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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 75:55)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 6 Deleted scenes
  • 2 Audio commentary - with Shia LaBeouf, Khleo Thomas, Jake M. Smith and Max Kasch; with director Andrew Davis and author/screenwriter Louis Sachar
  • 2 Featurette - The Boys of D Tent; Digging The First Hole
  • Animated menus
  • Music video - Dig It
  • Gag reel

Holes

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 113 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Holes. They can appear anywhere. Like on the very inside of this disc. Through a doughnut. How about in this film. Yeah, there’s some there too. However, oddly enough, the wholeness of Holes is somewhat unexpected, the product of a holy (cow) concept yet poorly written and executed.

Based on Louis Sachar’s novel of the same name, Holes tells the story of Stanley Yelnats (LaBeouf) who is riddled with bad luck due to the family curse. As it happens, Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake – sounds like fun, right? Well not quite, he and his camp comrades are worked like slaves for The Warden under the supervision of Mr. Sir, and for those concerned parents there is no Scary Movie Miss Man in sight. However, Stanley, nicknamed Caveman by his comrades Squid, Armpit, Zig Zag, Magnet, X-Ray and Zero, soon smells more than he’s supposed to and tries to dig a hole to discover the mystery behind Camp Green Lake. Why are they digging holes? Where is the lake? Who is the warden? And ultimately how can the family curse be lifted?

This reviewer was expecting typical Disney – fun, humour, adventure and light-hearted entertainment. However, these expectations were superseded, while a more simplistic and humorous approach would have impressed this reviewer more, something more like The Goonies. There are threads of action, threads of mystery, threads of adventure, threads of comedy and, of course, being Disney, threads of family. Parts of the film work so well, yet at times seem so disjointed from the rest of the film, tied only by that small strip of splicing tape. I think that one of the biggest problems at the moment with many films is that they are just about moments, rather than a hole, sorry, whole. For family entertainment that's a little bit more than a ball of fluff, Holes may be a good choice, especially for a family with boys around the ten-ish mark. If you’ve got some young girls, give Lizzie McGuire a go – it’s still Disney fun, but much more suited to a female audience. Uh scratch that one, this guy liked it...

  Video
Contract

The video is presented in an anamorphically enhanced aspect of 1.85:1, the intended theatrical aspect of the film. Overall, the transfer is really neat – just what we’ve come to expect from Buena Vista. Colours are bright and neatly defined, with film artefacts free from existence and film grain a minor haze. The biggest issue is with the slight occurrence of edge enhancement, something quite minor still in its own right. Apart from this minor niggle, things are just really... (holy)... sh...arp.

Subtitles for a swarm of languages, one being English, have been stuck on, and are helpfully accurate and well timed, yet, as with many of Buena Vista’s titles, can be a little abbreviated. The layer change at 75:55 is fast and relatively clean, however not ideally placed, smack bang in the middle of a conversation sequence.

  Audio
Contract

Out of the included audio tracks, the English Dolby Digital 5.1 is clearly the prime listening option. Dialogue is clear throughout the film, thrown discretely from the centre channel with no hint of synch issues whatsoever. Effects are pretty decent, offering a broad 5.1 mix, with a solidly built soundstage structured over a beefy bass line. Effects come at you in the appropriate places, however generally this soundtrack is centred towards the front end of the soundstage. The score, composed by Joel McNeely, is absolutely fitting for the film, filling in those silent holes with well-themed, composed and timed music cues, yet nothing terribly memorable.

  Extras
Contract

The menus for Holes are slickly animated and well-themed to the film. Anamorphically enhanced, the gateway to these extra features is conveniently the second option (out of four) on the main menu.

Up first are two featurettes giving a smidge of insight into the film. The first, The Boys of D Tent (10:39), is a conglomeration of interviews from the cast and crew about the film, and more specifically on the casting of the boys. The second featurette, Digging The First Hole (9:09), takes a look at the conversion of the popular novel into a screenplay, and the making of the film. The combination of these two featurettes is welcome, yet they do leave you meandering for more.

Six deleted scenes have been thrown in for good measure, however these are definitely six scenes which were deleted for a good reason. Adding nearly seven minutes to the film, they're rather plodding in nature and don’t offer anything exceptional to the film. The scenes are Meeting Mr. Sir (0:31), The Second Hole is the Hardest (1:32), Stanley Takes the Stand (1:26), D-Tent Backup (0:24), Letter for Stanley (1:10) and Stanley's Accident and the Warden's Pitchfork (1:38).

A 1:43 gag reel has been added, yet is rather uninteresting and gag-free. Definitely not the best example of this type of extra feature. The measly 1:09 music video of Dig It by the Boys of D Tent is too a bit of a waste of space.

Finishing up the list are two audio commentaries, one by the director and author/screenwriter, and the second by Shia LaBeouf, Khleo Thomas, Jake M. Smith and Max Kasch, four of the boys from the film. The first is a rather uninspiring look at the film, full of odd silent gaps - holes if you will - and very little in the way of interesting or informative content. The second is more amusing, but too content free. This is just a group of teenage boys talking about the movie and behaving just like, well, teenage boys.

  Overall  
Contract

Out of curiosity, I wonder if the reel cues on the original print were solid or holes? Is it sad to think about these things when watching this breed of film? Hmm, I just think it’s scary. But oh well. Buena Vista’s transfer is quite nice, giving a clean video transfer and easily accessible Dolby Digital English audio track, with a bunch of features that are as committed to providing insightful entertainment as are a group of teenage boys. Oh well, this is more of a film for family adventure rather than other Disney fun, so give it a spin these school holidays and see how you go.


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      And I quote...
    "Out of curiosity, I wonder if the reel cues on the original print were solid or holes?"
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS530
    • TV:
          Sharp SX76NF8 76cm Widescreen
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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