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Dr. Seuss's The Lorax: an Animated Film with a Serious Message

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Universal Pictures

Thneed-Ville isn’t so different from where we live, except that the bushes are inflatable and the air and water are bottled.

The place is so vacuum-sealed for faux freshness that when a kid like Ted (Zac Efron) wants to find a real, live tree for crush Audrey (Taylor Swift), he has to take a circuitous route out of town to find the Once-ler (Ed Helms), a man who knows what became of the trees.

Cue the familiar tale of the Once-ler felling the trees to fuel his business, breaking the heart of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), the keeper of the forest.

It’s a sad account, but the movie tells it with such Seussian visual panache, jaunty songs and humor (Betty White is fun as Ted’s grandma/coconspirator) that the heaviness sneaks up on you.

But as this is one of the Doc’s more political stories (it could even be called anti-capitalist), you may want to talk to kids about the issues it raises. After all, the Lorax speaks for the trees, but he may not necessarily speak for you.