When I heard that there would be a movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, my inner 10 year-old clapped and squealed.
One would be hard pressed to find a Dr. Seuss’ tale that I didn’t love as a child, from Go, Dog, Go all the way to the Butter Battle Book. But it was the Lorax, with his crystal clear message of environmental stewardship, that spoke to my heart, and forever changed the way I viewed the world and its natural resources.
But then my several-decades-older self started to see commercials for Universal Pictures’ Lorax movie, and my glee quickly turned to disgust.
It seems that as soon as Hollywood got a hold of the Lorax, he suddenly changed his worldview. Rather than recreate the fantastic-yet-somber tale of the Lorax’ fight to save the Truffula trees, Hollywood has made a mockery of his message. The movie’s trailer shows a dumbed-down cartoon, complete with slapstick comedy and a sappy love story, and none of the book’s original emphasis on caring for the planet.
And then, just when I couldn’t be any more disappointed, I saw this:
Yes, my friends, that’s an actual commercial in which the Lorax endorses the new Mazda CX-5 SUV as the only car with the “Truffula Seal of Approval.” And it gets worse. Other corporations have joined in the blasphemy, kidnapping the Lorax and using him to promote everything from diapers to pancakes.
Is nothing sacred? Is Hollywood no longer content to pollute our minds with the pandering plot lines we see everyday at the box office? Must they now destroy our favorite books and authors retroactively as well?
It is both cynical and hypocritical to use a beloved children’s story with a prescient environmental message to sell children and their parents more crap that they (and the planet) don’t need. The real Lorax would tell us all to stop our wanton consumption of the Earth’s resources before it’s too late. He would beg us to think of our children’s grandchildren, and the type of world our actions will force them to inherit. And most of all, he would never insult the wisdom and innocence of a child by sugar coating his plea with dumb songs, or confusing it with an SUV commercial.
“Who cares?” you might ask. “It’s just a movie.” A quick read of the original book provides the best and only answer to that question.
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Image taken from YouTube clip above