Heartwarming "Hoot" Most Likely Walden's Next Hit
- Thursday, April 27, 2006
Release Date: May 5, 2006
Rating: PG (mild bullying and brief language)
Run Time: 90 min.
Director: Wil Shriner
Actors: Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Cody Linley, Tim Blake Nelson, Luke Wilson, and Jimmy Buffett
Walden Media certainly knows the formula for making a successful movie. According to producer Micheal Flaherty, the secret is simple: just find an already beloved, cherished, award-winning book, and turn it into a screenplay. His formula has certainly worked for movies such as “Holes”, “Because of Winn Dixie”, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” …. and now “Hoot,” based on a Newberry Award-winning book of the same title, comes to the silver screen with the same solid intrigue.
Actually, the name Walden Media can be traced to its founders’ love for great literature, specifically the special place, Walden Pond, where author Henry David Thoreau once made his home in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau wrote about nature’s role in building character, and now Walden Media and The National Wildlife Federation have expanded on this value in “Hoot” by inspiring young people to be involved stewards of this great earth and its vulnerable creatures.
“Hoot” wraps a charming teen-based story around the plight of the burrowing owl, an adorable, 5-ounce, earth-nesting creature that is being threatened by a new pancake house development in Florida. A young man, Roy Eberhardt (Logan Lehrman) moves from Montana down to the sunshine state with his family, where he discovers that a certain boy, “Mullet Fingers” (Cody Linley) lives alone in the woods, secretly engaging in a massive fight to protect the endangered owls from heartless construction. Only Roy’s mysterious new classmate, Mullet’s sister, Beatrice (Brie Larson), knows the full truth about her brother’s stealthy activities, and she will do what it takes to protect his cover.
Meanwhile, the high-strung construction manager for the pancake house development, Curly (Tim Blake Nelson – “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”) is tired of being constantly thwarted by a seemingly invisible saboteur and is threatened by the “suits” to get rolling on the restaurant. He teams up with the bumbling Officer Delinko (Luke Wilson) to set up a massive stakeout on the site to expose the owl-loving vandals. As Curly and Delinko get closer and closer to the truth, Roy must make some tough decisions on just how far he’ll go to help out the owls who have suddenly hit a crucial stage in their battle for survival.
“Hoot” is well-written, produced, and acted, and delivers a notable family film experience void of the usual trash seen in other teen fare such as “Scary Movie 4.” Regrettably, nowadays the typical Hollywood teen movie is filled with large doses of sex, drugs, alcohol, and attitude, but audiences won’t find many of these elements in “Hoot.” Like the recent “Aquamarine”, “Hoot” proves that you can produce a good, clean movie without sacrificing entertainment value. As a matter of fact, the kids in the packed-out audience in my screening started screaming in delight whenever they saw scenes with the science teacher. (I didn’t realize until later that the teacher was Jimmy Buffett!)
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