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Section Header
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
Varèse Album

Interscope Album

Co-Composed and Produced by:
John Powell

Songs Co-Composed by:
Cinco Paul

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Co-Orchestrated by:
John Ashton Thomas
Dave Metzger
Andrew Kinney
Rick Giovinazzo
Germaine Franco

Additional Music by:
Paul Mounsey
Beth Caucci
Victor Chaga

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande
(Score Album)
(March 6th, 2012)

Interscope Records
(Song Album)
(March 6th, 2012)

Also See:
Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!
Kung Fu Panda 2
Ice Age: The Meltdown

Audio Clips:
Score Album:

1. Ted, Audrey and the Trees (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

4. Truffula Valley Fantasy (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

11. Thneedville Chase (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

13. Funeral for a Tree (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Both albums are regular U.S. releases.


Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
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Buy it... on the song-only album if you desire a direct souvenir of the film's major musical numbers by John Powell, none of which have much in common with the style of the composer's surrounding underscore.

Avoid it... on the score-only album if you demand to hear anything substantially new or spectacularly well-rendered by Powell in his friendly and occasionally majestic, but usually derivative orchestral work.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: (John Powell/Various) No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it's impossible to argue that Dr. Seuss' 1971 story of "The Lorax" is not a blatant message about the ills of corporate relationships with the environment. When Universal adapted the tree-happy tale to the big screen in 2012, there was a predictable but still entertaining backlash against the picture from America's Fox News Channel and related conservative interests, and Universal prodded these detractors further by flooding the country with a massive marketing campaign for Dr. Seuss' The Lorax that included more than 70 product tie-ins. The advertising must have worked, because audiences defied mixed critical reviews by making the film an overwhelming fiscal success. Whenever adapting a short story into a full-fledged feature film, there is bound to be discontent, and The Lorax padded its length by shifting the focus away from the central interchanges between the Once-ler and the Lorax to the little boy at the beginning and end of the original story (and adding a love interest, his family, another town villain, and many more characters). The central pro-environment message is not only preserved, however, but rather bluntly applied through the help of a musical narrative format highlighted by the song "Let It Grow," one of the single most obnoxious socio-political packages for a children's film in quite some time. Returning with some of the other crew members from 2008's Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! is composer John Powell (and his assistants), who not only was hired to provide the score for The Lorax, but also five or six songs to be featured as central parts of the story. Powell collaborated with one of the film's screenwriters, Cinco Paul, for these songs (the latter writing their lyrics), and the score's thematic material is partially connected to their melodies. Powell is a veteran of writing the orchestral scores for these types of projects, though hearing him adapt his ideas into the structure of a musical is relatively new. Unfortunately, while the underlying components of the songs are fine (translating into some of the score's most interesting moments), the actual rendering of the songs is truly horrendous. Ed Helms badly over-performs in the role of the villain during his three associated songs (and even the comedic "The Once-ler's Traveling Madness," struck mostly from the film, is insufferable), and the uppity, pop-infused "Thneedville" is merely bait for the teenage crowd. The aforementioned centerpiece of the musical, "Let It Grow," has the attitude of one of those celebrity-magnet world peace songs that is too wholesomely uniting for its own good.

While the songs in The Lorax are challenging at best, the rather short score sprinkled in between those song placements is largely in tune with Powell's normal output for this genre of film. Instrumentally, the sound is familiar, a rousing orchestral performance assisted by cooing choir and occasional genre-specific accents. There isn't as much wild deviation between genres and moods in The Lorax as there was in Horton Hears a Who! (the songs provide that dichotomy), but the varying animal kingdom representations in "Truffula Valley Fantasy" (including the simply awful humming fish) and the electric guitar-driven action cue, "Thneedville Chase" (which at least ties the score to those songs), are definitely passages of unique style in this entry. The choral usage reflects the fantasy and tragedy parts of the story well, expressing the hope embodied by the final Truffula seed and the sorrow of the animals in "Valley Exodus." Powell also applies the choir to the orchestra in a pseudo-religious manner for the return of the Lorax at the end of the picture, which makes sense given the imagery's revelation of the character out of blinding light as though he were the second coming of Christ. Some of the song melodies are seemingly impossible to translate into orchestral alternatives, so you hear Powell augmenting those identities with ideas specific to the score. The most frequently applied idea is a fantasy theme ("Ted, Audrey and the Trees" and "Valley Exodus") that sounds suspiciously transplanted from Kung Fu Panda, though an offshoot of this soothing material in the latter half of "Ted, Audrey and the Trees" resides much closer to James Horner's The Land Before Time. The most obvious placement of a song melody in the score comes in "Funeral for a Tree," which translates "Let It Grow" into a tender piano performance for the redemptive finale, with the previously mentioned, religious crescendo for the Lorax's return in the middle. A strong balance of action, fantasy, and tragedy is conveyed by Powell in this score, though its tone is really too disparate from that of the songs to form a truly cohesive whole. That is perhaps justification for the songs and score being released on separate soundtrack albums, still an irritating choice given that both would have fit onto one CD. The tiresome song album, dominated by its many demo versions required to fill a 34-minute presentation, will be nearly impossible for enthusiasts of Powell's score material to appreciate. The score-only product, on the other hand, is a decent listening experience and has roughly fifteen minutes of music that will fit nicely with Powell's similarly friendly but somewhat forgettable children's writing. If you are stuck watching the film, at least you will hear the debut of Brian Tyler's reworking of Jerry Goldsmith's Universal logo music at the outset, arguably a more interesting attraction than what follows. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written for the Film: ***
    Music as Heard on the Interscope Song Album: **
    Music as Heard on the Varèse Sarabande Score Album: ***
    Overall: ***

Bias Check:For John Powell reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.1 (in 40 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.03 (in 45,173 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.88 Stars
Smart Average: 2.96 Stars*
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 Track Listings (Varèse Score Album): Total Time: 46:07

• 1. Ted, Audrey and the Trees (2:36)
• 2. Granny to the Edge (2:33)
• 3. Wasteland (2:17)
• 4. Truffula Valley Fantasy (featuring The Lorax Humming Fish) (5:00)
• 5. Onceler & Lorax Meet (2:35)
• 6. O'Hare Warns Ted (3:21)
• 7. The River Bed (4:03)
• 8. Houseguests (3:12)
• 9. Valley Exodus (4:54)
• 10. The Last Seed (4:54)
• 11. Thneedville Chase (5:04)
• 12. At the Park (3:12)
• 13. Funeral for a Tree (2:10)

 Track Listings (Interscope Song Album): Total Time: 34:13

• 1. Let It Grow (Celebrate the World) - performed by Ester Dean (3:39)
• 2. Thneedville - performed by Fletcher Sheridan, Antonio Sol, Beth Anderson, Oliver Powell,
      Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Missi Hale, and Rob Riggle
• 3. This is the Place (Tricky Version) - performed by Ed Helms (2:24)
• 4. Everybody Needs a Thneed - performed by Ed Helms, Randy Crenshaw, Fletcher Sheridan,
      Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Monique Donnelly, Ty Taylor, and The 88
• 5. How Bad Can I Be? - performed by Ed Helms, Kool Kojak (2:52)
• 6. Let It Grow - performed by Fletcher Sheridan, Dan Navarro, Edie Lehmann Boddicker,
      Jenny Slate, Claira Titman, Betty White, Rob Riggle, and Ed Helms
• 7. Let It Grow Gospel Ending (Original Demo) - performed by Jenny Slate (0:52)
• 8. Thneedville (Original Demo) - performed by Fletcher Sheridan (3:58)
• 9. The Once-ler's Traveling Madness (Original Demo) - performed by Ed Helms (1:35)
• 10. I Love Nature (Original Demo) - performed by Randy Crenshaw (2:43)
• 11. You Need a Thneed - performed by Keith Slettedahl and The 88, featuring Antonio Sol, Fletcher Sheridan & Taylor Graves (1:32)
• 12. Nobody Needs a Thneed (Original Demo) - performed by Fletcher Sheridan and Randy Crenshaw (1:52)
• 13. Biggering (Original Demo) - performed by Gabriel Mann, Randy Crenshaw, and The 88 (5:01)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert of the score album includes a list of performers, but neither product contains additional information about the soundtrack or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Dr. Seuss' The Lorax are Copyright © 2012, Varèse Sarabande (Score Album), Interscope Records (Song Album). The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/22/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.