Next to The Butter Battle Book, The Lorax is one of Dr. Seuss’ most serious stories, conveying messages about protecting the environment and the irreversible consequences from destroying it. It has also been the inspiration for many stories with the same theme, such as Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, WALL-E, and even Avatar. To commemorate what would’ve been Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday, Universal Studios gives the tale a theatrical release. From the creators of Despicable Me, Illumination Entertainment creates their rendition of The Lorax, with colorful characters, imaginative visuals, and a light-hearted, yet serious premise starring Danny Devito, Zac Efron, and Taylor Swift. As the film begins, the citizens of Thneed-Ville are blissfully unaware of their artificial lives, filled with poor air-quality, plastic trees, and tar-filled highways. There isn’t a patch of grass to be seen anywhere, but fortunately for the inhabitants, they are quite satisfied with it and express as such in song. Their only source of purified oxygen is distributed in cans and barrels by a corporation, proving to be more expensive than air conditioning. In light of this, our hero, Ted Wiggens (Zac Efron) has a crush on his neighbor, Audrey (Taylor Swift). What she wants more than anything in the world is a real tree and she promises to marry him if he can fulfill her desire. With Audrey in mind, Ted dares to exit the city and find the fabled “Once-ler” (Ed Helms) for information. When Ted finds him, the Once-ler tells the truth about what happened to the trees and how the guardian of those trees, the Lorax (Danny Davito) once tried to stop it from happening. When he was much younger, he had a dream of making “Thneeds” from cloth-like trees. Unfortunately, this interferes with the delicate environment and The Lorax, speaking for the trees, desperately tries to show him the error of his ways. This doesn’t stop him from becoming rich and eventually exhausting supply for Thneeds, but he was too late to realize his mistake and continues to live with regret ever since. After explaining his story to Ted, the Once-ler gives the last seed to him, explaining that “unless people care, nothing is ever going to get better.” Meanwhile, Mayor O’Hare (Rob Riggle) discovers Ted’s plan to grow a tree and will stop at nothing from foiling it to continue his evil campaign to smog the skies and sell oxygen at high prices. When I first saw the television special as a child, The Lorax ended unhappily but it spoke a very potent message that if future generations truly cared for the environment, the planet would be left in good hands, thus leaving a glimmer of hope. The film adaptation, on the other hand, focuses more on escapism, where people must rid themselves of an Orwellian society in order to preserve the planet. While the film is faithful to the original story, it takes advantage of this subplot and loses its focus. Despite the animation and overall performance of the cast being solid, the songs are forgettable and some jokes work better than others. Perhaps all the best lines of dialogue have been shown through trailers and commercials. Also, the 3D effects are exciting to look at, but they become distracting and aren’t necessary to move the plot forward. Just like Despicable Me, the movie is feel-good entertainment with only a few moments of seriousness. The Lorax has all the qualities for a great family film, but it’s as if the writers didn’t feel comfortable with conveying all of its intended messages and decided to add unnecessary complications that undermined them. For fans of Dr. Seuss, stick to the book and television special instead.