Lots of extra features that actually get the message of wildlife preservation across better than the movie did.
The film itself is poorly written and has a load of structural problems, sometimes good intentions are not enough.
Hoot is another entry into the light-hearted family genre. Roy Eberhardt moves from Montana to Florida and this is the 6th school he has had to move to in 8 years. We start with the very formulaic new kid has trouble fitting in and gets in a fight with a bully. Logan sees a kid running by the school bus one day and decides to check it out. Apparently there are two kids at the school who are trying to prevent a new pancake house from being built on top of an owl habitat. A dim witted police officer played by Luke Wilson is on the case to try and solve the string of vandalism that has been occurring at the construction site. Tim Blake Nelson plays the head of the construction site who wants to start building.
The film is not great, the writing is absolutely terrible. The dialogue does not seem natural at all, it's a pretty bad adaptation. There are also structural problems that hinder the flow. There is inconsistency in the narration. We start out the film with narration from Roy, the main character. I suppose that the novel was told through first person, but they quickly abandon that in the film.
One aspect of the film that was attacked by many critics was that it supported eco-terrorism. These kids spray paint police cars, put alligators in the portable johns at the construction site, deflate tires, and even let cotton mouths loose on the site. The last one boggled me a bit since cotton mouth snakes would kill and eat all the ground owls, but apparently kids are too stupid to know, right? Jimmy Buffet is in the film, I guess to appeal to the parents to take their kids. He has a role in the film as a teacher, he wrote a couple songs, and he produced it. Some of the songs are pretty good, but this movie is a waste of time. Get your kid the book and let him create a better experience for him/herself.
The acting in the film is as bad as the dialogue. You wonder why they couldn't get any better child actors, it's not like there isn't none because I've seen wonderful child actors. Luke Wilson is there just for his name, just like Jimmy Buffet. Neil Flynn plays Roy's dad, and he is the most out of place actor here. Flynn is most known for his role as the Janitor on Scrubs, the only real role he is known for. So, for me it was hard to imagine him as the fatherly figure he plays here. He just can't pull it off.
Standard blooper reel with the young actors goofing their lines.
We have 6 deleted scenes here, mostly cut due to the fact that they didn't move the story along. Nothing special about them.
Hoot's Hands-On Habitat Projects:
A short featurette on how the National Wildlife Federation takes steps in preserving wildlife habitats like the the Burrowing Owls featured in the film. An interesting featurette since I myself have an interest in wildlife and zoology.
The cast and crew talk about ways that you can lend a hand and help out in wildlife preservation
Meet The Kids In The Cast:
The young cast talks about their experience on the film and what they took from it.
Animals In Action:
A featurette that goes into detail how animal trainers prepared the owls for use in the film.
Visit An Animal Rescue Center:
The director of the Falcon Bachelor Bird Of Prey Center talks about the importance of the film and what the center does for the birds. They also talk about how the birds are not allowed to be used for entertainment purposes unless it's for education, and how they allowed the use for the film.
Meet The Creator Of Hoot:
Author Carl Hiaasen talks about the book and how his childhood experiences inspired him to write the novel.
Jimmy Buffet: Filmmaker In Paradise-
Jimmy Buffet a filmmaker? Oh well, whatever makes him happy. The featurette has him talking about how wanted to try something new and went on to produce the movie. He says in the interview "how hard can it be?". That made me a bit mad considering there are producers who work their butts off to really put creative insight and manage the projects they do. Not to mention the thousands of up and coming filmmakers struggling to make it in the business. It may not be hard for you Jimmy, so go write your songs and leave filmmaking to the professionals please.
Director On Set:
A featurette dedicated to director Wil Shriner as he talks about the project and works on the set.
Feature Commentary With Director Wil Shriner & Novelist Carl Hiaasen:
The commentary track is mainly discussion about the subject matter and how they adapted the novel to film. Not that interesting.
Overall, the featurettes are plentiful and satisfyling. I think the extra features get the message of wildife preservation across better than the actual film did.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and actually the video is close to perfect. I haven't seen a transfer from New Line that I didn't like. No matter how flawed the film is you can't deny the gorgeous Florida setting where it takes place. While the cinematography is nothing to jump over there are some nice shots in the film and images are vivid. The picture is sharp with no major flaws, very nice.
We have a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that does the job. Ambient sound is spread out nicely with dialogue designated to the center channel. The songs are nice is 5.1 as well.
Standard single-disc case with an insert that advertises the soundtrack and other New Line family releases.
Overall, the film is not worth the time or money. If you want to get the most out of the story then read the book. The bonus features really boost the grade though.
Hoot was released May 5, 2006.