(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Holes. The song "If Only" by Fiction Plane plays throughout)
Doug (vo): Every time I do one of these themed months, I always come across a pleasant surprise that I didn’t see coming, and this month, it was definitely Holes. This is a movie I remember a lot of people were talking about when they saw the trailers because I guess it was based on a popular book, but then when it was released, it just sort of came and went and nobody talked about it anymore. So, I didn’t really know what to expect out of it, nor had any idea what it was about. But, thankfully, I found this was a very enjoyable, very smart, and very well-acted movie. Okay, what’s the premise?
Doug (vo): A kid, played by Shia LaBeouf, is arrested because he apparently stole some shoes, though, really, it just dropped on his head. The shoes apparently belong to a sports star who is auctioning it off for charity, which gives the crime a much bigger sentence. He’s given a choice: he can either do prison, or this special kind of camp where they do nothing but dig holes, and apparently, that’s supposed to work on their...I don’t know...teamwork or something. It’s not quite sure why they’re digging the holes, I mean, okay, let me put it this way. It’s obvious these people that they clearly establish as the bad guys are doing it for some reason, but why anyone is actually going along with it is a bit of a puzzle, and, yeah, I could even argue a bit of a problem with the movie.
Doug (vo): But if you can see past that, and I’ll totally understand if somebody can’t, there’s a lot of colorful characters you get to know. It’s funny, because after watching The Princess Diaries and hearing kids so not talk the way that kids talk, it’s nice to see a film that actually came much closer, at least, in terms of a Disney film. You know these kids aren’t gonna drop the F-bomb or say any swear words, but the way they deliver these lines is actually pretty convincing. It actually reminded me a lot of Goonies. There’s sort of this real-talk to the way they say everything. Much of the movie is just focusing on the connections that Shia LaBeouf makes with the other boys, which is really kind of refreshing. That’s not to say there’s not another story going on and that there is, of course, a reason that they are digging for the holes and they keep cutting back and forth in between these other stories and flashbacks. But the focus is still the relationship with all the other boys. So if the acting and the writing with them is not done very well, this could easily fall apart. But it is done very well, and for the most part, it’s pretty convincing.
[Several flashback scenes are shown]
Doug (vo): Without giving too much away, there are cutaways to another story about their past and this kind of curse that started with LaBeouf’s family also connecting to an outlaw, and it’s actually one of the few times where the flashbacks and the present story they’re telling both work and are both very enjoyable. Whenever it cuts away, I never think to myself, "Oh, we have to go back to that story?" No, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to what happens in every single one that they cut to, and that’s very rare. There usually is one that I prefer more than the other, but here, it’s perfectly balanced.
[The film's villains, the Warden, Mr. Sir, and Dr. Pendanski, are shown in a couple of clips]
Doug (vo): That’s Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson and Sigourney Weaver as the people who run the place, and they hit just the right amount of over-the-top, not quite laughably bad, but just enough to be kind of intimidating and kind of silly. They hit just the right mark.
[Several editing shots of the movie are shown]
Doug (vo): If I did have a problem with the movie, I would say that the editing maybe isn’t that hot. Like I said, there’s a lot of cutaways in this film, and whenever it does cutaway, it sort of happens out of nowhere and they don’t really segue. As the film progresses on, you get used to it, but, yeah, it is kind of distracting, especially at the beginning. I would admit, when the film began, I was also really worried when I saw his father, played by Henry Winkler, who’s working on some sort of formula that can make it so that feet don’t stink anymore. Yeah, I was thinking to myself, "Are we really doing this kind of movie?" But it’s really quick, and the focus isn’t on that. They’re in it for a very short time. There’d usually be a lot more supernatural elements or a lot more action, but even the climax of the movie is not really that big, it’s actually pretty subdued.
Doug (vo): But that’s the perfect kind of tone the movie is going for, and it really, really works. All these actors, particularly the boys, do a great job, and I have no problem believing them whatsoever. And the backstories, like I said, are wonderful, too. So, yeah, I can’t really find that much to dislike about this movie. It’s no great, big, grand epic, but it is a really legit good film. If you got the time, check it out. There’s a lot of good things to dig up.
[A scene showing the God's Thumb mountain, where Stanley and Zero have climbed and reached the top, is shown]