A computer-animated 3-D tracing of Dr. Seuss's 1971 fable, The Lorax concerns a young resident of synthetic, plastic-coated suburb Thneed-Ville, Ted (voiced by Zac Efron), who goes searching for a legendary living tree outside the city walls. There he encounters a reclusive Once-ler (Ed Helms), who narrates his own life story: beginning as a fresh-faced young entrepreneur, the Once-ler's ambition stripped the land of pom-pom topped Truffula trees and, in the process, turned the Once-ler into a caricature Capitalist, to the great disappointment of the title's brash, mustachioed woodland spirit (Danny DeVito). The Lorax is a bizarro version of Hugo—like Martin Scorsese's film, it encourages children to cleave to and preserve the world's endangered treasures. But while Hugo teaches the value of fantasy and artifice in intimate, human terms, The Lorax piously preaches the gospel of the organic, holistic world, while relishing in high-fructose candy colors and saccharine woodland plushies found no-where in nature. As in the likes of Yogi Bear, the lesson will please or displease parents according to their prejudices, while the means of delivery are an offense that transcends party lines. Par for the course in blowout CGI adaptations, a great deal of detail and bustle is gained at the expense of charm—for all the miracles these armies of animators can achieve, they have yet to successfully reproduce a humble artist's line.
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