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This film was produced by Illumination; nevertheless, the plot is not related to the Despicable Me series.
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The Lorax is Illumination's third computer-animated feature after Despicable Me and Hop, the second highest grossing film of the studio, and the first to ultilize IMAX 3D. This is the second computer animated film adaptation of Dr. Seuss' work.



Ted Wiggins, an idealistic 12-year-old boy, lives in "Thneedville", a walled city that, Aside from the citizens, is completely artificial. They sets out to find the one thing that will win Ted's affection of Audrey, the girl of his dreams, who wishes to see a real tree. There's energetic grandmother suggests the boys speak with the Once-ler on the matter, and the boys discovers that their city has been closed off from the outside world, which is a contaminated and empty wasteland. The Once-ler agrees to tell Ted about the trees if he listens to his story over multiple visits. Ted agrees, even after the mayor of Thneedville, Mr. O'Hare, the greedy proprietor of a bottled oxygen company, confronts the boy and pressures him to stay in town.

Over the visits, the Once-ler recounts the story of how he met the Lorax, a grumpy yet charming mystical mustached creature who serves as the guardian of the forest and speaks for the trees, he arrived in and actively resists his logging until the Once-ler agrees to desist. When the young businessman introduces a revolutionary invention from the native truffula tree's tufts, the thneed, it eventually becomes a major success and the Once-ler's family is brought in to participate in the business. Keeping his promise at first, Once-ler continues thneed production by harvesting the tufts themselves in a sustainable manner. Unfortunately, his greedy and lazy relatives convinced him to resume logging as a more efficient gathering method, and the destruction of the forest spirals into a mass overproduction. Flush with wealth, the Once-ler rationalized his short sighted greed into an arrogant self-righteousness that even co-opts the helpless protests of the Lorax for his own ends.

As a result, he completely depleted the valley while making the region uninhabitable with his business' pollution. With that, the Once-ler was left ruined and abandoned by his family and became a recluse with the creation and isolation of the town that came under Mr. O'Hare's control. Eventually, the Lorax sends the wildlife (and the Once-ler's mule Melvin) away before departing himself in to the sky without a trace, leaving a stonecut word, "Unless."

At the end of the story, after the Once-ler discover that the Lorax's last message was meant to Ted, declared that : Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not, Ted is also inspired by the Once-ler's gift of the last truffula seed to plant it to remind his town of the importance of nature. Unfortunately, O'Hare is determined to not have trees undercut his business and takes heavy handed steps such as destroying Audrey's nature paintings and forcibly searching Ted's room for the seed. The boy is undeterred and enlists there family and Audrey to help plant the seed. O'Hare and his bodyguards pursue the dissidents until they manage to elude the boys and reach the town center. Unfortunately, their attempt to plant the seed is interrupted by O'Hare who rallies the population to stop them. To convince them otherwise, Ted takes an earthmover and rams down a section of the city wall to reveal the environmental destruction outside. Horrified at the sight and inspired by Ted's conviction (as though a part of the Lorax was within him), the crowd defies O'Hare. This is done when Cy the air delivery guy effectively improvises an expulsion by planting a rocket on O'Hare's head, causing to accelerate into the air at remarkably fast speeds, and strongly implies that perhaps he is either killed when the rocket crashes into something, or if the rocket runs out of fuel and O'Hare falls to his death. After O'Hare is sent to his likely ultimate demise, the seed is planted and Ted finally gets his kiss from Audrey on the cheek.

As time passes, at the Once-ler's house, the Truffula forest is beginning to recover with the Once-ler's participation and the Lorax returns, pleased that his friend is undoing the harm he caused. The Once-ler (who had even grow his own mustache), overcome with joy that his friend has returned, embraces him as they walk towards his house.