Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why The Lorax Scares Me!

Credit: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment

From the time I was a child, my favorite Dr. Seuss book was The Lorax. There are plenty of reasons why that was and is still the case.

First, the story is fantastic. It hits the point home that being focused on our greed can have an ill effect on ourselves, our family, our friends, and our environment. While the message may not have been so clear to me as a child, when I read the book now, I'm impressed with the moral issues it addresses without being preachy about them.

Another great thing about the book is the characters. The Lorax himself, with his iconic "old-man" mustache, speaks for the trees and loves the place where he lives. As I read the tale as a child and now as an adult, I can always hear the deep, rough voice of The Lorax. I don't know who designated him the spokesman for the trees, but try as he might, the Once-ler, whose face we never see, ignores all the Lorax's gripes. To the Once-ler, the havoc wreaked on the Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee Swans, Humming Fish, and Truffula Trees, is just a result of growing a business.

Finally, the version of the book I have owned since I was a child, and pictured below, was large and colorful. Today, it's falling apart, but I still can read it to my children. And gladly, I get to read it to my son's entire second grade class this Friday!

[caption id="attachment_2352" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="An oldie but a goodie."][/caption]

So what scares me about The Lorax?

Nothing in the book, that's for sure. Rather, the movie trailer has me worried that everything I love about the book will be lost in the movie.

The first time I heard The Lorax speak, I immediately worried that I would no longer remember the old, rough voice I imagined in my head. I thought, "Will Danny DeVito forever be etched in my mind when I read this book to myself or my children?" Don't get me wrong, I like Danny DeVito, but I just don't think his higher pitched, young sounding voice works. (But I do give bonus points to how similar Danny DeVito looks to The Lorax, except the mustache part, of course.)

I read online that the movie will also show the face of the Once-ler. And the trailer confirms it as it shows the Once-ler before he was cooped up and hidden in his tall tower of a home. What? Noooo!!! The Once-ler depicted the greedy man who learned too late the error of his ways. The Once-ler could be any one of us in any given situation, and that's what made the character so great. Slap a face on him, and the impact will be lost.

Then the Brown Barb-a-loots began to talk. And of course, along with other dialogue in the trailer, everything had a comedic tone, directly opposite of the sullen, melancholy tone of the book. Sure, there are moments of bright cheeriness in the book, before the Once-ler ruined it all, but overall the previews I've seen seem to cater to a mainstream audience that wants to walk away with a smile rather than hear a moral lesson.

But you know what they got right, at least as far as I can tell right now? The Truffula Trees. Oh, I've never seen trees such as these. And to see them sway with their great big tufts, makes me all warm and cozy ... yeah, I think I'll like this stuff.

The animation captures the "Dr. Seuss" feel perfectly. It literally looks like the book has come to life! I give huge props to the animation team for the movie. In this regard, the movie looks to do the book justice.

For what it's worth, I plan on seeing The Lorax. I hope my fears of the movie forever changing the way I view the book are just my thoughts getting the best of me. In the end, I hope The Lorax hoists himself into the sky by the seat of his pants, leaving behind the word "UNLESS". And finally, I hope that Once-ler, even if he shows his face, redeems his greedy quality by tossing the last Truffula Tree seed to a little boy who has the potential to bring back all the Truffula Trees and with them, the Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee Swans, Humming Fish, and maybe, just maybe, The Lorax.


B.C. Young is the author of many science fiction eBooks available on the Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other eReader devices. He also writes under the pen name Desmond Shepherd. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading,  and watching movies.

He hopes The Lorax movie will be just as good as the book. Although, he knows it is impossible for the movie to be better.