The imaginative world of Dr. Seuss comes to life like never before in this visually spectacular adventure from the creators of Despicable Me! Twelve-year-old Ted will do anything to find a real live Truffula Tree in order to impress the girl of his dreams. As he embarks on his journey, Ted discovers the incredible story of the Lorax, a grumpy but charming creature who speaks for the trees. Featuring the voice talents of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, and Betty White, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is filled with hilarious fun for everyone!
A young boy living in a polluted town visits a strange reclusive man called the Once-ler "on the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows... in the Street of the Lifted Lorax", who never appears in full onscreen; only his limbs are shown. The boy pays the Once-ler fifteen cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail to explain why the area is in such a run-down state. The Once-ler explains to the boy (shown in flashback) that he arrived in a beautiful, pristine valley containing happy, playful fauna that spent their days romping around blissfully among "Truffula trees". The Once-ler proceeded to cut down the Truffula trees to gather raw material to knit "Thneeds," a comically versatile invention of his, "which everyone needs". Thneeds can be used as a shirt, a sock, a glove, a hat, a carpet, a pillow, a sheet, or a curtain.
By cutting down the tree, however, he summoned the titular Lorax, who was "shortish and oldish and brownish and mossy ... with a voice that was sharpish and bossy", to appear from the stump of a Truffula tree. He "speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongues" and warned the Once-ler of the consequences of cutting down the truffula trees, but the Once-ler ignored him, instead calling his relatives to come and work in his factory.
Soon the once beautiful area became choked with pollution and the Lorax sent away the fauna to find more hospitable habitats. Confronted by the Lorax, the Once-ler declared his intention to keep "biggering" his operations, but at that very moment, they "heard the tree fall. The very last Truffula tree of them all." Without raw materials, his factory shut down; without the factory, his relatives left. Then the Lorax, silently, with one "very sad, sad backward glance", lifted himself by the seat of his pants and flew away through the clouds.
The Once-ler lingered on in his crumbling residence, living in seclusion and remorse, while pondering over a message the Lorax left behind: a stone slab etched with the word "Unless". In the present, the Once-ler says that he now realizes that the Lorax means that unlesssomeone cares, the situation will not improve. The Once-ler then gives the boy the last Truffula seed and tells him to plant it, saying that "Truffula Trees are what everyone needs" and hoping that, if the boy grows a whole forest of the trees, "the Lorax, and all of his friends may come back."