Friday, September 21, 2012

"The Lorax" (2012)

As is the case with many children growing up in English speaking lands, Dr. Seuss’ books were among the first I read on my own. In particular, “The Sneetches” and “The Lorax” stand out in my memory. They were some of the earliest examples I remember realizing story was being used to influence thought.

 “The Lorax” in particular was an early favorite. It is hardly subtle, and while that is not strength, it was helpful to my young mind. What was really great to my way of thinking was the way the story ended, on a question—not a resolution, but still offering hope.

The film that was released this year, however, takes the basic plot of the original story and destroys any other redeeming thing it had to offer. This is no longer a fable. They add storylines and additional commentary on society that muddle rather than illuminate. The filmmakers come across as inept as they attempt to criticize materialism while embracing it, and they demonstrate no sense of balance. The meat of the plot is dealt with in one musical number. (Yes, this “Lorax” is a musical.)

Do not damage the children in your life or their sense of the wonder of story by exposing them to this by-the-numbers product. Instead, introduce them the book and then read them some of the other great picture book stories out there. It is a genre with many great examples.

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