Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: the environment, big business and capitalism, clean air and water, why trees are necessary for the environment, greed, destruction of nature and animal homes
Disclosure: The studio provided a free screening of this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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