I turned this movie on last night, feeling like an intrepid reporter. I had come prepared: my dog-eared copy of Holes, a thick pad of paper, and a pen. I planned to take extensive notes. I had the remote poised and ready to pause this thing at the exact moment of any potential inconsistency, so I could immediately look it up in the text.
The film opened and I chuckled smugly as the boys came into view, digging holes while wearing hats with flaps to protect their necks.
“He was also given white sneakers, an orange cap, and a canteen made of heavy plastic, which unfortunately was empty. The cap had a piece of cloth sewn on the back of it, for neck protection.”
Okay…guess I’m wrong about that one. Moving on…
As this movie went from scene to scene…following the book almost to the word on some pages…maintaining almost everything…even the tricky flashbacks which I was 100% sure that they’d never be able to duplicate in film…even the food served in the cafeteria…I realized that this was actually the most faithful film adaptation of any book I’d ever seen. EVER.
My notes are one half-filled page and are comprised of things like, “Kate Barlowe = HELL YES” and “Wasn’t the nail polish red in the book, not pink?” (I was really grasping at straws on that one.)
What are the chances? My first Book vs. Movie post and I have almost no differences to speak of! But, I will soldier on! I’m not a fancy blogger with three posts under her belt for nothing (that’s right, I said three). So basically what I'm saying is that I'm here today to eat crow and tell you all how awesome this movie is.
There are a few other minor differences, but they're so minor that it feels sort of petty to bring them up. For example, Stanley’s Dad is developing a way to recycle sneakers in the book, and accidentally comes across a treatment for foot odor. In the movie, he’s trying to cure foot odor all along. Some of the scenes are switched around (although nothing major). There’s an added scene about the yellow spotted lizards, and everything about Stanley’s day in school (prior to his arrest) is cut out (which I think was about 1-3 pages total in the book). See? It’s barely worth mentioning.
Okay, so I actually do have ONE complaint: the casting of Stanley. In the book, he is a tall, heavy boy who’s often confused for a bully even though he’s quite meek on the inside. He’s also teased at school about his weight. I loved that Stanley’s outside would become a label. In the movie he’s played by a young Shia Labeouf, and while I liked his performance well enough, he definitely doesn’t look anything like the Stanley Yelnats that I know. He looks like a skinny, non-threatening nerd.
The other performances are all wonderful. Sigourney Weaver as the warden is quietly frightening and obsessive. Tim Blake Nelson is a smiley but cruel “nice guy” with a beard and a perpetually sunburned nose as Mr. Pendansky. And Patricia Arquette and Dulé Hill even made me a bit teary with the Kate Barlow/Sam flashbacks.