Making the Grades
Pirates, mythical creatures, a strong environmental message and children who have to save the day are all elements in this direct-to-DVD production.
Set in the Louisiana bayou, Labou is the story of three young classmates, one of which is bound and determined to prove there is a ghost living in the swamp. The disembodied spirit he has seen belongs to Captain LeRouge (Barnie Duncan), a pirate whose ship and its treasure was lost during a violent storm 200 years earlier.
Since then, the locals have been repeating the legend of LeRouge, but Emily (Marissa Cuevas) and Gavin (Darnell Hamilton) don’t really care about the missing gold coins. They just want to prove to "Toddster" (Bryan James Kitto) that they aren’t afraid of any phantoms. After stealing an ancient map from the library, they follow "Toddster" into the dense overgrowth and come upon an abandoned, decaying mansion. Inside they stumble upon evidence that someone is living in the creepy house. But the real surprise comes when they discover the identity of the occupant.
Meanwhile, a shady business tycoon (Earl Scioneaux) and his son (Chris Violette) are making a private deal with New Orleans’ leading government official (played by the city’s real mayor Ray Nagin). They want to buy a large parcel of land where the marsh is located and build a massive oil refinery. Promising significant perks to the politician, the two unscrupulous entrepreneurs head out in the woods to stake their claim. Unfortunately for them, they aren’t planning on running into the children or the magical creature, known as a Labou, which lives in the wetlands.
Moments of peril for the trio of friends and the other inhabitants of the bog will likely cause the most concern for young viewers of this film. There are also brief depictions of a rioting, drunken crowd and a powerful, tropical storm, both set in a historical period. As these preadolescents overcome differences to become friends, they learn some important lessons about working together to accomplish a big task.
In typical fashion, the adults don’t fair well in this film—most of them are depicted as incompetent or at the very least just plain silly. However, the environmentally minded efforts of the young protagonists and their cooperative approach to problem solving are positive lessons from the everglades.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Labou.
In what ways do these friends learn to overcome their differences? What strengths do each of them contribute?
Known for its unusual beauty, you can learn more about the Louisiana Bayou and the animals that live there.