Monday, March 5, 2012

The Lorax Movie Review

A.O. Scott at the NYT claims that The Lorax "is a noisy, useless piece of junk, reverse-engineered into something resembling popular art in accordance with the reigning imperatives of marketing and brand extension." Woah there. Let's not forget that the target audience for The Lorax is children under the age of 12. The little boy sitting next to me at the movie theater whole-heatedly appreciated the musical numbers and colorful mayhem, getting out of his seat and dancing along. Yes, A.O. Scott, kids do want Car chases, Kooky grandmas, and Taylor Swift. What's wrong with delivering a worthy message of the importance of environmental conservation through a medium kids truly appreciate?

I think that The Lorax movie successfully promotes the book's original message in an entertaining way. The only problem is that the message is grounded in a very outdated generalization about corporate behavior. Things have changed since 1971 when Dr. Seuss first wrote The Lorax. Today, the generalization that all companies are operating with a blind eye toward the environment is exaggerated and misleading. Sustainability strategy is considered essential to big-name corporations such as Nike and Best Buy, and all sorts of innovative programs are being developed to mitigate industry impact on the environment. Maybe the producers of The Lorax movie attemtped to compensate for this by offering corporate sponsorships to companies with a common goal of preservation like Seventh Generation, Whole Foods, and Stonyfield Farms. However, The Lorax Movie still pits industry and environment against each other, when the reality is moving toward increased collaboration.

I do agree with Scott on one thing, though. It would have been nice to see the female character, Audrey, do more than just garner male attention in the movie. Unfortunately, however, the charming and beautiful high school woman was incapable of doing anything useful (she even dropped the Truffala seed during the car chase...whoopsies!). Perhaps addressing sexism and environmental degradation in one animated children's movie is just asking too much.

1 comment:

  1. I just saw The Lorax the other night on Netflix, and you and Scott are spot on about Audrey. Her impotence and inability even to repaint her house after it is vandalized by O'Hair is disgraceful. That old fashioned "Wait for your Prince" mentality is crippling to young girls, and needs to be eliminated from the media. It's a simple, simple thing to change how we tell our stories to encourage all children to be full, complete, capable human beings, rather than splitting them by gender into doers and encouragers. Far past time we begin to.