(Bryan James Kitto, Darnell Hamilton, et al / DVD / G / (2007) 2009 / Cinema Libre)
Overview: After they come across an old treasure map, three school chums embark on an adventure-filled search for the legendary Captain LeRouge's lost pirate ship, which, according to tale, sits somewhere in the swamps of Louisiana. With the newly acquired help of an adorable magical swamp creature named Labou, the children must not only race against an oil tycoon's rapid purchasing of the land, but brave a confrontation with the ghost of LeRouge himself, who also scours the bayou in search of his ship.
DVD Verdict: 'Labou' casts a Caucasian boy, an African-American boy, and an Asian girl, all about age 12, in the three leading roles and has them tring to work together for a common cause. The film talks about not taking animals from their wild habitats (in this case, the magical Labou) and the misuse of the scenic and natural wonders of the land through digging up and refining oil.
And so yes, 'Labou' is a really fun adventure film that appeals to the kid in all of us. I watched it with my 8-year old niece and a few of her friends and we absolutely loved it!
The story (about 3 kids in search of lost pirate treasure) is heartfelt, the characters are genuine (and some quite hilarious), and, perhaps most importantly, the plot line incorporates life lessons on the value of friendship, trust and perseverance that every kid should experience. Labou, the mystical swamp creature that is at the center of the film, is compelling and funny, and adds a fantasy element to the story that tugs at the imagination and makes us all wish we were kids again.
TG Solomon, a major investor in the film, wanted to make a family picture, and this certainly is one! Labou was being made on location when Hurricane Katrina was coming to New Orleans in late August of 2005, and the cast itself was evacuated only two days beforehand.
The movie was not able to continue to be shot until five months later, and thus it is "Dedicated To The People Of Louisiana And Their Courage To Rebuild." This a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the following Special Features:
Audio Commentary from Director Greg Arnowitz, producer Sheri Bryant and Actor Chris Violette
The Making of 'Labou' Featurette
The Casting Process Featurette
Building 'Labou' Featurette
The Music of 'Labou' Featurette
Special Effects Featurette
New Orleans: Points of Interest Featurette