The Lorax is one of my favorite books: I actually have a copy signed by Dr. Seuss. So I am generally inclined to be in favor of any movie versions of it, because I apparently do not learn from experience that the only consequence of adapting Seuss books is sadness and pain.
The most obvious thing that makes me lose hope is the last joke of the trailer. A fat woman who is clearly drawn to be unattractive is insulting the Lorax, who threatens to hit her; when the Onceler says “you wouldn’t hit a woman,” the Lorax says “that’s a woman?” Holy shit that is a fucking terrible joke. I mean, even beyond all the ways it’s problematic, it’s just not that funny. I mean, maybe you would have a case for a fatphobic, cissexist, gender-policing, Myth-Of-Men-Not-Being-Hot joke if it was hella hilarious, but this was old material fifty years ago. (I think that’s often a problem with kyriarchal humor in general– even beyond the problematic aspects, “I said rape! Isn’t that hilarious?” and “women are Venusians and men are Martians!” just suck as jokes.)
However, the thing that fills me the most with fan-hatred is how they expanded the character of the Boy. Admittedly, the Boy doesn’t have much of a plot to begin with: he shows up, talks to the Onceler and gets some seeds which he will probably end up planting. This isn’t Hamlet levels of character development, folks. I can see where they’d want to give him a plot, given that he’s the audience-identification character and all. So I’m inclined to be generous.
But how they expanded it is, well, can you say “success object”, ladies and gentlemen and miscellaneous? You see, the Boy is in love with Taylor Swift, because Hollywood just can’t think of a meaningful relationship that is entirely unrelated to someone wanting to slobber all over someone else’s face. In fact, Boy flies model planes and throws balls into Taylor Swift’s backyard, enough times that she remarks on it, so she will talk to him. This is clearly romantic and not stalkerish in the slightest.
It turns out Taylor Swift really likes Truffula trees! There are no trees where she lives, because they all got cut down. So Boy decides to earn her love via bringing her a Truffula seed so she can see a tree. Because “I want to get in your pants, Taylor Swift” is clearly a much better motivation than curiosity and ENVIRONMENTALISM! for seeking out the Onceler.
There is exactly one time I’ve found this whole “dude fetches thing to get in girl’s pants” plotline non-obnoxious. It is in Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, in which (highlight for spoilers) the boy falls in love with the star he was fetching for the girl, because the boy and the star actually have things in common, and the girl is kind of a jerk.
Everyone else, fuck off with this damn plotline and stop treating your characters as success objects and sex objects. Particularly in stories in which no one was falling in love in the first place.
The Onceler does have a very badass vest-and-hat combo going on, though. You are a sexy cartoon, sir. A sexy, sexy cartoon.