Tasha Robinson isn't a fan of the film:
In Seuss’ book, the Lorax has a frustrated pathos, and the story focuses on his pleas on nature’s behalf as it’s destroyed around him; here, he’s a neutered punchline in a series of height gags. The film’s design is beautiful, from the softer-than-silk truffula trees to Ted’s gaudy plastic hometown. The handful of songs are catchy, and the whole film feels pleasantly airy. But this is a dark story with a heavy message, and it’s been transformed into a harmless, pretty confection.
The fact is, it's hard to stretch a Dr. Seuss book into an hour and 45 minute movie, which I'm guessing is why Dr. Seuss never consented to it when alive. And you know what else I'm pretty damn sure he never would consented to? Whoring his tale of environmental woe and consumerism run amok, to sell a fucking car.
Seuss, who drew more than 400 political cartoons for the leftwing newspaper PM in his lifetime, was sometimes overtly political in his texts—leaving filmmakers to determine just how political their Seuss-based films can afford to be. The first challenge came with the semi-political Horton Hears a Who! (which Seuss biographer Philip Nel calls a "parable" intended to teach children "that everyone needs to get involved for democracy to work") was routinely co-opted by political organizations, to its author's frustration; when its most famous line- "a person's a person, no matter how small"—was printed on the stationery of a pro-life group, Geisel himself threatened to sue if it wasn't removed.
Maria Popova honored the beloved author's birthday yesterday by highlighting his forgotten book of nudes.