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The Lorax

The Lorax (also known as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax) is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. The second screen adaptation of Dr. Seuss' children's book of the same name following the 1972 animated television special, the film was directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Kyle Balda (in his feature directorial debut), and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, with Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul, and Seuss' widow Audrey Geisel serving as executive producers. Paul and Daurio also wrote the film’s screenplay. The film stars the voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, and Betty White. It builds on the book by expanding the story of the Lorax and Ted, the previously unnamed boy who visits the Once-ler.


A 12-year-old boy named Ted Wiggins lives in Thneedville, a walled city where all vegetation and plant life is artificial. Ted has a crush on a girl named Audrey and decides to impress her with a "real tree". His grandmother Norma tells him the legend of the Once-ler, who knows what happened to the trees. Leaving Thneedville in search of the Once-ler, Ted discovers that the outside world is a barren, contaminated wasteland. He finds the elderly Once-ler. After an argument, the Once-ler agrees to tell Ted the story of the trees over multiple visits. The next time he leaves home, Ted encounters Thneedville's greedy mayor, Aloysius O'Hare, whose company sells bottled oxygen to the polluted city. Explaining that trees and the oxygen they produce freely pose a threat to his business, O'Hare pressures Ted to stay in town, but Ted continues to visit the Once-ler.

The Once-ler recounts how, as a young inventor, he arrived in a lush forest of animals and Truffula trees. Cutting down a tree, he was confronted by the Lorax, the guardian of the forest who "speaks for the trees". After attempting to force the Once-ler out, the Lorax convinced him not to cut down any more trees. Using the Truffula fibers, the Once-ler created the "Thneed", a knitted article with multiple uses, which became a major success. He harvested the Truffula tufts in a sustainable manner, until his unscrupulous relatives persuaded him to resume chopping down trees to speed up production, leading to enormous profits, but also deforestation and pollution. After harvesting the last Truffula tree, the Once-ler was ruined, abandoned by his family, and became a recluse. The Once-ler was left heartbroken and unbearably guilty for destroying the forest. With the region uninhabitable, the Lorax sent the animals away to find a new place to live, and vanished into the sky. The Lorax left a single word on a small pile of rocks: "Unless".

The Once-ler gives Ted the last Truffula seed in the hopes he can regrow the forest and make others care about trees. Ted returns home to plant the seed, but is spotted by O'Hare's city-wide surveillance. Enlisting the help of Audrey and his family, Ted is pursued by O'Hare to the center of town. O'Hare rallies the citizens against Ted, telling them that trees are dangerous and filthy. The townsfolk approach Ted, but he, Audrey, and Norma use an earthmover to knock down a section of the city wall, revealing the environmental desolation outside. Inspired by Ted's conviction, the crowd later turns on O'Hare, whose henchmen strap a jetpack-like helmet to him, causing him to fly away in defeat, and the seed is finally planted.

As time passes, the land begins to recover. New trees sprout, animals return, and the Once-ler reunites with the Lorax. The film ends with a quote from Dr. Seuss: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."