The Lorax is the fourth film and second animated film based on Dr. Seuss’s children’s books. The problem – and it’s been a problem in all the films – is how to turn a book that runs less than fifty pages with little text into a feature length narrative. For this film, which stars Danny Devito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, that means turning the story into an adventure about a young environmentalist. Check out the trailer…

And let’s say it now: if Fox had a problem with The Muppets being anti-capitalism, there’s no way they’re going to be happy with a film that suggests industrialists killed all the trees. That was the narrative of the original, that pollution came from over-industrialization, and that looks to be what they’re doing here.

It will be interesting to see if this becomes a part of the great cultural debate about what’s good for children and if the film – based on a forty year old book – sparks a discussion about the environment. But where politicizing The Muppets seems to miss the point, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t a narrative about respecting the outdoors and nature. We’ll know for sure when the film hits theaters March 2, 2012.

Was Dr. Seuss a dirty hippy?