Monday, January 9, 2012

DON'T watch this now: Trailer for The Lorax

It was great to see The Adventures of Tintin over Christmas break - twice! It was everything an adaptation should be - a translation of the work into a different medium, with storytelling and character introductions to suit the medium; with lots of in-jokes for the fans but easy for those unfamiliar with the work to understand; and most of all, true to the spirit of the original work.

The downside of all this was having to see the trailer for the abominable-looking adaptation for The Lorax. I shouldn't be surprised, really. Shitty adaptations of Dr. Seuss' work have been the status quo since Ron Howard's bungling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But the trailer alone for The Lorax sent me into a hissy fit, because it is wrong on so many levels.

The Lorax isn't high on most people's list of favorite Dr. Seuss books. But I've always loved it, and I have the feeling it instilled in me my love for fiction that's depressing yet somehow just uplifting enough to not be nihilistic. So it distresses me to see one of my favorite childhood books adapted into something so wrong-headed.

What's wrong, you ask? I'll tell you. First of all, the look. Yes, the Truffula Trees are beautiful, but everything in the trailer has the same candy-colored, plastic-coated look. It's hard to feel the loss of the Truffula Trees and Humming-Fish and Swomee-Swans when the world without them is indistinguishable from the world with them.

What's also wrong is the motivation for the lead character. It's not enough for him to wonder how the world got into its drab, dirty state. No, he wants to find a tree so he can impress a girl. Please.

The voice casting is also completely off, particularly for the Lorax himself. I mean no disrespect to Danny DeVito, but he's not the Lorax.

Maybe the trailer is misleading, but I suspect it isn't. I suspect the moviemakers have taken a very simple (some would say simplistic) cautionary tale and turned into into an overstuffed CGI-fest full of slapstick and vulgarity.

I'm not providing a link to the trailer. Seek it out if you must, but it won't get any clicks through me.

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