Hoot (2006)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Logan Lerman, Luke Wilson
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes

"Hoot" is on par with a typical live action Disney movie (excluding the two that star Johnny Depp). It is a nice film with a conflict that is overcome by persistence and the desire to do what is right. In this case, Roy Eberhardt (Logan Lerman) moves from Montana to Florida only to get wrapped up with Beatrice (Brie Larson) and Mullet Fingers (Cody Linley). They are trying to save the endangered burrowing owls from being violated by corporate America. While I felt that the positive message shed light on a concern that gets little to no press, I am not a big fan of the movie. The story is a bit too bland for my tastes. Being moved by hard hitting message movies like "American History X", "Hoot" certainly had an uphill battle with its laid back Jimmy Buffett style. It lacked the passion and subtle sensitivity of "The Straight Story", a family movie that excels in delivering a heartfelt message while captivating viewers along the way. I applaud the mission of the film. I think it serves its purpose as a family film, and would be a great double feature with "March Of The Penguins". From a movie standpoint, "Hoot" simply didn't deliver. A younger crowd (8-12 years old) would probably get more entertainment than I did.

It seems more and more filmmakers are heading towards education at the cinema. In addition to the aforementioned movies, the world has been given cinematic tutorials on everything from global warming to religion to historical events. While the majority of the educational themed films are documentaries, it is nice to know that minds are being both entertained and educated simultaneously. Movies like "Crash" open lines of communication for topics that need an icebreaker. I commend "Hoot" for utilizing the power of film to convey its message, it just didn't move me the way other movies have. I do see a younger crowd taking a lot away from the movie though. It supports people who stand up for what they believe in, and to explore all consequences when making decisions. For a demographic that seems too old for cartoons and too young for PG-13 related issues, "Hoot" may have tapped into an age group that can use a positive, morally strong message.

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, New Line's disc looks great. I have always been a fan of New Line as they consistently put out quality DVD's. "Hoot" has a clean look that provides the sharpness and detail one would expect with the format. The shots of Florida could only be improved by a high def upgrade. English and Spanish subtitles are included. They are easy to read and do not blend into the movie.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a godsend for Jimmy Buffett fans. His soundtrack plays with a very rich, full dynamic throughout the film. In addition, the sounds of nature are captured throughout the sound field, bringing life to the movie. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 track included on the disc. While not as immersive, it will provide a great alternative for those who need it.

While this isn't one of New Line's Infinifilm releases, it still managed to bring a lot of extra features to the table. First we are treated to a lighthearted, informative feature length commentary by director/screenwriter Wil Shriner and novelist Carl Hiaasen. The two seamlessly bridge the gap between literature and film with their insights on "Hoot". There is obviously a great bond here which is captured in their conversation. They also provide an optional commentary on the film's six deleted scenes that are included on the DVD. From the moviemaking side of the coin, fans of the film will be given numerous features revolving around the creative process. "Meet The Kids in the Cast" (9:24) gives us a scoop about the younger cast members including some audition footage. "Meet the Creator of Hoot" (5:47) introduces us to the older participants in "Hoot" such as the director, novelist, and producers. "Jimmy Buffett: Filmmaker in Paradise" (8:40) and "Director on the Set" (4:02) are basically longer and more focused versions of "Meet the Creator of Hoot". The educational side of these features includes numerous ways to inform the public on how they can make a difference for endangered animals. "Hoot's Hands-On Habitat Projects" (4:52) provides us with information on the nonprofit Wild at Heart, a group dedicated to the protection of birds. "Backyard Habitat" (7:02) has some excellent tips from the National Wildlife Federation on how people can make a positive impact on animals from where they live. "Visit an Animal Rescue Center" (8:17) focuses on birds and is a tour of the facilities. "Animals in Action" (6:47) rides the lines between fun and education as it centers on getting various animals trained to play a part in the movie. Rounding out the disc are the theatrical trailer for "Hoot", a blooper reel (3:10), and sneak peeks for "How To Eat Fried Worms", "The Ant Bully", and "IMAX Deep Sea 3-D".

"Hoot" is a film that has a message for everyone. The problem is that a lot of people won't have the patience to wait for it. From an entertainment standpoint, I don't think "Hoot" has the '30-year-old movie buff' demographic in mind, and that was naturally a setback for me. New Line certainly delivered on the DVD side of things. Fans of the film will be treated to a great audio and video presentation and a wealth of extras. "Hoot" is an easy recommendation for family viewings or movie fans looking for a nice, clean movie.