Wholesome DVD worth digging for

BY
BY FOREST CASEY
for the Daily
Published September 18, 2003

"Holes" tells the story of young Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf, "Even Stevens") wrongfully accused of stealing a famous pair of tennis shoes. Stanley is sentenced to 18 months at Camp Green Lake, a mysterious, dried-up lake where the inmates are forced to dig countless holes.

As Stanley adapts to camp life with actual criminals, he begins to solve the mystery of the holes and the true reason why he was sent to camp. It's an intriguing concept for a story, and the Disney production quality only aids it with impressive sets, Disney-esque characters and realistic costumes.

The acting is terrifically underplayed, with veterans Sigourney Weaver and Jon Voight (playing the camp's wardens) appearing in top form and LaBeouf giving a much different (and much more mature) performance from his normal fare on The Disney Channel.

The picture and sound are exactly what one would expect from a Disney film. Even when viewed on a high-resolution LCD monitor, the picture is sharp and, aside from occasional moments when the audio and video are not in sync, the Dolby Digital sound is crisp.

The special features also receive the Disney treatment, with stylized menus, a documentary about the child actors in the film that is not dull and deleted scenes that are actually worth watching.

Where they are least impressive is in the two audio-commentary tracks and the music video. Both feature the boys of the film (Yes, they are in a music video and yes, it is horribly awful), with the other commentary featuring the screenwriter and the director of "Holes" (Louis Sacher and Andrew Davis, respectively). The two commentaries simply do not bridge the gap between dull (the director and screenwriter audio track) and immature and childish (the child actors' track).

Overall, "Holes" is a fantastic, wholesome film for a first date or a viewing with the parents, and is even enjoyable enough for roommates to watch without the usual Disney stigma.

Film: 3 1/2 stars

Picture/Sound: 4 stars

Features: 3 stars