There are times when its easy to have a preconceived notion about a film. The trailer for Holes was nothing to be excited about, so I wasnt expecting much going into the film.Disneys latest, Holes was a pleasant surprise. Smart, funny and truly original, its a film capable of entertaining its young target audience as well as the parents who come along for the ride.Based on Louis Sachars popular childrens book, Holes tells the story of Stanley Yelnets, sentenced to a juvenile detention center after being wrongly accused of stealing a pair of sneakers. The detention center is in the middle of nowhere, a large barren dessert. The warden (Sigourney Weaver) and her henchmen (Jon Voight and Tim Blake Nelson) force the children to dig one large hole a day, claiming that it builds character, although they are actually forcing the kids to look for hidden treasure traced back to the wardens grandfather.Stanley befriends Zero (Khleo Thomas) and the pair soon discover the wardens plans, they also unlock keys to Stanleys past.Watching the story in Holes develop is an absolute treat. While Stanleys main story unfolds, the film gives us two flashback stories as well one involving Stanleys great-great-grandfather and the other about an Old West white school marm (Patricia Arquette) who befriends a black man, the latter leading to a tragic ending.As I watched the three stories unfold, I didnt know where the film was taking me, but I was willing to go along for the ride.Sachars story doesnt disappoint, and all three stories tie into a neat little package that works very effectively. I was also impressed with the way the Sachar wasnt afraid to tackle some very touchy subject matter, including racism and homelessness. Holes manages to handle them in a way that doesnt talk down to its target audience.Director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive) gives the film a nice look, and the films three stories are balanced seamlessly. The films performances work as well; Weaver, Voight and Nelson seem to be having a lot of fun with their characters. The child actors are just as effective as their grown-up counterparts, especially Thomas.Of course it helps when you have a script and story as original and refreshing as Holes. It is a true marvel that shouldnt be dismissed as just another kids film. Contact sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton at mcompton@bgdailynews.com, but dont be surprised if a reply takes a while … he recently disappeared into a mysterious hole in the newsroom floor after a coworker (who will remain nameless) convinced Micheal that hed dropped his pocket down there.HolesStarring: Shia LaBeouf, Jon VoightDirector: Andrew DavisRating: PG for some violence, mild language, thematic elementsPlaying at: Great Escape 12Grade: A-

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