Move Time: The Lorax

image from wikipedia

She Said: The Lorax

I loved Dr. Seuss books when I was a little girl. My mother gave me her set of books from when she was a little girl and there were truly some gems in her set. I didn’t actually like The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham as much as I liked Come Over to my House, Put Me in the Zoo and Are You My Mother? . But, I have never read The Lorax. I was so excited when I heard it was going to be a movie. I hoped that I would find it was whimsical and compelling. Like all my favorite Dr. Seuss works it really is wonderful (and whimsical and compelling). I thought the movie was darling and smart.

 

The Lorax is a wonderful story that starts out very simply. A boy wants to impress a girl. In order to please Audrey (the girl) Ted (the boy) embarks on a journey to find a real tree. Audrey and Ted live in Thneedville, which is a commercial paradise that is filled with plastic, fake trees and air from machines. Ted learns that to find out what happened to all the real trees that he must leave town and seek out a mysteries man named the Once-ler. In listening to the Once-ler’s story Ted learns about the importance of responsibility, ecology and the dangers of greed.

 

The characters in the movie are really interesting. Zac Efron, the perfect 2000’s boy is wistful and determined as Ted. Taylor Swift’s characterization of Audrey is excellent.  Danny de Vito showed a good amount of range as the Lorax, himself.

 

I thought the music in the movie was great! It really feels like another animated movie that will one day be turned into a Broadway musical.  I love musicals because I think there are times in life when mere words don’t convey your feelings. This movie had such substantial energy that I felt the addition of so much music in both happy and distressing times was appropriate.

 

Truffula trees are beautiful! I can’t stop thinking about them ever since we watched the movie. Yes, I know they aren’t real! But, I loved the very developed and lush world that the animators created. I was struck by how like on our world it seemed, but it also managed to add in some striking fantastical elements. Those trees! I would want to see one, too!

 

I’ve heard that some people have a big problem with the spiritual elements of the movie. I’m not particularly offended or particularly crazy about how they carried everything out in the spiritual realm. I didn’t think it presented the Lorax to be any more founded in the truth of the world we live in then the singing bears and fish. The thing that I like least is his ascension and return in streaming light from the sky. It’s the thing that I feel most leans on an actual related to God-image and the thing that actually bothers me. I wish that they could have chosen a different path that didn’t feel like it was referencing Jesus. I can understand that in this fantastical world we are watching a story about that there may not be direct references to Jesus and God. But, that doesn’t mean that the people who create it won’t include references that are derived from Jesus and God. I do wish that they had been more careful in that respect and have chosen machination for the Lorax that didn’t reference Christian elements.  The movie has a lovely message about not being selfish and caring for this beautiful world we live in. As a Christian caring for this earth is important to me. This world is a gift that I can choose to try and care for responsibly as I am admonished by God to be a good steward. Or I can choose to be reckless with my purchases and consume and disregard. I’m afraid that I’m often guilty of not making the right choices. But, I’m trying to make the effort to help preserve clean water and trees for future generations. I want my grandchildren to know the joy of evening crickets and birds singing in the trees.

 

 

I do really agree with this film’s message about conservation. I’ve heard many people complain that the film has a liberal or political agenda. Frankly, I’m ashamed that many Christians feel this way. If people have a problem with some of the representations and conventions of the Lorax himself, then that’s fine, I understand that. But, why is it a problem to say that large businesses who are greedy and irresponsible hurt the earth? Do you like black flag days? Have you seen what’s in the water we drink? What’s still in it after the so-called purification and treatment that our water facilities use?

 

When you take away ugly political dialogue, which option sounds like a more Christian life choice?

 

  1. I will strive to take care of what I’ve given. I know that I’m not the only person on earth. I don’t need things to be happy. This earth was given to us as a gift. We were given it to take care of.  We should remember to tell each other the truth in love. If people are hurting the earth and it’s resources we should tell them to stop.
  2. I want stuff. I want every new phone the day it comes out. I’ll drive a huge car no matter how gas it uses because I want, too. I want lots and lots of things. When I want them. No one can tell me I can’t. I can buy what I want.

I’m not going to tell anyone to stop making what they want. And no one else is either!!!!! I can do whatever I want because I’m a person. So what if forests are emptied of their lumber. Sometimes people plant back some of the trees. I want my stuff because I want it! I’m entitled to stuff and control and making my own choices!!!

 

I’m going to strive for A. I’m sure I’ll mess up, but I’m going to try to show honor to God by caring for this beautiful planet. I don’t want to just consume and destroy because I can.  If we all just help a little and hold people accountable for using our resources improperly I bet we could make a big difference! I’m still going to shop. I love clothes and I love books! I still want those things, I’ll just try and buy things I’m really crazy about or interested in! I think it’s okay that you buy and want things, too. Let’s just try to make sure together that we get the things that truly strike our fancy or will enrich our lives! Even just a change that small can help.

 

Kari’s Rating- 7

 

He Said: The Lorax

 

A lot has been said about The Lorax, and its obviously conservationist message.  Some loathe it as a tool of atheistic socialists that don’t want any industry to exist at all.  Others, like yours truly, see it as an important tale of warning of unregulated greed gone wrong.

 

There’s a lot going on in this seemingly simple expansion of a children’s book.  There’s some brilliant commentary on business and economics, and hidden in there is some about how Christians should live.

 

Most of the movie focuses on the tale of the Once-ler who was the person who led to the destruction of this world’s forest.  It’s taking this story too literally to say that this is an allegory of the lumber industry.  The Once-ler first cuts down a tree to make an utterly useless product that winds up being immensely popular.  Cutting down that first tree summons the Lorax, guardian of the forest.  Oncie promises the Lorax that we won’t cut down another tree ever again.  Then as his business grows, other interests demand that instead of harvesting the trees, he cut down more and more trees to produce more and more of his thneeds.  Notice, that there was an alternative here, and the Once-ler fails to plant any new trees so he has more to use later.  Greed quickly gets the better of him, and he cuts down more and more trees, until there are no more.

 

The real villain of this piece isn’t actually the Once-ler.  While he creates the devastation, once that is done, the real vile part of free market economics pops up.  The story that occurs in this world’s present features a newer corporation is selling the population something it should be able to get for free, namely clean air.  Here, you see a stark difference in business people.  While Oncie, once a first generation entrepreneur that genuinely thought his creation was for the betterment of society, Aloysius O’Hare doesn’t care about society at large at all.  He forcibly maintains his artificial monopoly using any means he can.  He’s a much more dangerous character for the economy.

 

This movie is great.  It really didn’t feel preachy to me.  While I’ve mainly focused on the “villains” here, the other characters are well developed as well.  The voice performances are great, and the story is above all fun and humorous.  The songs are great too.  Most modern musicals don’t have a good sense of how to use music, but here it is always used to advance the plot.  The songs were also actually catchy and fun to sing.

 

Overall, The Lorax is a greatly entertaining movie, and much more than just a message piece, even if you don’t want to look for the underlying economic messages, as this econ dork likes to.

 

RJ’s Rating-9

 

(The links take you to Amazon and you can check out the books we mentioned.  If you want to buy the books you can help support The He Said She Said Experience.)

 

 

 

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