A family friendly coming of age story with baseball at its center, it seems appropriate that the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Sandlot was released just a few days before the 2013 season openers. Narrated by an adult who remembers one extraordinary summer, and his buddies attempts to find a signed Babe Ruth baseball card.
In the summer of 1962, Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) has just moved to a small neighborhood in Los Angeles with his mother (Karen Allen) and new stepfather (Denis Leary). In a strange place and feeling alone, things begin to change when a boy who lives across the street befriends him. Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar) is the best player in a motley group of kids who spend their entire summer at a small, local field playing baseball. The other guys mock Scotty for his small stature and lack of athletic ability, but with Benny’s unwavering support he eventually gains acceptance.
The kids on the team fit all the loveable kid flick sterotypes: there’s Michael Squintz” Palledorous (Chauncey Leopardi), who wears thick glasses glasses, to the chunky, freckle-faced red-head, Hamilton “Ham” Porter (Patrick Renna), who eats s’mores by the fistfuls, Alan “Yeah-Yeah” McClennan (Marty York), the duck-walker who’s not afraid of heights; Tommy and Timmy Timmons (Shane Obedzinski & Victor DiMattia), the two brothers; Bertram (Grant Gelt), the tall lanky first baseman; and last but not least, DeNunez (Brandon Adams), the token black guy. These kids don’t necessarily fit in among the traditionally popular kids, but together, they have a great time.
That year, 1962, what starts out as a typical summer becomes unforgettable after a prized ball gets hit over the fence where a frightening junkyard dog lives. Some of the attempts to retrieve the ball feel a bit tedious at times, but for the most part, The Sandlot is well paced and the characters are fun to watch. The kids are a bit mischievous but likable.
Denis Leary and Karen Allen don’t add anything particularly memorable to the story. However, James Earl Jones as a former major league player who had to retire because a high inside fastball blinded him is wonderful. I only wish he had been given more screen time. While the ending of The Sandlot is a bit cheesy, and the search for the ball probably goes on too long, The Sandlot is an enjoyable film that many people, both young and old will enjoy.
I don’t know if this transfer is the same as the 2011 Blu-ray release, but the specs appear to be the same. Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer is a good one. There are no noticeable compression issues and only slight use of DNR. There’s a slight filmic grain, colors are rather vivid, and black levels are solid. Some scenes appear somewhat under lit, but that’s a minor gripe.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is fairly immersive. The beast is given a nice rumble. Dialogue and overlapping chatter come through pristinely through the front speakers, and the rears are appropriately used when called upon.
English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available.
In terms of special features, we get a straight port of the bonus features from the DVD edition, here you’ll find a short featurette (SD, 5:51), the film’s theatrical trailer (SD, 2:31), and a handful of TV Spots (SD, 3:44). The only “new “ things here is a set of 20th Anniversary Trading Cards featuring each of the players, 10% off coupon code for purchase of PF Flyers, and a DVD of the film.