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    The-Onceler (2012)
    You'll be surprised just how bad he can be.
    Gender: Male
    Type: Annoyingly Greedy and a Cringeworthy Businessman
    The Dark Side of The Once-ler
    Age: 20s (Past)
    70s (Present)
    Species: Human
    Portrayed by: Ed Helms
    Status: Alive
    Media of origin: The Lorax (2012)


    The Once-Ler is the anti-heroic main protagonist and narrator of Dr. Seuss' 1971 book The Lorax, and its TV adaptation and both the secondary antagonist and deuteragonist of the 2012 film adaptation of the same name. While the original book and TV special portray him as a greedy, egotistical person who wants to expand his business and make money, the 2012 film puts him in a different light, and paints him as a decent guy who just wants to impress his family and even agrees not to cut down any more Truffula trees before his family forces him to. Unfortunately, this version of the Once-ler is also notable for other reasons.

    This version of the character was voiced by Ed Helms.

    Bad Qualities

    Note: This will only talk about his role in the 2012 film. His literature and TV special counterparts are fine.

    1. For some reason, this version is portrayed as a dorky, handsome young man who plays guitar and dresses like someone from the mountains, which is a major contrast to the original version it was mysterious and forbidding but still, sympathetic, and the writers here were pandering to a younger audience.
    2. He also gets too many comedic and goofy moments that makes him laughable (such as a scene where he finds the Lorax in his bed and the two of them scream at each other), some of which are unnecessary and only exist to pad the runtime.
    3. For the book and special, his lack of a facial appearance indicated that anyone could end up being like him, whether they're well-intentioned or not. Although showing his face in an adaptation isn't necessarily a bad idea, the film pulled off the idea pretty poorly.
    4. His fall to villainy feels extremely rushed: One moment he cares about the environment and the creatures living in it and wants to do his business without causing too much damage, the next he's an egomaniacal power-hungry bigot who couldn't care less about any suffering he's causing during "How Bad Can I Be?" just because his greedy family forced him to do so. The process is a pretty wasted opportunity to build up that moment. The Nostalgia Critic stated that Anakin Skywalker's turn to darkness was more complex than his.
    5. His reasoning for bringing his family to help with his business doesn't make a lot of sense, considering he knew how unhelpful, horrible, unloving, and disrespectful they were towards him and his business.
    6. Even after years of his business went down, he became a grumpy old hermit who just stayed at his abandoned house and allowed himself to succumb to his lunacy side and was also a jerk at first when Ted first met him.

    Good Qualities

    1. To be fair, his villain song, "How Bad Can I Be?" is pretty catchy and admittedly one thing that works fairly well with the storyline. The only real thing holding it back is the rushed turn to corruption and ruthlessness as mentioned in reason #4. If that aspect was handed better, the song would have been more impactful. His deleted song “Biggering” is even more impactful and bold.
    2. His moments of redemption and regret after his business shut down, were at least, emotionally subtle and fit with the spirit of Seuss' work.
    3. Another moment that works is during the end where he leaves his cabin in the present day for the first year and thanks Ted from a distance (although, some people don't like it since it removes the ambiguity the special had.)
    4. He can be seen as likable or even relatable to some people as all he wants is his family’s approval and does feel regret destroying the animals' home (as mentioned in HGCTQPB?#2), but that's not saying much as he's nothing like his book counterpart.
    5. Ed Helms did a good job voicing him, and he sounds similar to Bob Holt.
    6. "Why aren't you like other kids? Break dancing, wearing bellbottoms, and playing the Donkey Kongs?"

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