tek's rating: ½

The Sandlot 2 (PG)
20th Century Studios; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; Wikipedia
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This is a direct-to-video sequel to the 1993 theatrical movie The Sandlot. It came out in 2005, but I didn't see it until 2014. I probably never would have seen it, except that it was included in a two-disc set I got of the original movie. (There's a third movie, which I may or may not ever see, which isn't included in the set.) Like the original, I probably could have filed this under "coming of age" or "family," and in fact I might say this is slightly closer, in my opinion, to being a coming of age story than the original was. But still, not really. And I guess mainly because I put my review of the original under "period," I might as well do that for this one, as well. (The original was set in 1962, this one in 1972.)

Um... it's actually kind of pointless to watch this movie, if you've seen the first one. The plot is almost identical. But I could say the same thing in reverse: there's not much point in watching the original, if you've seen this one. Most people would probably tell you the original was better, but I really don't see enough of a difference to call one better than the other. I mean, I rated this one slightly lower than the original, but that might just be on account of its being so... unoriginal. But seeing as I never loved the original, anyway, meh... I dunno. I thought it was okay. They're both okay. I guess. Well, I suppose I could say this one even has a slight edge, because it has a sort of feminist theme, though that's somewhat undercut by the silly extreme Hayley's mom takes it to. (I mean, not extreme, but... eh, whatevs.)

Anyway... there's this group of sixth-graders who like to play baseball on the same sandlot as the kids in the original movie. It's narrated from the future by a guy named Johnnie Smalls, the younger brother Scotty (who had narrated the first movie). In 1972, Johnnie was a fourth-grader who had, ironically, lived in town longer than any of the other kids. (I say ironically because in the original, Scotty was the outsider who had just moved to town). Johnnie doesn't know anything about baseball; he's obsessed with model rockets. One day he's setting one off on the sandlot, and when the older kids find him there, they think he's been sent by a little league team that wants to claim the sandlot for themselves. So they chase him onto a property that borders the sandlot, where he's defended by a girl named Hayley Goodfairer. Actually, there was an earlier scene where Hayley had met a boy named David Durango, one of the older kids who are now chasing Johnnie. And in that earlier scene, David had been unable to speak to her, because he was so nervous. Anyway, they obviously like each other, but neither of them says so until much later in the movie. In fact, most of the time, David seems like a jerk. You know, until he becomes the hero.

Um, so like, uh... well, I guess it was the day after they all chased Johnnie onto Hayley's property that the guys found Hayley and two of her friends on the sandlot, wanting to play baseball (or softball). One of the guys, Mac, gets involved in a bet that will determine which group, the guys or the girls, will get to keep the sandlot. And it turns out the girls, particularly Hayley, are really good. But inevitably, the guys and girls eventually team up against the team the guys had originally been worried about. Um... I suppose I should mention the other characters, but I really don't care. Hayley's friends were of no importance at all, and every single boy was an expy for one of the boys from the original movie, I think. But I should say that Hayley's dad works at NASA, so he and Johnnie bond over their mutual love of rockets. And that fact leads to the main plot point. ...Early on, in his narration, adult Johnnie had said what happened on the sandlot that summer had nothing to do with baseball, but they sure do play a lot of it before they finally get around to the thing that has nothing to do with it. And even then, it's just the same plot point as the original movie: something gets lost in the junkyard that borders the sandlot. This time it's not a baseball, but in fact something with seemingly far greater stakes. And again, the kids all have to try to get it back, but are thwarted by a huge dog. Johnnie was the only one who knew the story of the dog, which he called "the Great Fear," which was the son of the Beast from the original.

Aside from that, I really don't feel like saying anything about the plot, except to reiterate that it's nearly identical to the original, both the main plot and the side stories. But I will say there was a cool fireworks display on the Fourth of July. And I did find the movie reasonably amusing.

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