The Lorax: Good Movie with a Dubious Message

I did not see “The Lorax,” the adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s famous book opening today. I did, however, discuss it with John Hanlon on our Red State Movie Mafia podcast.

The story follows Ted (voice of Zac Efron) as he tries to impress Audrey (voice of Taylor Swift) by finding the elusive creature called the Lorax (voice of Danny DeVito). The Lorax is a bit cranky because all his trees have been taken.

John said the movie was good in its creation, funny and well-made, enjoyable. However, he cautioned that it carries a strong environmental message that becomes downright anti-business. It’s as if there’s no middle ground, he said, between liking trees and businesses wanting all trees to be destroyed. It sets up a false choice. Parents should be aware that the movie carries this message.

Ladies and gentlemen, The Lorax.

The Lorax is rated PG-13 for mild language.

About Rebecca Cusey

Rebecca is a lead critic and editor of entertainment at Patheos. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey

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  • LibraryWitch

    Did anyone mentioned in this article bother to read the book? Dr. Suess sends a very clear message on what can happen if we forget the words of Chief Seattle ” “The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy

      I think the “man belongs to the earth” part is not what most people believe theologically, or otherwise.

    • Sean

      Well, that’s a very pretty sentiment but I am not sure how useful it is. If we are indeed all interconnected and belong not to ourselves or to God, but instead belong to the Earth, do we have any standing to make any changes to our environment? Are we not just the equal of all in creation, no better or worse than any other creature around us? If that is your reasoning and it does seem to be the reasoning of this movie, then how can we justify the fighting of disease? If that is your philosophic starting point, then can the eradication of Small Pox truly be justified? After all, if it is part of creation as well and we are all equal in belonging to the Earth, shouldn’t we allow it to have its way with us? I doubt that you truly believe that, and by the way I doubt the creators of this movie believe that, but that is the logical outcome of what they are advocating.

      In Antony Esolen’s fine book on Western Civilization he states that men will worship anything large which fills their gaze, be it nature or the state. I think what we are really witnessing is the birth of a new religion, or maybe the rebirth of an old. As Christianity recedes from being the core of Western Civ, men are searching for something to fill it and these films are merely the means by which the new gospel is being spread.

      As for me, I am more inclined towards the Biblical view of man’s relation to creation. In that view, man does not belong to the Earth, but is responsible for it, should act as its steward, and should always seek to do good.

      • Arianna

        The idea is not that it is unjustified to eradicate small pox but that we must be very careful with how we deal with the environment because we are interconnected with it. There have been other organisms that eradicated other organisms for their own protection before us. That is a natural part of the interconnected system. But there have also been organisms that eradicated another organism and thus ended up eradicating themselves because they actually disrupted something important to their own survival. The point is not that we shouldn’t try to survive. It is that we have to think carefully before disrupting the environment in which we live. That we are equal to other parts of the environment is to say that we have no immunity against the consequences of what we do, any more than any other animal. And that we can not say to ourselves, “Well, we own the earth, so why shouldn’t we do as we please.” There is a difference between just taking whatever you want and taking what you need. I think every intelligent person can grasp the difference. I’m not even a vegetarian. I find that we are meant to eat meat but that does not mean I think we should shut all other animals into cages and do away with all those that are not going to be my food. It does not mean that I’ll condone practices that are needlessly cruel or unhealthy for the environment where I live.

        Anyone who is looking for a solid environmental message in a children’s book should look at the Lorax. It is a good one and business owners should read it too. Business is not good or bad any more than fire is, but like fire it has to be tended wisely.

  • Krissy

    WHY do so many Christians think that a strong environmental message is something we should be cautioned about? “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it AND TAKE CARE OF IT.” (Genesis 2:15) Seriously, people. Being Christian should and must mean that we work hard to care for the Earth God gave us and that we embrace a strong environmental message. Free enterprise is great, but we never endorse letting that go to the extreme that we allow businesses to destroy the earth. Nowhere in the Bible is there anything about the “sanctity” of free enterprise.


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