Subtle as a buzz saw mowing down those cotton-candy-colored Truffula Trees, “The Lorax” fitfully combines a heavy-handed environmental message with bright, shiny animation for little kiddies.
Adapted from one of the lesser-known books by Dr. Seuss, this story has as its hero a grumpy little yellow furball who acts as the protector of the forest. His nemesis is the Once-ler (voice of Ed Helms), an amiable young man who wants to use the Truffulas to make his Thneed, a mysterious product (even to him) that will make him rich.
The Lorax (voiced well by Danny DeVito) possesses magical powers, but he never actually uses them to put a stop to the Once-ler’s nefarious antics. Instead, he waits until the devastation is complete and then tries to make people feel bad about it.
As eye candy goes, “The Lorax” is a treat, with wonderfully crisp images and fanciful critters who feel like they jumped right off Dr. Seuss’ pages. Even the supposedly sterile city that sprung up in the Once-ler’s path is fun to spend time in, with its gravity-defying buildings and one-wheeled vehicles.
“The Lorax” will likely keep tots engaged, but this one’s meant for the adult to hit “play” and go read a book.