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"The Lorax" and the Once-ler Fandom

The time has come, my little friends, to talk of FANDOMS of things
Of books and movie adaptations, of all the Once-lerings
And why think that the Beanpole is hot
And whether Loraxes have wings

Alright, so I’m going to talk a bit about The Lorax.
I am an avid fan of the book, or ANYTHING by Dr. Seuss for that matter. I grew up with the books and got to read them to my little brother who is ten years younger than I am. I did the head-canon voices of the characters, mimicked the voices of the characters from the TV specials I had seen, and overall my family is a Seuss family. It’s why I love to Rhyme.

I will say that I did see the Jim Carey How the Grinch Stole Christmas and I was underwhelmed. I REFUSED to see the Mike Myers Cat in the Hat, but I DID go see Horton Hears a Who from Blue Sky Studios, and while it was silly, it was beautiful, hilarious, and visually recreated the world of Dr. Seuss perfectly with the Horton representation of Who-ville. The characters (save for Seth Rogan’s odd Morton character, seriously, what was up with that?) all looked like Seuss creations. It was wonderful.

So obviously, with how much I enjoyed Horton, I was excited for the release of the Lorax, though I was sad that Illumination Entertainment was handling the project versus Blue Sky. Despicable Me was only so-so for me, though I know some of my friends adore it. I did not pay to see either film, I’ll say that much.

Now, on to the meat. THE LORAX…as a movie.

Anyone reading this most likely knows the plot of the book. Boy shows up at a creepy guy’s house in the middle of a wasteland, the guy tells the story about how he’s responsible for destroying what was once beautiful, a talking chicken nugget with a moustache can fly, and the guy gives the kid a seed to plant, the last tree. That’s the book.

The MOVIE however decided to take an EXTREMELY DIFFERENT APPROACH.
The verdict of the movie? The movie is…..entertaining. That’s the best word for it. It is really stupid, butchers the book, and really just fails to deliver ANY kind of message that could have been there. Advertising for the movie helped destroy the message as well.

"I am the Lorax. I speak for the sponsors"

But one of the BIGGEST flaws of the movie is that the story focuses the majority of its time on THIS little fucker.

Yes, in my opinion, Ted is what RUINS the movie. Why? Why SHOULD he, really? In the book, the boy who listens to the Once-ler’s story is a placeholder image for US. WE are the ones who are supposed to take away a message and the hope for a better future, and the boy is just the visual representation of the reader.

But in the movie? No, this boy, Ted, goes to the Once-ler, and does EVERYTHING IN THIS MOVIE….completely based around his ONE SINGLE GOAL of GETTING. LAID.

That’s it. From beginning of the movie, to the end, this boy enters the wasteland, runs around on his scooter, defying martial law, lies to his mother, defies a dictator, and plants a seed, ALL BECAUSE THE GIRL HE WANTS TO FUCK LIKES TREES. Ted DOES NOT change as a character, at all.

Ted: “Oh man, this girl, WHOM I CONTINOUSLY THROW THINGS INTO HER YARD SO SHE’LL LOOK AT ME, likes trees. I’ll get her a tree, and she’ll fuck me”

Ted: “Ho ho, man, a STORY? With a MORAL? Nah man, I’m here for the tree. Because like a tree, I’m hard. For this chick. Help a brother out. What? You want to pause the story cuz yer TIRED? Fuck, well, okay, if I listen to your schlock ANOTHER day, and chalk it up that I like trees, you’ll gimmie that tree. Then I can plan mah OWN seed, bow chicka bow mow”

Ted: “I’MMA PLANT THIS NOW. KAY? KAY. WOOP, look at that. Got the kiss. I guess good things DO come to those who wait, HUH? Bow chicka bow mow”

There is no indication at any point that Ted TRULY cares about what had happened in the past. Sure, he ACKNOWLEDGES it, but he entire REASON for doing this in the first place is because of a girl. He has no personal investment in trees, the Once-ler, or the whole story. And when he DOES turn the city on its ear and reveals the true nature of the polluted world around them, and plants the seed? He STILL gets a kiss. The girl gives him the most HORNY look and kisses his cheek. The ENTIRE point of the Once-ler’s story is lost because this kid can’t stop thinking about this girl.

The OTHER added cast members outside of Ted and Audrey (who has almost no point in the movie and appears very little. Can you say PLOT DEVICE?), are actually enjoyable. Granny Norma (played beautifully by Betty White) is a riot, Ted’s Mother (the beautiful Jenny Slate) is also good for some laughs, and even though he is a generic recycled villain, O’ Hare (Rob Riggle) at least serves as an outlet of what happened to humanity after the destruction of the valley.

Though, on the topic of O’ Hare and his utopian Thneedville, I must bring up the LOOK of the movie. Whereas Blue Sky Studios really tried to nail the look of the buildings and characters in Dr. Seuss’ art style, Illumination Entertainment really dropped the ball in that department. Don’t get me wrong, the movie looks GORGEOUS some times, but nothing really POPS OUT as a Seuss creation in this film, save for the Once-ler’s home. Thneedville is a contained suburbia for humans, and not Whos, and I understand that, but I just feel that they deviated too far from the source material when designing the world. It’s far more mechanical and set in the REAL. I guess I would have just liked to have seen more of this:

The music is alright. I enjoy gospel, and they really went for that for a lot of the movie, and obviously “How Bad Can I Be?” is catchy, but I think my favorite song was one they didn’t use, “This is the Place”. Why did that song not make it into the movie? It /NAMED/ the animals. The Swammi Swans, the Humming Fish, the Barbaloots? They are completely unnamed in the theatrical version of the film. Any child who had not read the book and saw the movie would just refer to them as bears, birds, fish. There’s no point to denying them their labels. It is a good example of the other big flaw with the film: It didn’t do enough.

And on that note, we talk about The Once-ler.

Ladies, you may return to reading this blog now.

Out of all the things that this movie did wrong, the Once-ler is what they got RIGHT. Which is why I am NOT against the Once-ler fandom.
The classic Once-ler is this: A pair of green arms. Which the movie animates SO well.

If you’re GOING to tell the story of the Lorax, obviously you’d need to humanize the enigmatic pair of arms, and they did. They gave him a backstory, a bright eyed handyman who had a dream, and whose family completely naysayed his ideas. That’s good! The movie spends about a third of it’s time focused on the Once-ler, and there in lies the issue. The book IS the story of the Once-ler, and his constant biggering and biggering. The movie? Go back and watch, I want you to COUNT how many lines the Lorax has in total. It’s not a lot!
The Lorax film GLAZES over the Lorax himself.

"How Bad Can I Be" is the entire Lorax book in one song. Then we have the scene where the Once-ler, now a different man (as the fans call him, the Greed-ler), argues a small case as the last tree falls, and he’s left in ruin quite quickly. However, the impact of him becomming this captain of industry, the impact of all the animals being sent away, it’s LOST because so little of the movie is devoted to the biggering, which is the ESSENCE of the book. The Once-ler in this film had the wonderlust, he BELIEVED in the idea of his Thneed, and he worked hard to impress his family, and himself, in it’s creation and selling. He befriends the animals, and the Lorax, and the Lorax even supports the Once-ler’s ambitions (as long as he didn’t cut down trees). Seeing the character fall to ruin and greed would have been INCREDIBLE, but the movie passed it, LIKE A SMALL FART.

Which is why, dear readers, I love the Once-ler fandom.

No no, let me explain.

While there ARE aspects of the Once-ler fandom that ARE just…I mean…do I have to say it? The porn, the self-cest porn, the Lorax x Once-ler porn, the PORN, OKAY? I’M TRYING TO MAKE THE POINT THAT THE PORN IS KIND OF WEIRD AND GIVES THE FANDOM ITS REPUTATION.

The BEAUTIFUL part of this fandom, however, is the depth to which they’ve attempted to expand the movie’s lore. These people add to the film, add to the story of the Once-ler and the Lorax, and they build up a story that WOULD BE BETTER than the film. They help to recreate the morals of the book, they take aspects of the written Once-ler and apply it to the animated Once-ler.

The 1972 Once-ler followed much closer to the book than this film. He was the arms, legs, and cigar of the original character, and he made SENSE. He was fueled by greed, although he felt remorse. He knew what he was doing was wrong, and at times he hesitated, but ultimately he continued BECAUSE he was progressing. He even posed the question of what would happen to the people, the employed families, if he were to shut down the factory. And the Lorax UNDERSTOOD his side of the argument, but could give no answer. That is PERFECT, and the fans understand that. (Also, I should note that the 1972 Lorax is tossed around FAR more often, and takes an active role in attempting to look out for the animals. He’s MUCH MORE an active guardian than the sassy Lorax of this movie).

The fandom has mixed the Once-ler of both worlds, 1972 and today. Adding that sense of greed with the backstory of the current Once-ler, it makes the character FAR more tragic than the animated version did by itself. Yes, his mother accepted him for only his money and success, and he lost his friends, the animals, as a result, but to know how innocent the character started out as, to see the GRADUAL decline of the forest instead of a happy song with him thrusting constantly, the impact is far greater.

As well, the theoretical stories and plot lines that the fandom has created, such as Granny Norma being the Once-ler’s past lover, are interesting as well. Why DOES she know about the Once-ler, while everyone else in the Thneedville, O’ Hare included, seem to be oblivious to his existence outside of town. I don’t mind those additions, because again, it adds incredible depth to the character, and the story as well.

The reason I enjoy most of the Once-ler fandom is because they improve upon the movie, and they keep my interest in the story. The book is perfect, and the fans truly do a lot of the book justice with some of the things they create. And the ART, oh don’t get me started. Some of you Oncesluts out there are INCREDIBLE artists and I am freaking BLOWN AWAY. I truly appreciate a majority of what you all create.

So I say, with the proudest of smiles, I am a FAN of the Once-ler, a fan of the fandom, and I do not in the least mind seeing a wave of Oncey on my dashboard. Because, when considering how the movie fell flat on its face, I guess that in terms of the Lorax as a movie, the saying holds true.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot
Nothing is going to get better, it’s not!”

Though, in closing, I guess I could say that maybe…JUST MAYBE….we could have a little less selfcest of dicks touching, kthnx.

Thank you for reading my trivial ass drippings.

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    *claps* Bravo my man. Bravo
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