You've likely noticed a vexing pattern in a particular genre of movies lately. The plots always suggest post-apocalyptic worlds where greed and gluttony have trumped Mother Nature. The culprit of these films is mankind's self-indulgence and detached ignorance. And while technology and fabrication are applied as a band-aid to mask our various world-altering mistakes, in the end everyone learns that nothing takes the place of the real thing, like trees and fresh air. Or Earth.
We're talking about animated kids' movies, of course, where punchlines are delivered with more layers than a three-foot wedding cake. In Disney Pixar's Wall-E, the hero was a lone, affable robot left behind to clean our ruined Earth while obese humans sailed through the galaxy in a spaceship cruise liner waiting for our planet to be habitable again. On the cruise liner, every human thought and action was dictated by a constant stream of advertisements from the mega-store Buy-N-Large, just as it was back on Earth. Mankind fully subscribed to every piece of plastic junk they pushed.
Uplifting, huh? Well, the kids love it. But for adults, the soft, melancholy whines of Louis Armstrong's trumpet in "La Vie En La Rose" during the movie are wistful. "Life through rose colored glasses," as the song title suggests, is left to our kids in the seat next to us, mindlessly eating from the tub of butter-soaked popcorn that's bigger than their heads.
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Dr. Suess' The Lorax, which was released over the weekend, works in the same chord. A ruthless businessman has found a way to sell air after another greedy man chopped down every tree in the forest.
The kids love it, but for adults it's depressing. Don't sweat it, though. Eat through the despair by heading to IHOP for a Lorax-inspired Rooty Tooty Bar-Ba-Looty Blueberry Cone Cake, which is a thick, spherical pancake stuffed inside a waffle cone and topped with a blueberry compote. Or Truffula Chip Pancakes, which are whole wheat and topped with a strawberry yogurt sauce and lots of rainbow sprinkles. On the protein side, scrambled eggs with creamed spinach and a side of ham serve as Green Eggs and Ham.
We know the cautionary tale with any meal created for kids in conjunction with the latest blockbuster. Anything called Rooty Tooty Bar-Ba-Looty can't be good, particularly for a person that weighs less than 50 pounds. On occasion, it's all fun and fine. Moderation and all that.
But let's be honest: Dr. Suess' message got sold out to IHOP, among other things. Hopefully at least some of the message sticks to their brains like the product tie-ins stick to their thighs.