We had a fantastic time at the West End premiere of The Lorax last week.
The film is based on the Dr Seuss story about a world in which everything is manufactured – including all the plants and trees. And even the air. The original book was published in 1971 and this is a film with a strong message. We destroy our natural world at our peril.
The story starts with 12 year old Ted who is obsessed by a slightly older girl, Audrey, who is in turn obsessed by trees. Audrey wants a real one.
The problem is no-one can even remember seeing a real tree, except for the boy’s grandma who tells him there is only one person who can help him and that is the Once-ler. But the Once-ler ( played by Ed Helms) lives in self-imposed isolation outside the city, where no one ever ventures. And so begins Ted’s quest.
It is of course a dangerous journey. The evil O ‘Hare ( a former employee of the Once-ler who now runs the city by manufacturing the air they rely on and selling it in plastic bottles) is determined to stop him. Nevertheless, having extraordinary skills on his motorized bike, he uses the Cityscape as a kind of half pipe and somersaults his way out of town.
Once he gets out into the “real” world, he finds the house of the Once-ler boarded up and the man himself not keen to talk. Eventually though the Once-ler tells his story and so we see through his eyes how the world looked before all the trees were destroyed leaving a barren wasteland. It turns out the Once-ler – a young man who simply wanted to impress his family by being a success – cut down the forest of Truffula trees to harvest the amazingly soft wool they grew instead of leaves. And it is through the Once-ler that we meet the Lorax .
The Lorax is the guardian of the forest : a strange furry creature, a kind of cross between a monster from Monster Munch and a Womble. He is a comic figure who carries the film’s message. You may be able to buy off the bears and other woodland creatures with bags and bags of marshmallows ( as the Once-ler does) but you are not only driving them from their natural habitat and destroying their environment – you are also destroying your own.
The animation is beautifully done and the film really charming
We loved the film and there were no incidents at the cinema itself – the parents were all very well behaved – no fighting in the queue for the face-painting this time round- and none of my four kids got lost in the extremely busy ” before party” which constitutes a premiere for a kids film ( ie hundreds of kids wanting balloons, face painting, photos with The Lorax and candy floss and being slightly less keen on the lollipops made of melon balls which parents were hoping they might choose over the chocolate muffins!)
I took four children: two five year olds and an eight and nine year old and they all seemed totally captivated by the film. The candy floss and juice before handand the bag of particularly good popcorn obviously helped. But really it was the story and the imagination behind that and the way it was brought to the screen that did it.
Amelie (8) loved the colourful trees and thought the Lorax (Danny de Vito) was hilarious. She gave the film 10 out of 10!! Alexander (5) says : “I liked it when the big bear kept on eating marshmallows and when Mr Old Head ( he misheard Mr O Hare but I think it’s a rather good name) kept singing Let it Die Let it Die” – as Ted attempts to grow a new tree. I won’t give away any more of the plot here. Alexander only gives the film 9 out of 10 though – on the grounds it was a bit silly of them to cut all the trees down – you can’t argue with that can you.
The Lorax is in 3D – subtly done – and thank goodness the cinema supplied the light-weight, cheap 3D glasses, rather than the battery operated ( better) variety that make the bridge of you nose feel as if it might collapse under the weight.
We were in the front row and had no problems with the 3D it enhanced it at the beginning but I soon forgot about it and was simply drawn into the world – which really is 3D at its best!