Holes: Phil Bray
Monica Mehta
September 26, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Kids will dig the big-screen adaptation of Louis Sachar’s best-selling, award-winning book about a group of delinquent boys who get caught up in an age-old curse as they shovel holes to ”build character” in a desert camp. The well-orchestrated mix of realism (merciless authority figures castigate youngsters) and magical fable (an unsuspecting boy’s familial legacy causes weird things to happen) brings to mind a certain other wildly popular kids’ book. (Think wizards.) But this tale is more grounded, with a prematurely mature Shia LaBeouf (”The Battle of Shaker Heights”) sagely leading a spirited group of young actors. EXTRAS Buried treasure’s more like it: Extensive interviews with actors and crew (including screenwriter Sachar), a gag reel, deleted scenes, and two commentaries leave no stone unturned.

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