If Southern California’s unusual rainstorm has you feeling blue this weekend, go see The Lorax in theaters. This is a wonderful flick for the whole family to go see because the underlying environmental message will attract adults, while the bright colors and cuddly characters will thrill kids of all ages.
My little sisters who had already seen the movie were sweet enough to go with me and Goose to see it again. I absolutely loved the movie because it brought me from laughing audibly to reaching the verge of tears all within its 95-minute duration. I’m embarrassed to say that I may have enjoyed the movie more than either of my little sisters, but its message of environmentalism stuck especially close to home with me.
Many moralistic children’s movies, like Happy Feet, overcomplicate the story so that young children loose sight of the moral of the film, but Universal sticks to Dr. Seuss’s simple plot without making it too complex for young viewers. Although the adorable creatures and vivid colors may distract people, there is no confusing in the movie’s ecological message. The movie clearly teaches viewers about the dangers of overconsumption, and need for everyone to work towards protecting nature. As the Once-ler tells Ted in regards to the state of nature and the planet’s wellness, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”
For the movie adaptation, the writers added some new characters and built up the setting of the book, but overall it is a very accurate retelling of Dr. Seuss’s beloved book. The story focuses on Ted’s journey beyond the commercialized town of Thneedville to learn from the Once-ler how to get a real tree to impress his crush, Audrey.
Emma watering our freshly planted herbs
After seeing the movie, instead of going to eat some of the sugar-packed breakfast items from the Lorax-themed menu at I-Hop, head to a local nursery to get seeds or baby plants to grow your own garden. When the rain clears up get your kids, nieces/nephews, or friends involved in planting a garden of beautiful flower or delicious vegetables and herbs in the freshly-watered soil. In just a few months you will see have the satisfaction of enjoying the toils of your labor. Plus it’s fun to dig up some dirt and play around outdoors.
What do you do when the rain keeps you stuck in doors?
Over the past two weeks I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Although the story takes place in 1870s New York, the criticisms of society’s restrictions are still very relevant today.
Newland Archer’s censure of the hypocrisy, unspoken rules, and shallowness of the world around him make this a timeless novel. Despite the difference of 140 years, the aristocratic forcefulness that Newland deals with is not that different from the peer pressure that plagues high school and the work world today. People’s preoccupation with how others with perceive their actions still causes them to deprive themselves of what they want most in the world, whether it’s a massively caloric slice of birthday cake, sharing their feelings with the man or woman of their dreams, or simply an hour of alone time. It is sad how deeply this notion of sacrificed happiness is ingrained in our world.
However, the romantic attitudes of the characters of The Age of Innocence differ tremendously from those of people today. Newland and Ellen, forever separated from each other by their respective marriages, survive their loveless marriages by relaying on the happiness that they receive simply from being in the same room during a dinner party and by spending time alone every few months. Their ability to use the joy of a few brief encounters to carry on with their unfulfilling lives for months or years at a time is a stark contrast to modern society’s need for instant gratification. Today the idea of living in hopes of a brief encounter seems inconceivable because people want their desires to be fulfilled as soon as humanly possible.
The other remarkable, foreign aspect of Newland and Ellen’s romance is that throughout their two years of mutual temptation, their romance remains almost purely emotional with only two kisses to fulfill their physical yearnings. In today’s world where most rap songs revolve around “getting some” and no movie with a PG 13 rating is complete without a steamy love scene, the willpower and resistance that Newland and Ellen maintain out of their respect for May is admirable. The fact that Newland was willing to “marry one woman because another told him to” truly attests to the rare intensity and sanctity of their love.
Although the movie beautifully brings to life the elegance and luxury of high society New York, the film lacks much of the complexity and emotion that Wharton manages to infuse into the lengthier novel. Director Martin Scorsese dazzles viewers with the opulent lifestyle that the characters in The Age of Innocence lead, but the film conversion of Edith Wharton’s magnificent novel lacks the subtler nuances of society’s unspoken judgements.
I highly recommend that anyone in search of a good book picks up a copy of Edith Wharton’s emotionally trying, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Age of Innocence. Consider watching the dazzling movie afterwards as a supplement to more clearly visualize Newland Archer’s world, but don’t rely solely on the movie to grasp the universersal themes in this incredible love story.