Two decades ago, what is one of the best modern coming-of-age stories ever crafted was released in the form of 20th Century Fox’s baseball based story, The Sandlot. In the twenty years since that movie first debuted, it hasn’t’ lost a single bit of its shine, even with a previous Blu-ray release having been put out a little over two years ago. What continues to make The Sandlot so appealing to this day is its continued ability to relate to viewers of every age. It reminds older audiences what it’s like to be a kid. It reminds them of all the joys and simplicities of being young. And despite being set in the 1960’s, it’s a story to which even today’s younger audiences can relate. Older viewers remember the “good old days” of hanging out with friends, and getting into all kinds of trouble. They remember the joys of simply being kids as well as the trials and tribulations of being the “new kid” trying to fit in in a new environment. And even today’s generation knows of these joys. So for those audiences who have yet to see this movie, it makes for a nice addition to said individuals’ home libraries.
The Sandlot 20th Anniversary Edition was released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack last week, only a little over two years since its previous Blu-ray release. Little has changed between that release and this one. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The story is so enjoyable in its own right there really is no need for much in the way of bonus features. Though some audio commentary would have been a nice addition to offer viewers more insight into the story and how everything came into place. Especially being that 20th Century Fox is celebrating the movie’s 20th birthday, it would have been just as interesting to have any of the original cast members that could have been recruited to offer their own retrospective on the movie and its meaning to each one to this day. Perhaps that could be taken into consideration for the movie’s twenty-fifth or thirtieth anniversary edition.
The bonus features aside, The Sandlot 20th Anniversary Edition is still a wonderful addition to any family’s home library. It offers so many fun and funny moments both for parents and kids alike. Watching Squints fake a drowning in order to get a kiss from a certain young lifeguard is one of the story’s many funny moments. What young boy hasn’t fantasized the way that Squints did? And the boys’ various plans to get the Babe Ruth signed baseball back from “The Beast” will make viewers of all ages laugh. There is a certain reality to those scenarios. It’s one of those “boys will be boys” types of scenarios. And speaking of “The Beast”, his ability to thwart the boys’ every attempt is equally comical in its own way. Then of course, there is also the famous chase scene in which Benny is being chased by the massive Mastiff. The music and shooting style made this one of the movie’s best moments, if not the best moment in the movie. It’s tough to put a finger on exactly what makes this such a memorable moment. But audiences of all ages will love the entire sequence.
The chase scene with “The Beast” and the boys’ attempts to get Smalls’ signed baseball back make for their own share of enjoyment. Just as enjoyable and relatable is the story element of the myth surrounding the owner of “The Beast”, Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones). The boys all believe that Mr. Mertle is this evil man who told “The Beast” to eat a boy years ago. But after Benny retrieves Smalls’ baseball, the pair meets Mr. Mertle for himself, dispelling the myth once and for all. Again, while this story is set in the 1960s, this is another element to which audiences even today can relate. Every young generation has its myths surrounding certain figures. And the revelation about the figures’ always turns out to be entirely different from what is believed. It makes for yet another of so many great moments included by writer/director David Mickey Evans and co-writer Robert Gunter. The Sandlot 20th Anniversary Edition offers more memorable moments than could be shared in one sitting. There are so many that audiences will consider their favorites. And it’s because of this abundance of wonderful moments and equally wonderful writing (and camera work) that anyone who has yet to add this timeless story to their home library will want to do just that. The movie is now available in stores and online and can be ordered direct online via the 20th Century Fox store at http://www.foxconnect.com/the-sandlot-20th-anniversary.html.
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