Starring: Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Chris Renaud, and more.
Directed by: Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda Screenplay by: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul Based on the book by: Dr. Seuss Original Music by: John Powell.
Premise: A young boy, in trying to impress his cute neighbor, goes out beyond the city's safety walls to find out how to get a real tree from a man who lives in the wastelands. (Rated PG)
1) Acting - Thumbs Up - Good job from everyone. Their skills were complimented nicely by the superb animation and gave added emotional depth. Kudos too for doing the musical numbers. Two little girls from the audience were singing the chorus of the last song during the credits, so they obviously pleased - too cute!
As tends to be the case in these types of films, it's the cute side characters that steal the show. The fish, birds, and bears were a hoot. What I found totally amusing was that the voices of the forest animals were all done by one of the directors - Chris Renaud. lol. (Perhaps Dan Povenmire and Jeff 'Swampy' Marsh, the creators and directors for Phineas and Ferb, have started a trend?)
2) Artwork/Animation - Thumbs Up - There's a super cute beginning before the actual film for Despicable Me 2 (yay!), so you can look forward to that. For the film itself, the animation was wonderful. Truly makes Dr Seuss' world come to life - especially the forest scenes with the fish and birds done in trademark Dr Seuss style.
Top quality work as we saw with their previous film Dispecable Me. Their renderings of texture were very well done. The Truffula trees really did look like their sprigs would feel softer than silk. (I'd like a few of those in my yard, please!)
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up - This is a younger kids film (though there are plenty of in-jokes and deeper subjects to keep adults and teenagers entertained as well) and it might hurt the popularity of it with that specific age group a little as this is a story inside a story and might prove a little confusing. However, with the added songs and animals as well as the convoluted set up of the city, kids of all ages should have plenty to see to keep them well entertained.
Some of the subjects covered are deep. When the first tree is cut and the Lorax appears to chastice Once-ler, I heard a little boy in the audience actually say to his Mom, "but it was only one tree." And I have to say rather than take a heavy handed push at that point of the film, the scriptwriters showed restraint and actually had the parties try to coexist after a few hiccups. (They even actually showed that even the 'green' side could take steps which carried things too far.) It's later when the baser natures and peer pressure come in that things go actually wrong. So definitely some deep mental fodder here.
Jabs are taken at all sorts of people, the most poignant, I think, being the ones at the general public - how we live for the sake of convenience and trends and can be swayed by the softest breeze. Like I said before, some deep stuff in here.
What I truly enjoyed about the story was how Ted's motivation as to why he was trying to find a tree changes over time. Unlike Once-ler, when he was tested, Ted's feelings move from selfish motivation to actually considering what might benefit others around him as well.
Conclusion: Nice film for the whole family. Should be fun for the younger kids, and for the older ones and the adults, there are deeper subjects to ponder on and in-jokes. (My husband would go gah-gah over one of Ted's family's plastic trees - the one with the Disco setting. lol)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Sorry, no hubby rating this week.)