It’s been awhile since we reviewed a animated film, and this one seems right at home in Musings stash. It is a tale told to us from decades ago, but still holds true even today. Let’s take a look at what happened to the colourful town of Thneedville.
While this town seems happy and bright, it holds a dark secret. This story is how one boy, Ted (Zac Efron) learns that the girls of his dreams, the artistic Audrey (Taylor Swift) wants to see a real tree. All the trees in Thneedville are plastic, as is just about everything else. Thneedville is about the most fake town ever. Even the air needs to be bought, and it is supplied by O’Hare (Rob Riggle) Air.
One night, as Ted is having dinner with his mother (Jenny Slate) and his Grammy Norma (Betty White), and asks about the missing trees. Grammy seems like a dotty old biddie, but she is wise and has just enough treachery in her mind to help her grandson find out what he needs to know. She makes a diversion to get Ted’s mom away from the table, and tells him that he has to go outside of town and find the Once-ler (Ed Helms). Ted’s short journey past the town walls is a tricky and dangerous one, but he gets out to a big grey field of stumps, and finds a lone house there. This place belongs to the Once-ler, a formerly very successful businessman, but his business died when this forest did.
After a few treks out of town, Ted finally convinces to Once-ler to tell his story of the forest, and that is where the story really begins. This place was once a very lush forest and stream, populated by birds, fish, and bears, and the ground was covered by truffula trees. These trees were colourful and abundant, and their fronds where as soft as down. The Once-ler was an inventor, and he created a fashion item called a “thneed”. It was a versatile scarf-hat-sweater thing, similar to those convertible tube dresses, but this was something anyone could wear. He just needed the right fabric to make it from. Soon he is out on the hunt for resources, when he comes to the forest of truffula trees. This fronds are of the perfect softness to make his thneeds from. The family he had left behinds said he would amount to nothing, but now he has the ammo to prove them wrong, and he plans to do so responsibly, especially after making a promise to the Lorax (Danny Devito), a forest spirit that he would not cut down the trees after he received a lecture from the Lorax for just chopping one down.
So, now he gathers the fronds of the trees by hand, and the thneeds are in big demand. He calls in his greedy family to help in the harvesting, and soon they get stars in their eyes and go all Randian, and tell the Once-ler that he needs to make his thneeds faster, and the most efficient way to do this is to break his promise and chop down the truffula trees. Before he knows hit, he has taken down the whole of the forest, and his business venture is at an end. The forest is depleted, and the animals must move on to find a new home.
It is up to Ted to bring the trees back to the forest and Thneedville, but to do that, he has to get past O’Hare and his goons, and convince Audrey to help him. If this seems like a green piece, it is because that is exactly what it is. Theodore Geisel had this vision back in 1960s when he penned this great children’s book, and it is listed among the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” by the National Education Association. Aside from the many upbeat songs in this movie, it is about a serious subject, and sends the message in a fun and entertaining way. It is great to see these old Seuss stories getting a new look at computer animated movies. I think he would be very proud to see them.
I give this film a Musing review of