June 5, 2015 by Liza Lou
The last time I took on a Disney live action film here it was all a bit meh but this week during family movie night saw Holes being pulled out of the DVD rack. I sat back with the kiddies and a whole load of calorific chocolate and gave it a bash.
Released in conjunction with Walden Media, who incidentally are bringing us Everest in September, Holes is the story of a wrongly convicted young boy who is sent to a detention camp. Whilst there, he is put to work digging holes for some mysterious reason under the watch of Mr Sir, Jon Voight (The Manchurian Candidate) and The Warden, Sigourney Weaver (Alien).
Shia LaBeouf (Transformers) plays Stanley Yelnats, the young boy in question, and overall is a likable character. LaBeouf makes Stanley come across as a misunderstood, generally nice guy who got a lot of sympathy from me. His acting was good enough for me to believe the characterisation and I cared about Stanley, more or less, from the beginning.
With elements of western, drama and adventure Holes uses flashbacks to fill in back story. At the very start of the movie this feels a little choppy and hard to understand but as time goes on it gets better. Halfway through, the main storyline plays alongside two different character stories and I liked this a lot. The themes within were historical and were as dramatic as Disney can be. In fact, once Stanley is at camp the mystery of the holes becomes the stories biggest pull and made the movie more than watchable.
Voight’s character is obviously meant to be the comedic break in what is essentially and adventure movie and it worked to an extent. Mr Sir with his funny way of walking and his funny way of talking made him almost cartoon like. He didn’t get many laughs from me however but the kids found him hilarious. Weaver, although the film’s main villain, is surprisingly likable. This role doesn’t demand the drama of the famous Alien franchise but her part is played well without being either over bearing or lost.
Stanley meets other young criminals whilst captured but none are really stand out. That is except Khleo Thomas (Walking Tall) as Zero. Simply speaking, Zero is adorable and the bond shown between him and Stanley is not only believable but totally on point. Thomas plays him as a sweet kid who is a little lost in the world but he is also tough as old boots.
Overall then I enjoyed Holes. It certainly wasn’t the best film I have ever seen but it was fun and enjoyable all the same. I will say that I was surprised to realise it was only 117 minutes because it did feel a little long at times. I also think I spotted a mini plot hole towards the end but I reasoned with myself that I look for these and it didn’t spoil anything really.
Sure it’s all extremely Disney and the ending ties it all up in a neat little ‘everything works out in the end’ bow but I expected that. Holes is a simple family movie that delivers enough to keep you entertained. I actually liked it!