Tree of Strife

Dr. Seuss' Lorax takes on big bad environment haters

Dr. Seuss traditionalists might have a few problems with the new adaptation of The Lorax. For starters, the movie adds an entire romantic subplot between Ted (Zac Efron) and Audrey (Taylor Swift) that might muddle the original message found in Seuss' fable of consumerism and ecological destruction.

Still, there’s plenty to like in Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, a story about the Once-ler (Ed Helms), an enterprising dude who markets a multi-purpose yet purpose-free product made from the leaves of a special tree. Soon, the Once-ler's greed drives him to cut down every tree in sight with his mass-production machines. The Lorax (Danny DeVito), the little furry guardian of the forest, is none too pleased, especially when the nearby town of Thneedville becomes an insulated land of plastic trees and pollution where fresh air has to be shipped in.

Ted's grandma (Betty White) provides the voice of wisdom and conscience, and a delightful array of forest animals serves as the entertaining Greek chorus to the Once-ler's regrettable actions. Not a bad way to learn how to protect the environment and distrust corporations. --Vince Grzegorek