Last week, we at Talkin’ Trash were eagerly awaiting the Lorax to come to a theatre near us. Apparently we weren’t the only ones since it raked in a whopping $71 million in weekend boxoffice bounty. That’s the biggest movie in 2012 so far (yes, it’s just March, but still!). Who knew that the Lorax, a cautionary tale about environmental stewardship, would be so popular? Witness the hordes of families at the Beach cinema this weekend and multiply that effect across North American cinemas. Does this mean that unlike Gordon Gecko’s mantra, green is good?

But what about the movie? It’s a 3D animated creation from the people that brought us Despicable Me, and I’m pleased to say they nailed it. They managed to hit that absolute sweet spot where entertainment and education fly off the charts in unison. People young and old can easily swallow the environmental message because it’s so darn funny, clever, compelling, and most importantly in this digital age of distractions, not boring.

Tweenie-boppers will delight in the voices of Zach Efron and Taylor Swift, while the slightly more seasoned generations will dig into Danny DeVito and Betty White. Who doesn’t love Betty White, the most ubiquitous 90-year old in entertainment history? Plus there’s some fabulous musical numbers embedded in the mix. I dare you to keep your toes from tapping to “How Bad Can I Be?” a rocking tune on biggering. And you may feel compelled to hold up and sway your lighter (or cellphone) to “Let it Grow”.

Kids will undoubtedly love the technicolour truffala trees, humming fish, swamee swans and brown barbaloots in their barbaloot suits. But hopefully they notice an important addition to the film version… showing the difference between sustainable business practices, and greedy-thneedy ones. The Onceler tried harvesting just the tufts of the truffala trees, but found it too labour-intensive and slow. In the interest of business, and business must grow, he starts chopping them down for a quicker, easier, but ultimately finite buck. If only he’d stuck with plan A. 

Now, though 3-D makes things POP, it’s not necessary to see the movie this way. The regular 2-D version will work just as well, or better if you’re taking younger kids to it. If you go to the 3-D version, please-oh-please make sure you drop off the glasses in the theatre’s 3-D glasses recycling bin. They all should have them and if they don’t, ask them why not? We wouldn’t want any unintentional ironies, would we?

The Lorax opened on Dr. Seuss’ birthday (he would have been a spry 108 year old), and I can’t think of a better present for him than to see his creation from 1971 snowball beyond his imagination.

What did you think of it?