The Lorax and Fern Gully: The Last Rain Forest are two animated films geared towards encouraging children’s environmental awareness. Fern Gully portrays pollution with a negative spin, making it a monster-like creature, and by doing so scares younger viewers. As a result, they do not understand the movie’s message. The Lorax, with its more positive spin, also focuses on our disappearing resources. My four-year old daughter has seen both of these movies and has a very different opinion of each; one movie frightens, while the other encourages positive action.
Fern Gully came out in 1992 when the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, were the environmental catch phrase of the day. Fern Gully is set in a mythical rainforest populated by magical fairies. The antagonist is an evil spirit, Hexxus, which feeds on pollution. Hexxus is a scary, greasy, skeletal monster that grows in size when it feeds on the pollution created by humans. This part of the movie is so scary that ...view middle of the document...
Seuss, came out in 2012. The Lorax is a much more child-friendly movie. The main character, The Lorax, is a cute little guy with an oversized moustache who “speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” Unlike Fern Gully, The Lorax does not have a “Bad Guy”; instead, the antagonist is the idea of human greed and the need to advance ones financial situation with no regard to the planet. The movie begins with a young boy who lives in a polluted town devoid of any natural flora and fauna. Wondering why there are no real trees, or animals ,or even natural air, the boy goes to see an old man called the Once-ler to find out why there are no trees and animals. The Once-ler tells the story of how he came to a beautiful valley filled with trees and animals, and proceeds to strip it for his own profit. When the Once-ler finishes his story he gives the boy the last tree seed, telling him to plant it, which the boys does. While both movies are focused on teaching children environmental awareness and sensitivity to our disappearing natural resources, The Lorax does this in a much more positive and light-hearted way.
Although both of these movies have trees as a central focus, Fern Gully was a mythical rain forest that was saved by fairies and a magical tree giving the impression that an act of magic is needed to save the planet. After watching Fern Gully my daughter was upset and I felt like it was already too late to do anything because there are no magical fairies to help us. Even though The Lorax is as far-fetched as a magical fairy, this movie shows viewers that making a difference is as simple as planting a seed and adding water. The Lorax left my daughter asking me how to plant a tree and instead of feeling unsure about what to do we felt inspired to make a difference.
A few weeks after seeing The Lorax, my daughter and I were walking home and we discovered that the oak trees in our neighborhood were dropping acorns. We picked several of the acorns up and took them home to plant. I believe that if it had not been for watching The Lorax, my daughter would not have been interested looking at the oak trees, let alone in taking those acorns home to plant.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”