Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: 'The Boys of D-Tent' featurette. 'Digging
the First Hole' featurette; Deleted scenes; Gag reel; Cast commentaries;
Director commentary; D-Tent Boys music video 'Dig It'.
ITS not often that a kids movie can be described
as being a little too mature for its target audience, yet Holes
could buck the trend by actually being a film that transcends
its age group.
Whether this works to the films advantage remains to be
seen, however, for while this is a film that the adults wont
mind taking their kids to, it remains to be seen whether such
an intelligent story will keep the little ones amused for its
In its favour, Disneys latest is adapted by Nobel Prize
winner, Louis Sachar, from his bestselling novel, which recently
topped a Read magazine poll of the most popular books among children,
beating even Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone.
Yet working against it, is the current fascination for quick-fix
eye candy, as dictated to by the MTV culture which exists among
the majority of todays youth, thanks to the proliferation
of computer games and pop videos that are never far from the screens.
Holes centres around luckless hero, Stanley Yates (Shia LaBeouf),
who is wrongly convicted of stealing some trainers, and sent to
a desert prison for juvenile offenders.
Under the strict control of The Warden (Sigourney Weaver), and
her two intellectually challenged henchmen, Mr Sir (Jon Voight)
and Dr Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson), the children are forced to
dig holes in search of clues to a lost fortune, while avoiding
the unwanted attentions of the local poisonous lizards.
The fortune in question was lost in the desert at the end of
an ill-fated romance between a wild west schoolteacher-turned-outlaw
(Patricia Arquette) and a black onion seller (Dule Hill), while
Stanleys plight is compounded by the fact that his family
has been cursed to bad luck, following the exploits of his great-great-grandfather,
which is also told in flashback.
With so much story, it is little wonder that younger members
of the audience will probably have difficulty keeping up, while
those who require a car chase, some special effects and a bit
of a bang for their buck will quickly become bored.
For those willing to stick with it, however, Holes builds nicely
to a suitably feelgood conclusion, emerging as the type of film
which can equally be enjoyed by the grown-ups.
Much of the reason for this lies in the appeal of its performances,
with Voigt, in particular, revelling in his evil role,
and the children, themselves, avoiding the need to become obnoxious.
There is also a delightful cameo from Henry The Fonz
Wrinkler, as Stanleys mad inventor father, which leaves
you wishing he was on-screen longer.
Director, Andrew Davis, deserves credit for keeping things as
lively as he does, while also not allowing too much sentiment
to dominate proceedings late on.
If Finding Nemo is undoubtedly
the hot ticket for all the family at the moment, Holes could yet
provide a neat alternative for those willing to investigate its
charms. It is a wily and amusing customer with a heart-warming
story to tell.