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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Lorax

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not” says the Lorax (voice of Danny De Vito; for other voices see the Internet Movie Database http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1482459/) to the Once-ler who has moved into the forest to make a life for himself.

He chops down the trees to make “Thneeds”, a multipurpose ShamWow kind of garment. The Once-ler builds a factory and cuts down all the trees. This destroys the habitat for the animals and pollutes the air and water.

Fast forward many years and a 12-year old boy, Ted, wants to get a real live tree for Audrey, a girl he is sweet on. Ted has to break out of the plastic town he lives in (reminiscent of “The Truman Show”) and escape the greedy mayor and his thugs to find the Once-ler who will tell him how he can find a real tree.

“The Lorax” is a 3D computer generated image (CGI) animated fable based on Dr. Seuss’ 1971 book that does indeed “speak for the trees” and chronicles the destruction of the environment for profit.
 
As a film “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is a bit long and contrived. It is also more of a message movie than an entertainment. However, “The Lorax” reflects the book very well and teaches its message of doom for the environment, unless each person does care an awful lot, in a way that appeals to families. The voices of the popular actor Zac Efron and singer Taylor Swift are a draw for younger audiences.  But the clash between the artificiality of the town, the placid attitude of its citizens, the baby that turns green after falling or swimming in the water, and the destruction of the environment by industry, is strong nevertheless.

Although “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” was released to commemorate Dr. Seuss’s 108th birthday, it is a perfect film for Earth Day, coming up on April 22. The themes of greed, unsustainability, and a scorched earth policy by corporations for profit (I am thinking of the 2011 film “The Last Mountain” about coal mining in West Virginia and 1994 film “The Burning Season” about deforestation of the Amazon region of South America), are clear in the film and correlate well with Themes of Catholic Social Teaching http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching.

I think “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is a must see for citizens and disciples of any age. So much to talk about, so many opportunities to do something to make a difference.


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