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Angels in the Endzone DVD Review

Buy Angels in the Endzone on DVD from Amazon.com Angels in the Endzone
Movie & DVD Details

Director: Gary Nadeau

Cast: Paul Dooley (Coach Buck), Matthew Lawrence (Jesse Harper), David Gallagher (Kevin Harper), Jack Coleman (Peter), Lynda Boyd (Grace), Allan Zinyk (Artie), Christopher Lloyd (Al), Curtis Bechdholt (Shotgun), Jason Emanuel (Kerner), Trevor Roberts (Hogg), Jamie Lawson (Tyler)

Original Air Date: November 9, 1997

Running Time: 87 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Aspect Ratio)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (French)
Subtitles: English, Spanish; Closed Captioned

Release Date: April 6, 2004
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5); White Keepcase
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99; Reduced from $19.99

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Westfield High School's football team is dreadful. The Angels haven't won a game in years, and this season doesn't appear to be any different.
Jesse Harper (Matthew Lawrence, "Boy Meets World") appears to be a bright spot for Westfield as the team's new tailback. But then, something happens (it's on the back of the package, but it's a bit more of a 'spoiler' than I'd like to reveal), and suddenly Jesse's no longer playing. He didn't really quit the team, he's just kind of stopped playing.

Jesse's younger brother Kevin (David Gallagher of "7th Heaven") prays one night for some divine intervention, and the real-life angels respond! They're headed by Al (Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future), the sole returning character from the 1994 Disney film that this follows. As in Angels in the Outfield, the winged helpers provide much-needed assistance for the team of misfits.

Suddenly, Westfield is on a winning streak, and Kevin becomes a lucky charm for Coach Buck (Paul Dooley, Sixteen Candles) and company, not unlike Roger Bomman, from the first film. Meanwhile, though, Jesse is starting to hang around with a bad crowd and engage in shady activities. Will he return to the team? Will the Angels win the whole thing? Hey, I'm not going to give it away!

Veteran actor Paul Dooley plays Westfield's Coach Buck. Matthew Lawrence enjoys a locker sit.

I consider Angels in the Outfield one of Disney's best films from the '90s. It's a bit predictable, and not exactly subtle, but far more importantly, it's funny and really has its heart in the right place. This made-for-TV sequel debuted in the fall of 1997, the season that marked the return of "The Wonderful World of Disney." I'm less enthusiastic about it, as it feels more of a retread and not nearly as well-performed.

Endzone sticks closely to the formulas that Outfield employed. The device of the radio announcer returns, although this time, he's more odd than obnoxious and cynical. There's even a scene when a rousing song accompanies wacky fieldplay when the football goes wild (at the hands of the angels), which almost exactly calls to mind the classic "Hippy Hippy Shakes" sequence from the original.

Unfortunately, the film doesn't match either Angels in the Outfield's comedic or dramatic effectiveness. It probably comes closer to the latter, as it passably pulls off the solemn thematic material. Comedically, it's a lot weaker. Christopher Lloyd, has a few good lines, but the misfit team doesn't rise above "mildly amusing." Whereas the original's team of oddball characters was a bit reminiscent of the likable Major League, this group has a chemistry that feels more like Revenge of the Nerds II.

Kevin (David Gallagher) knows the universal signal for calling angels. This is one cool pack of angel apparitions.

There's this one kid who wants to keep his jersey clean and another who wears glasses. Then, there's a foreign kid who, expecting European football, becomes the team's kicker. He's foreign because he's not the best with English,
and he wears his jock strap on the outside of his pants, which are sometimes put on backwards altogether.

Certain elements don't make sense. Why do the loser kids keep betting against their high school even after they start winning without fail? Why does this high school football team have the play-by-play of their games broadcast on the radio, and by a professional, no less? Why does the "Angels" disappear from the team's uniform before the final game? Why does it instantly turn from afternoon to night within the moments before the big final play? Chances are you may not care, but they stand out as flaws in logic to what could have been an even better sequel.

While Angels in the Endzone just doesn't deliver its story as genuinely as Angels in the Outfield, it manages to stay inoccously entertaining. Paul Dooley isn't as flashy as Danny Glover, but he reliably turns in a fine performance as the coach. Matthew Lawrence's performance also helps to keep the film from subpar territory of schlock.

Christopher Lloyd has made a career out of playing oddballs, makes this his first sequel since "Back to the Future Part III." Coach Buck (Paul Dooley) and Jesse (Matthew Lawrence) have a nice heart-to-heart in the bleachers.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Video quality was pretty good, if unspectacular. The film appears to be kind of a low budget production, and the picture won't leap off the screen the way it does for recent theatrical movies. Nonetheless, there were no problems I could see with it. The print was clean and without any imperfections of any kind. Colors were a bit muted, but I'm sure that's the way it was created and aired. Overall, this is a fine presentation of this telemovie, and surely exceeds the broadcast quality. The film is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

Angels in the Endzone boasts a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. It is a rather restrained audio presentation, certainly not as exciting as its theatrical predecessor's sound mix. Dialogue and music are crisp and do not suffer from any problems. The audio relies primarily on the front speakers, and I can't recall any sound effects that made use of the split rear speakers. This audio track is an adequate presentation for the film. A 2.0 Surround track is also included for a French dub.

Try to contain your excitement over the "Angels in the Endzone" DVD's Main Menu.

EXTRAS

The disc opens with a 90-second trailer for live action Disney movies, highlighting the studio's films from the last few years like The Rookie, Holes, Tuck Everlasting, Freaky Friday, Remember the Titans, Snow Dogs, and The Princess Diaries. This is also accessible from the main menu as "Sneak Peeks."

The lack of extras is not surprising for a television movie. There is an insert authoritatively called "DVD Guide" which promotes Angels in the Outfield, Angels in the Infield, and The Rookie on one side and lists the film's eleven chapters on the other.

Menus are colorful but basic 16x9 stills.

He can stand and look. He can run in the dark. Is there anything Matthew Lawrence can't do?

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Angels in the Endzone can't compare with Angels in the Outfield, but it is not entirely without its charms. Disney has given the film a perfectly fine DVD release, which should please fans of this sequel. Endzone is not one of the best Wonderful World of Disney originals, but it certainly is better than many television movies. If you're on the fence, you might wish to wait for a price drop. (Since this review was first published, that has already happened.) If you enjoyed Angels in the Endzone, you'll love Angels in the Outfield, the theatrical film this follows, which is the more worthy purchase if you don't already have it.

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Related Reviews:
Angels in the Outfield (1994) | Angels in the Infield (2000)
Gus (1976) | The Big Green (1995) | The Rookie (2002)
Oliver Twist (1997) | The Mighty Ducks (1992) | Remember the Titans (2000)
Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season (1993-94) | Cars (2006)

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Reviewed March 27, 2004.