A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie about pirates, a ghost, buried treasure, and a musical swamp creature does not find its groove. Three kids follow a dare to find a treasure and get lost in the swamp overnight. They also find the ghost of Pirate La Rouge, which might be scary to younger viewers. One of the kids is a bully, calling the other two names throughout the film. The kids are never really threatened, but the bad guys do kidnap one of them, though he's able to escape handily.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
On the bus ride home from school, The Toddster (Bryan James Kitto) brags that he knows where a ghost can be found, but Gavin (Darnell J. Hamilton) and Emily (Marissa Cuevas) are convinced that he's lying. To prove that he's for real, Todd takes the two doubting kids deep into the bayou, where they begin a search for the Pirate La Rouge's treasure. Meanwhile, two developers are trying to buy the land to put an oil refinery in the swamp. The kids get lost, consequently meeting a strange creature called the Labou and an oddball relative to the Pirate La Rouge. They band together to save the swamp from the money hungry developers and look for the hidden treasure.
Is it any good?
You want it to be good, you really do. It's got a lot of great ingredients: pirates, treasure, kids lost in the bayou, the real mayor of New Orleans, a handful of jazz legends, and a strange-looking puppet called the Labou. But, sadly, this movie could be out-shined by any number of school play productions. The cast members are not given a whole lot to work with (how many times can a kid say "whatever" in a single movie?) so kids aren't likely to identify with the young characters.
Moreover, the Labou itself is a sideline to all of the other stuff going on. The magical creature, whose whistles are rumored to be the inspiration for jazz, gets tossed in Emily's backpack and tweets once in a while to show that it's alive, but that's about it. Some kids will enjoy the adventure, although adult fans of New Orleans culture are likely to be disappointed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about ghosts. Are ghosts always scary? The Pirate Le Rouge's ghost is at times helpful and at times menacing. Why do people believe in ghosts? When does it get too scary to think about ghosts? Parents can check out these tips to help their kids navigate the scary stuff in movies.
A box of doughnuts makes the kids in the movie go nutty. Do certain foods change your behavior? Here are some facts about food that might make you wonder why that box of doughnuts showed up in the movie to begin with.
The Toddster bullies the other kids by calling them names and hiding the map that they're using. Why does he do this? How could Gavin and Emily do better at standing up to him? Does he learn his lesson?
- On DVD or streaming: May 19, 2009
- Cast: Bryan James Kitto, Darnell Hamilton, Marissa Cuevas
- Director: Greg Aronowitz
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Pirates, Puppets
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: General Audiences
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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