March 3, 2012

 

Dr. Seuss vs. Lou Dobbs
In defense of “The Lorax”
by Dan Lybarge
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About a week before Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax opened, Fox Business’ commentator Lou Dobbs promised his viewers a story that they wouldn’t hear anywhere else. That might be because what he said wasn’t much of a story.

He warned whoever happened to have their TVs on that night that two animated films, The Secret World of Arrietty and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax were plugging our nation’s tots into Occupy Wall Street dogma.

 

“Hollywood is once again trying to indoctrinate our children,” he warned.

There’s just one problem with that statement. Actually, there are several.

For one thing, both films are international productions. As Dobbs notes in the broadcast, The Secret World of Arrietty is a Japanese film, and the French computer animation house Illumination (the team behind Despicable Me) did The Lorax. The ideologies aren’t necessarily Hollywood’s.

Further, The Borrowers, the British children’s novel upon which The Secret World of Arrietty is based was published in 1952, and Seuss’ book The Lorax debuted in 1971. This is decades before a majority of the Occupiers were born.

While the only ideology in the first film is being nice to three-inch tall people, the latter is intended to deal with the hazards of greed and pollution. Frankly, I don’t find that offensive. Did BP’s need for profits allow them to negligently drill for oil and ruin the Gulf of Mexico so that shrimpers couldn’t make a living? Dobbs seems unmoved by the plight of the people harmed when polluters go unchecked.

I’m not much of an environmentalist myself. I drive a car, but I live in a city that issues warnings about ozone pollution and would like to see a day when people with asthma — like my mother — can breathe here without difficulty.

Because I’ve already reviewed the film for anther media outlet, I didn’t feel like writing a typical review for the new film. Instead, my pal Bill Pryor and I decided to make a video discussing the case, and we decided it should be delivered in Seuss-eque verse. I’m sure he’ll be rolling in his grave after this:

 

On a side note, I should mention there is a 1972 TV cartoon of The Lorax that does a better job of adapting the book. It’s 25 minutes long, and Theodor Seuss Geisel himself wrote the script. This version is readily available on DVD.  I may be a little biased because Kansas City’s own Friz Freleng, the co-creator of Yosemite Sam, produced it.

As for The Lorax itself: (PG) Rating: 3.5.

Dan Lybarger can be contacted at Lybarger@efilmcritic.com.

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