LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: Universal Pictures’ “The Lorax” misses the environmental mark.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax has been made into a motion picture, set to enter theatres this Friday, March 2. Being an all-time fan of this book, and loving the environmental messages that come from this cute and heartwarming story, I must say that my expectations were high. However, after a short investigation of the marketing and the adaptation of this book, I find myself quite heartbroken.
Skepticisms arose after the first movie trailer was released. Take a look for yourself -you’ll notice that the environmental vibe that embodies the books is not evident in the preview.
This proved to be concerning for me, as I really wanted the movie to shine. As a friend told me, “You can’t judge a book based on its cover. Who knows? Maybe this movie will turn out to be environmentally responsible after all.”
Unfortunately, my friend was wrong for a few reasons. First of all, Universal Pictures has partnered with Mazda to promote its newest SUV. Although this SUV claims to be more fuel-efficient, any environmentalist knows that this is a simple case of green-washing. To care about the environment, like how Dr. Seuss’ book prescribes, it’s about protecting the planet – not about buying an SUV that might save you a little more money.
Additionally, there’s now a Lorax-brand of disposable diapers. These products are known to be highly wasteful (composing 2% of current landfills) and don’t exactly speak to a green environment.
Finally, early movie reviews have shown that the movie doesn’t stay true to its environmental roots. In the book, the main action surrounds the fact that Truffula trees are being cut down at alarming rates, until they’re all gone. This movie opens with all the trees wiped out – and instead of a gloomy setting, the landscape looks more fun and cheerful. Our main hero also doesn’t try to bring Truffula trees back for a sense of ecological responsibility – he does so to impress the girl.
With all of these in consideration, I’m left with great distaste for this film. Children grew up on his books, understanding the concepts behind being a good steward to our planet. With television and movies becoming a more prominent part of our society, this movie will have a great impact on this upcoming generation, misunderstanding the true meaning behind this book.
If you’ve got a young one, I highly encourage that you read the original book to them. Let them know the true meaning behind caring for this Earth.
Since posting this article, I've gotten much feedback on this movie, with some friends writing to me about how Universal did a fair portrayal of the book. Hence, I had to go see this movie for myself, and not go based off of reviews. I must say that all of the commentary in this article still stands, although I think the movie was quite light-hearted and full of fun moments. It was not as degrading to the book as I had intended, but I think the spin on this story left a different taste. I feel like it might have left children wanting Truffula trees, instead of teaching them about responsible consumerism like the book did. With such, I feel that I will be sticking with the book from now on, and would suggest to friends and family to do so as well.