From the classic book by William H. Armstrong comes Disney's all-new production of SOUNDER, an uplifting story of one boy's faith, strength, and dogged determination. As Boy's (Daniel Lee Robertson III) family faces the daily struggles of Depression-era sharecroppers, a loyal coonhound named Sounder becomes their only real friend. Food is scarce, and nightly hunting trips offer little relief. In an act of desperation, Father steals to feed his hungry family. When Father is convicted, it triggers Boy's courageous journey to find him in the labor camps. Boy comes a long way to discover much more -- a friendly teacher, a hunger to read, and a better life.
In a quirk of film history, this new version of the 1972 classic
is directed by Kevin Hooks--who played the central role of the sharecropper's son in the original. That's a nice full circle, although it leaves unanswered a basic question: why bother remaking a movie that got it right the first time? The story is simplicity: a black family in the Depression suffers when the father is arrested for stealing a ham. The punishment? Five years, hard labor. Sounder
has an under-rehearsed, rushed quality common to low-budget TV pictures, although Carl Lumbly brings a powerful presence to the role of the father. (That's Paul Winfield, the star of the original, as the teacher who befriends the son.) The shortcomings may not matter much to the young audiences Disney targets, as they'll probably be too busy rooting for the return of the dog that gives the movie its name. --Robert Horton