To me, the best Dr. Seuss film is still 1953’s The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T. A live action family film, the active participation of the children’s book author in writing the original screenplay insured that it would have his unique writing voice throughout the film. More recent adaptations of his books – like the live action How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat In The Hat and the animated Horton Hears A Who – manage to fully replicate the look of his book illustrations but miss the mark on capturing the whimsy of his tales.
The team behind the Horton adaptation are now tackling another Seuss book – The Lorax. In this new animated film, Zac Ephron will be voicing Ted, a boy who goes to find out why the world has become so ugly. On his journey, he meets the titular creature being voiced by Danny DeVito, who explains that someone called the Once-ler (The Daily Show‘s Ed Helms) has cut down an entire forest of trees. Rob Riggle will be providing the voice of a new character, an industrialist named O’Hare who who is in cahoots with the Once-ler.
USA Today provides us with a first look at the Lorax today.
And here’s where the production might already be off the rails – the addition of new elements into a classic story. Now granted, these are children’s books we’re talking about, so it’s not like they have enough story material on their own to flesh out a feature-length film. All previous Dr. Seuss adaptations that have tried this have met with a degree of failure. Now granted, Horton Hears A Who was probably the least of the offenders in this department, so maybe there is hope that The Lorax won’t be a complete muck-up. We’ll find out when the film hits theaters on March 2, 2012.