The location is Thneedville, a town without any trees. A matter of fact all the greenery is blown up décor, from the trees to the shrubs, nothing is real but still the people of the town sing, dance and seem happy. Possibly because they don’t know any better since they are not allowed to venture outside the walls of the town which are controlled and patrolled by Mr. O’Hare (voice of Rob Riggle), the owner of O’Hare Air.
Things take a slight turn in the town of Thneedville though when Ted (voice of Zac Efron) decides to try and win the heart of Audrey (voice of Taylor Swift) by granting her one special wish, a real tree. Under the advice of Grammy Norma (voice of Betty White) she informs Ted to seek out The Once-ler (voice of Ed Helms) for it is he who knows what had happened to all the trees. Ted collects fifteen cents, a nail and the shell of an old snail which he’s told to present to The Once-ler in order to see him. One problem Ted must venture outside the town walls to find him. As he bikes his way outside the town he wonders into a land of nothing, cut down trees, no animals, no sounds, no color, basically nothing that is except for The Once-ler, once young and now old.
When Ted finally gets to chat with The Once-ler he is told of a land that was full of blue skies, running water, fish, cute bears some big, some small, as well and birds that flew through the hundreds of trees that landscaped the hills and valleys as far as the eyes can see. One day though when The Once-ler decided to expand his family business using the tuffs of the trees to create Thneeds he had cut one tree down which summoned the legendary guardian of the forest, the Lorax (voice of Danny Devito). Warned that once his family arrived to the forest in their make-shift home, as they cut down trees and it falls the way that it leans that Ted should be careful of the way he leans too. In other words his greed along with that of Mr. O’Hare will grow the economy to an extent but in the long run would end up killing the environment and all that live in it. Little did they realize that once there are no more trees than there is no more business, let alone life.
Later in the story Ted is handed the last seed to a Trucula tree along with one word “unless”and The Once-ler recommends he bury it in the center of town in Thneedville. As he makes his way back to Thneedville picks up Grammy and Audrey they all make their way to the center of town but not without opposition by O’Hare. If Ted plants this seed he will not only win Audrey’s heart but also destroy O’Hare air and Mr. O’Hare and his men will not let this happen. In a race to the finish line the battle is on to bring the beauty that once was back to the town of Thneedville and the hills and valleys that once were full of Trucula trees, animals and the Lorax. Let it grow, let it grow!
I enjoyed the 3D in this film maybe not as much as some others but it does work especially since it’s an animated story. Nicely directed and written, the message is quite apparent but still not so much that it is in your face or takes away from the humor within the story. Dr. Seuss of course always does a nice job of letting his fans know that in life everyone can make a difference for the better no matter how small or how large. One voice heard can always transport to additional voices that in turn can make a world of change for the better. All the voices do an excellent job of matching the character of the actor to that of the person in the film. Once again my favorite “it” girl and friend Betty White hits another home run as Grammy using her voice to coach a youngster, Ted, to make a difference for the better. Throughout her career Betty has done an excellent job of doing that every day in more ways than one but thanks to her the animals beyond Thneedville get to benefit from her voice on and off screen. A colorful film with a great message and a nice cast of characters will definitely play well with fans of all ages, young and old. Written, enjoyed and appreciated with 3 paws out of four by Jon Patch.