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20th Century Fox presents
The Sandlot 2 (2005)

"You wanna beat those Little League jerks, right? Well, them are the answer."
- Mac (Brett Kelly)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: May 03, 2005

Stars: James Earl Jones, Cole Evan Weiss, Brett Kelly, James Willson, Max Lloyd-Jones, Samantha Burton
Other Stars: Sean Berdy, David Mickey Evans
Director: David Mickey Evans

Manufacturer: Deluxe
MPAA Rating: PG for Language, Rude Humor and Brief Violence
Run Time: 01h:37m:39s
Release Date: May 03, 2005
UPC: 024543176060
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+AA+ B+

DVD Review

The 1970s made a major change in the participation of women and girls in sports. The enactment of Title IX guaranteed gender equity in athletics, just the most visible example of the sea change that overcame previously male-dominated activities. This followup to 1993's charmer The Sandlot goes through most of the same paces, while bringing the female element into the scenario to give it a slightly different outlook.

Set 10 years after the original, in the summer of 1972 (probably not coincidentally, the year Title IX was enacted), another crew of boys are playing baseball in the same sandlot, next to grumpy Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones) and The Great Fear, the offspring of his giant dog Hercules from the earlier film. The boys include wannabe soldier Mac (Brett Kelly) and blonde heartthrob David Durango (Max Lloyd-Jones). Two new kids are added into the mix: rocket-crazy Johnnie Smalls (James Willson)—apparently the younger brother of Scotty Smalls of the first film—and young girl Hayley Goodfairer (Samantha Burton). Hayley and her friends want to move in on the sandlot for their own softball games, but romance between her and David Durango quickly flares. Unfortunately for Johnnie, Hayley's father is a NASA engineer, and he has a working model of the space shuttle in his garage. Johnnie accidentally sets it off, and the shuttle of course lands in Mr. Mertle's back yard, guarded by The Great Fear.

This direct-to-video release is passable on its own terms, but it probably isn't going to satisfy fans of the original film. As the synopsis will indicate, other than the addition of girls to the story and a slightly different McGuffin (the space shuttle as opposed to a Babe Ruth baseball), it's a complete retread of the first film with different kids. For those who are perfectly happy with the familiar, it will probably suffice. The repetition factor is emphasized by the opening, which has clips and scenes from the first picture that are recreated with mild variations in this sequel. There hardly seems a point to redoing what was already pretty good.

That said, the kids are once again quite serviceable. Brett Kelly is entertaining as the requisite fat kid, and Max Lloyd-Jones does a reasonably good job with a thankless Prince Charming role, though writer/director David Mickey Evans gives the character a secret history with The Great Fear that provides a little more depth than was the case in the first go-round. The female lead, Samantha Burton, is a little stiff but plausible enough while pitching. She looks like a pubescent Angelina Jolie, complete with puffy lips. Political correctness is the order of the day, with not only feminism but sensitivity for the handicapped in the person of a deaf boy who ends up mainly being comedy relief (repeating the kissing scene, for instance). On the positive side, the film avoids preachiness from the kids' perspective, since Hayley is only annoyed by her mother's feminist rants and just wants to play the game.

As was the case in the earlier picture, there's a quotation from a classic film, in this case The Great Escape with a score suggestive of Elmer Bernstein's main theme and a tunnel gambit complete with a rolling cart on which Mac lies. It's a cute idea but it just goes on way too long to be very gratifying. James Earl Jones for some reason consented to be involved again, but his screen time is limited to a short scene right at the end.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: This disc features a pan-and-scan version on side A and an anamorphic widescreen version on side B. There's significant picture loss in the pan-and-scan version. The widescreen one is essentially flawless, which is as it should be for a brand new film. Color, texture, detail, and black levels are all excellent. Edge enhancement is not generally noticeable.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 DD track sounds fine, with no noise or hiss. There's not much of a range, though there's some acceptable bass during the launch of the shuttle. The soundstage is fairly narrow and there's not a lot of surround activity.

Audio Transfer Grade: A+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Sandlot
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by writer/director David Mickey Evans
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are an unusual number of useful extras for a direct-to-video title. David Mickey Evans, creator of both Sandlot films, provides a commentary that laments the limitations of the budget but is generally uncritical about the results. He does have some entertaining anecdotes, though, so fans of the films will be interested in checking this out. Intriguingly, the 1972 setting is when he states he was himself growing up, so the 1962 setting of the first film seems an odd choice. 1982 is probably out of the question, since by then sandlot baseball was replaced by basketball hoops for good. A featurette (10m:02) takes a look at some of the child actors from the first film today. They really don't have a lot to add, but it is mildly interesting to see how they've changed. There's also a demo of a Backyard Baseball game, which requires a DVD-ROM and Windows 98 or higher.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

A decent enough movie in its own right, though it's pretty much just a rehash of the original. One or the other, but both is too much.


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