Hoot: A Cute Lil’ Tale of Eco-Terrorism

By May 9, 2006General

Opening this week at #10 in the box office is the PG-rated “family film” Hoot, adapted from the Carl Hiassen book of the same name. It depicts a group of young teens resorting to, well, eco-terrorism to thwart the construction of a pancake house in an area they believe is habitat to some friendly neighborhood owls. According to a review of the film by Marc Morano, the tactics used by this lovable bunch of kids include:

— Sabotaging a construction site;

— Gagging a land developer and holding him hostage;

— Vandalizing of heavy machinery, theft of parts and flattening of tires;

— Spray painting a police car;

— Trespassing and ripping up surveyors’ stakes;

— Putting alligators and poisonous cottonmouth snakes (presumably neither of these are endangered) at the construction site.

Reportedly, the teenagers also debate stealing the construction trailer and sinking it into a nearby canal to further delay the project. “You gotta start thinking like an outlaw”, says one teen to another in the movie’s trailer.

How darn cute is that?!?

It is, of course, the triumph of political correctness, a world in which the politically-correct ends justify the politically-incorrect means. What the hey, nobody gets hurt, right? Coincidentally (not!) this weekend, the Center for Biological Diversity launched a nationwide “Give a Hoot” campaign to protect imperiled owls. (A little too much coordination for comfort, no?) “Unfortunately,” says their spokesperson, “destruction of habitat for rare owls is not only part of a novel or Hollywood script.” Apparently, lawlessness in pursuit of what they perceive to be a desirable end makes for a perfect Hollywood script. Oh, and speaking of Hollywood, Morano notes that at film’s end, the project manager for the company is arrested for violating environmental protection laws — the perfect Hollywood ending.

The only good news in all of this is that #10 at the box office on your opening weekend is really nothing to crow about, and at least one major paper has already pronounced Hoot a “flop.” Maybe parental appetite for preachy liberal fare — much less a film that advocates lawlessness — is waning.

If so, that would be the happiest ending of all.