Two movies released at almost the same time promise a lot of fun and also carry a message. While John Carter talks of the need to be humane, The Lorax takes you into an environmentally devastated world that needs care.

John Carter

John Carter was the legendary character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912. Considered by many to be the world's first space hero, John Carter was first introduced to the world in Burroughs' story Under the Moons of Mars, which was published serially in “All-Story” magazine before being renamed and published as the novel A Princess of Mars in 1917. And 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of John Carter.

An awakening

A sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). This is a story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions among the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realises that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

The Lorax

“Unless someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get better...It's not.”

One of Dr. Seuss's most blunt books, it was written to express his anger at the careless treatment of the environment. Written in 1971 it was an ecological fable for children. Seuss found he was only writing “propaganda with a plot”. Though his political books have morals, Seuss disliked books that preach to their readers. His draft of The Lorax was too preachy. He was stuck.

In September 1970, hoping to alleviate her husband's writer's block and channel his frustration at the overconsumption he found in his community, Audrey Geisel suggested that they take a trip to East Africa. It was on this trip, after watching a herd of elephants walk across the African mountains of the Serengeti, that he found the inspiration to write “The Lorax.” Seuss wrote 90 per cent of the book that afternoon on the only piece of paper he had within reach, a laundry list.

Finding remedies

The title character quickly became an icon of environmental conservation. In the book, the Once-ler (a repentant ex-industrialist) tells how he and his Thneed company polluted the environment, destroying the Truffula trees, driving away the Lorax and the animals. Concluding by telling readers how they might make things right again, The Lorax advises, “Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then The Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”

Plot

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is both a funny and emotional adventure highlighting the importance of balance between nature and progress. The film revolves around the Lorax, the hilarious and lovable character who goes to great lengths to protect the trees and the

animals that inhabit them. The pastoral landscape of Truffula Valley is filled with a variety of animals—from soaring Swomee-Swans to harmonic Humming-Fish. The Lorax's job as guardian of the forest is put to the test when the ambitious young Once-ler chops down a Truffula Tree and threatens to chop down more to further his lofty business plan.

Years later, in a world devoid of trees, Ted ventures beyond the borders of his perfectly industrialised town of Thneedville on a journey to find the Once-ler and learn how he can bring home a tree for the girl of his dreams, Audrey.

Although hesitant at first, the Once-ler sees something in Ted that inspires him to tell the story of his encounter with the Lorax, which in turn inspires Ted's mission to restore balance to Thneedville by bringing back Truffula Trees for the whole town.