FIRST LOOK: “The Lorax”

Someone on the Chinese video site Sina posted this work-in-progress trailer for The Lorax from Illumination Entertainment, whose earlier films were Despicable Me and Hop. Some shots are incomplete and unfinished, but it’s worth a look:

The Lorax, which is slated to open March 2nd, 2012, is directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda. It’s the second Seuss adapation for Illumination founder Chris Meledandri, who previously produced Horton Hears a Who! while running 20th Century Fox Animation. Danny DeVito voices the Lorax, and Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms and Betty White provide additional voices.

UPDATE: Universal Pictures has had the trailer removed from the original host site in China. We look forward to the finished version and will post that when it appears online.


  • Richard Tom

    Screwed that into the ground, didn’t they?

  • Me

    Looks great! lovely animation, very subtle. Can’t wait

  • Was My Face Red

    They certainly captured the essence of Dr what was that guys name again? You know, he wrote that heap of crap with a Mike Myers in a hat?

  • http://www.jinhienlau.com jinnaboy

    I think this looks great, good character design and rendering from what i can see. The tone of the trailer isn’t as abrasive as sumthing say….. the chipmunk films. and from this little glimpse I already feel like I’d want to know the characters more already.

    good job

    • Splinelock

      What character design? All they did was reskin the same crap from despicable me. What happened to the art of animation. its all just a money factory with no substance. Studios like this one think “we can just make it animated and we will make lots of money” Thanks for ruining my childhood yet again hollywood. you suck

      • 2011 Senior Citizen

        They clearly designed as many characters for this film as any other, and had to model them from scratch. Please be familiar with the usual CG pipeline before judging.

      • Eddie T.

        Even if they are modeled from scratch they could have made them look and feel more Seuss-like. look at Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs…they were able to achieve a strong cartoony style.

      • snip2354

        They DO feel Seussian.

        Does anyone realize that the scenes with the Lorax and the Onceler are FLASHBACKS?! AS IN, BEFORE ALL THE TREES WERE CUT DOWN?!?! my Goodness.

  • D

    It doesn’t look half bad from some animation stand-points but this films story seems to have deviated quite significantly from the original Dr. Seuss book The Lorax and its environmental themes.

  • 2011 Senior Citizen

    This video has loading problems on my computer, I’ll see the rest later. I will say that I hate how they need to insert a love story with original characters out of whole cloth, but then, it may just be my hatred for romance movies and there weren’t many characters in the book anyway.

  • http://www.theAMIGOunit.com nelson

    Another grave turn for the legendary Seuss

  • Frank

    The animation is very weak–even for the usual stiff from Asia. The acting seems characterless and by the numbers. I’m pulling for Illumination–but they’re gonna gave to dig a little deeper to fully capitalize on the success of their first (and only) hit to keep the audiences attention.

    • snip2364

      …. the studio who made this is in France. They also animated Despicable Me.

      • Bud

        That French studio usually does good work. I wonder what happened here. Maybe they ARE subcontracting it out.

        In any case, it looks like another run of the mill adaptation, with enough blandness to be inoffensive to anyone who might see it.

    • JimBob

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  • DNAndy

    Predictable jokes out of the wazoo already? I’m tired of anti-humor still making it into children’s movies… nobody laughs at “I think he did it” anymore.

    However, I think it’ll still be a nice film to look at. The character design looks really great.

    • snip2364

      Nobody laughs at those jokes, nope. Oh wait. Except children.

  • Clint H.

    Doesn’t look too bad. It didn’t have me yelling at the trailer, so I guess that’s a good sign.

  • Eddie T.

    Is it really hard for a Dr. Seuss movie to look like a Dr. Seuss movie? The characters look like they stepped out of Astro Boy. The blu-ray of “Horton Hears A Who” has a early animation test that looked closer to the style of the book. it is possible! But we have to settle for characters with beady spider eyes::(

  • Trevor

    Hey thats not cool. Itt’s like posting a video of a magician setting up the stage for his illusion

  • Bruce Wright

    It’s sad to see leaked material.

  • Lev

    This is gross.

  • http://behiboe.blogspot.com Betsy Bauer

    Looks promising! The Indie-vibe music in the trailer kind of throws me off, though. Doesn’t seem to fit the style of humor.

  • http://www.hobsonanimation.com Kevin

    Personally, I prefer the short cartoon special of “The Lorax” from the 70′s. It felt much more closer to what Dr. Seuss intended where this just seems to ruin the meaning of it.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      That’s how I felt too, and that classic special always brought tears to my eyes.

      • Chel Traynor

        Same here!

    • ajnrules

      Feels like they just want to give this story a happy ending, which I feel kind of ruins the emotional impact the story has on its readers. The entire conspiracy aspect that was unveiled in the new trailer just seems excessive.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    It looks and sounds like everything else.
    It’s product.
    It will be competently-animated, nicely packaged, and disposable.

    It sucks all the magic and distinction out of Dr. Seuss -
    as did HORTON and those other movies.

    Again with the padding. What should be twenty minutes at most will be stretched to well over an hour.

    The 1970s LORAX voice was better.

  • Kyle B

    Danny DeVito as the Lorax was surprisingly pretty enjoyable!

    • http://youtube.com/user/drexelboi1991 tedzey

      It’s certainly refreshing! I think the last cartoon character he played was in the 90s’, and that was “Space Jam!”

  • Baron Lego

    Minor point: did anyone else notice that the treeless future which the characters are living in at the beginning of the trailer doesn’t seem all that bleak? It’s as if they didn’t want to completely commit to the environmental message of the original book and downgraded the loss of trees to something more along the lines of a forgotten curiosity with no ecological impact.

    • ShouldBeWorkin’

      Not a minor point, friend.

      • Was My Face Red

        A spot on comment and not minor at all. Because it looks like a lovely place to live they’re betraying why Seuss wrote the story from minute one.

  • Jeff Simonetta

    I don’t understand, where is the hip-hop dance sequence?

  • Nick Nerdlinger

    The humor falls dead flat. Why is it so difficult to find and hire clever comedy writers? These days, I can only think of one who could’ve punched this up… Tina Fey.

    • Matthew Koh

      I don’t know.

      Maybe the clever comedy writers are extinct now?

  • sam

    is it me or characters looks very much like horton hears a who

  • Andy

    The video begins with an auto-starting and extremely loud add as soon as the brew page loads.
    Might want to put the video behind a jump with a warning about it.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      All because China wants to remind us of it’s new rocket launch I’ve seen on CCTV. No doubt they’re going places there.

  • http://bunkerrow.blogspot.com/ Chris Powell

    Im sorry but this made me depressed.

    I still remember watching the first animated “Lorax” special when I was in the Third grade. Im 27 now and I STILL remember the story and how it ended on such an somber, honest emotional note. It was stinkin incredible!

    It looks like they’ve added a bunch of flash, unnecesary characters and ‘modern humor’ to a story that really didnt need it.

    Im not gonna play the ‘Hollywood has ruined my childhood card’ They could never do that. But it does suck to see money and a good story wasted on this. To be fair, I should wait until the film comes out but so far I didnt like what I saw, sadly….

  • KatellaGate

    Looks like Mrs. Dr. Seuss needs to make a house payment.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    Sigh. I have just watched this at work with the sound off. If it weren’t for the article and the titles, I would not know this is The Lorax…until I see the title character, at which I might say, “Hey, he sort of looks like the Lorax.”.

    I know it’s a trailer but I can’t tell what’s going on.

    And just wait for all the wasteful happy meal type
    tie-in toys…maybe that’s why they are distancing themselves from the environmental themes…if they are.

    It’s no wonder all these shitty adaptations showed up AFTER the doctor passed away.

    Thank goodness they still publish the original books….DO THEY?

    Frank Panucci sums it up best.

  • droosan

    Ideally, a studio should option several ‘Dr. Seuss’ books at once, and present them in a FANTASIA-style anthology feature — so that each story can be presented in a time-frame that suits the original material.

    ——-

    And besides a shorter running time,
    The dialogue should ALWAYS rhyme..!

    • http://thatfellowinthecoat.com Stefan

      Yeah, I keep wondering why there hasn’t been an animated film adaptation of Seussical the Musical. Seems like it would be ideal, but since they already adapted Horton Hears a Who, it seems unlikely now.

  • What

    This is so disappointing. The book starts off in a desolate, nearly uninhabitable place covered in pollution. The Once-ler talks about how the land used to be beautiful and green before he and his family cut down all the Truffula trees to make “thneeds.” Then it ends with him giving the boy the last Truffula seed, telling him that if someone can bring back the trees, maybe the land can be restored. The ending is ambiguous, leading young readers to wonder if things really will be okay for those characters.

    The *whole point* of the story was that the environment was fragile enough to be ruined. By setting the movie in a cheerful, bright environment, we don’t see any drawback to the lack of trees. Apparently this society cut them all down but hey, it’s not so bad!

    The Lorax was a very powerful book to me when I was a kid. The idea that this cartoony world was in fact destroyed–and that there was no definite, happy ending–really resonated with me. It got to me because every other book and movie I saw at that point had quick fixes, nobody got seriously hurt, and no damage was permanent. This adaptation goes right back to those “don’t worry! everything’s ok all the time!” cliches that the original book broke away from.

    • snip2354

      The scenes with the Lorax and the Onceler are flashbacks. Therefore, that’s why there are still trees standing in those shots, and why there are no trees standing in shots with Ted in them.

      • What

        Yes, but my point is the human characters don’t live in a horrible, polluted pit. There aren’t any trees, but there’s no smog or nasty water either. The trees are all gone but hey, it’s just a cute little suburb that functions just fine without them! No biggie!

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron B.

    I’m looking forward to it.

    We have to keep in mind that it’s essentially impossible to carve out a 1:1 feature-length script from a children’s book. Content will always added or subtracted to give the story a linear progression and more identifiable characters… and so arguing that this film (or more specifically, this film’s unauthorized release of an incomplete teaser trailer) doesn’t “look like” or spit jokes like a 72-page picture book published forty years ago, doesn’t carry much weight.

    Also, Danny DeVito pretty much is the Lorax. I now fully expect a stage version of this film to feature DeVito.

    • http://www.thehungryreader.com Krepta

      Keeping all that in mind, isn’t the answer to all of those concerns to just not make the movie in the first place? Perhaps instead to make a movie with a linear progression, identifiable characters, and a feature-length script, without overwriting a story that would otherwise be indelible to those who grew up with it? Or is that somehow not cost-effective if you’re not Pixar?

  • 2011 Senior Citizen

    …. okay . What is everyone complaining about? This is well-animated, has beautiful designs, the characters are all modeled from scratch, the trailer doesn’t make me cringe, the story changes are necessary, and still looks and feels like Dr. Seuss! Many people and eons of hours were put into this! You know it’s these times when I actually agree with what people say about Cartoon Brew! Sheesh.

    • DNAndy

      Yeah, it looks nice, and a lot of work is being put into it, as with any animated production. But that’s not the problem people have with it.

      Go look at What’s comment.

  • Pitchy and Scratchy

    Yeah, it’s about this teen and he totally digs this older girl but she wants to see a tree so he chops one down to impress her but this grouchy guy tells him off and by the end he’s protecting trees instead and she likes that so she lets him cop a feel.

  • Keegan

    Another f*cked up Dr. Suess adaptation. What else is new.

  • Toonio

    Although the Lorax character doesn’t translate well between 2D and 3D, I have to praise Illumination for the awesome job.

  • Chel Traynor

    That awkward moment when Wall-E is tonally closer to the original Lorax book than the actual adaptation is.

  • tommy

    I shall refer to this movie as… The Borax.

  • http://wingingitstudios.deviantart.com/ Alissa

    Hey, video’s down. Is there a working link somewhere? Morbid curiosity compels me…

    I loved the Lorax when I was little. The special left a strong message without being really obnoxious like most aesops. I hope this version will stay true to the source.

    Oh who am I kidding, this’ll probably be a trainwreck.

  • Blake

    Jesus Christ, can Brew readers ever stop bitching about anything? I swear this is why you scare most of the younger posters on here like myself away.

    Movie looks fine , it’s not even finished and people are already crying. And is this a joke because someone said this trailer has a ton of bad jokes? This movie already looks better then Horton and it didn’t attempt to overflood the trailer with cliche jokes and over the top pop culture crap you see in every other kids movie.

    And how does it not look like Dr.Suess at all? It’s CG what do you expect? It can’t all look entirely different.

    Not to mention yes the Lorax is a classic book and it’s a very dark and sad one at that with a deep message. But guess what? This is being made for kids , so of course they’re gonna change around stuff within the storyline. Doesn’t mean there can’t be a part of the story where everything becomes ruined from that one tree being chopped down. Jeez.

    • David Cuny

      I think the shots look very impressive, and I like the CGI models. But…

      From what little I saw, I agree with other posters that this seems to greatly miss the point.

      You admit the book is dark and sad with a deep message, but dismiss the changes because its “being made for kids”, which ignores the fact that was the target audience in the first place.

      It’s not about “one tree” that creates a domino effect, but of many warnings that go ignored as business grows and fosters consumerism while ignoring the profound effect on the environment.

      The setup of the story is important. It begins in a dark, dreary future, then jumps back in time to a brighter, better place. There’s a heartbreaking inevitability that way. Changing that storyline seriously diminishes the story.

      And what’s gained in the process? Just as the Lorax notes that no one really needs a “thneed”, does the story really need to be expanded to fit a feature length film? Is the loss of the underlying message worth the additional revenue?

      As others have noted, “The Lorax” offers an uncertain future – there’s no simple fix, or even any surety that a fix is even possible. This adaption looks like it’s selling an entirely different story – one that begins happily and ends happier. If that’s what it takes to make a feature-length adaption, then it should never have been made.

      It’s not fair to dismiss a film based on early, leaked rushes. But I see very little of “The Lorax” here.

  • Eric

    I won’t even see this once-ler.

  • CVG

    I think this looks awesome! I loved the Lorax and from this trailer they are sticking true to the concept while adding/changing a few things. For instance the future in which the boy lives in has adapted to a Silicon Valley kind of world with robot bees saying “buzz” and plastic flowers for lawns (which hinted to me that they are saying our current society probably doesn’t pay any attention to nature so if all the trees were gone would they even care?) Then he actually goes out to look for a tree and I see the guy in the building has green gloves and begins to recall a past when the lorax existed and so did a whole forest and animals… that tall guy with the green gloves who chops a tree down is the old dude telling the story. And yes, the lorax kept warning the guy to stop cutting the trees down and yet was never taken seriously (which is what I saw at the end there too with the door scene haha)…so I don’t get what everyone is griping about this looks like a winner!

  • OtherDan

    Interesting take…I LOVE reading the story of the “Lorax” and it’s depressing to hear them sound differently than what’s in my brain. But, it has a nice feel. It kind of reminded me of “Where the Wild Things Are”-hopefully, it’s more true to the essence of the “Lorax” than that film was to it’s source. Anyway, It looks like it might be good. I just hope the love interest doesn’t detract from the bleakness that the story unveils.

  • Was My Face Red

    So many people on here remember the book from their childhoods because of the power of the ‘dark’ story and the uniqueness of the Seuss graphic vision. They’re what made it a classic. Take those away and you’ve only got Seuss the brand, a sticker you can stick on anything.

  • James Fox

    Not to complain but I don’t see any potential in this film but i HOPE it’s good

    I mean it’s sad enough that they HAD to pick a Seuss book with environmentalist overtones but do the people behind this CGI adaptation really need to:
    1. Try to make us sympathetic to the Once-ler
    2. Add a sub-plot that has nothing to do with the actual book
    and 3. Throw in some young teenage protagonist which no reason but to get a tree just get some whoopie from a high school teenster next door?

    The team behind HOP and Despicable Me needs to wow me in order to get me to see this film other wise, i’ll wait for Despicable Me 2

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    The above video link is dead.

    The trailer has been re-posted here (click the arrow on the player):
    http://www.archive.org/details/PoonerBelchIncorporated

    Direct download links, in various codecs:
    FLV

    MP4

    Get it while it’s hot.

  • Priory

    Congrats to Illumination Entertainment for making another hollow, snarky, Dreamworks Film.

    Add it to the pile!

  • Blake

    David:

    I absolutely agree with you that this movie doesn’t need to have it’s story changed to suit kids , but the fact of the matter is that’s what they did and let’s face it. It’s gonna make money no matter what.

    Just as the machine keeps on turning and kids keep getting their parents to take them to see flicks like this , companies like so will produce stuff for them even if that means ruining people’s childhoods. And this is certainlly on a long list of ruined chilldhood shows or stories or whatever.

    And it sucks , hell Brew should make a whole topic about this concept alone. Surprised I haven’t seen it yet. It wasn’t like I was trying to say “well it’s aimed at kids so completely disregard everything about the Lorax”. I read the book as a kid , watched the animated flick quite a few times.

    I’m just stating what should be a given at this point. And you’re right it sucks and it’s horrible.

    But if I see something that I know or think actually looks like there was effort being made in it , I respect it even if I per-say don’t think it’s right or want to see it for that matter. The trailer didn’t overflood anyone who crappy jokes , music was good , and for the most part the scenary was pretty interesting. I guess that’s just my opinion though huh.

  • Steven M.

    At this point, the video doesn’t work, but from judging the still on the post, It looks to have some promise.

  • greg

    @priory I’m wondering if you’ve already watched the movie ? I don’t think so as well as I wonder how you can say that before having watch it … Hum