Children's films are predictable, soporific and preachy, or so the makers of this sequel seem to feel. Granted, they're still determined to explore thorny ethical issues rather than throw cheap adventure cliches at kinetically-inclined kids.
Dog-loving Marty Preston (Zachary Browne, replacing Blake Heron), who looks like a young Brad Pitt, lives in the small rural town of Friendly, where little has changed since the first film. Except that mean old Judd Travers (Scott Wilson), abusive previous owner of Marty's beloved beagle Shiloh,
is off the wagon in a big way, knocking down neighbors' mailboxes and poaching the Prestons' woods. Worse, his erratic behavior fans Marty's fears that he'll lose Shiloh. Saintly Marty (who's unlike any kid we've ever met) becomes intensely fascinated by the workings of human nature; not content
with having pried Shiloh from Judd, Marty tries lavishing on the backwoods bully the attention and benevolence his parents never gave him. Judd's abusive backwoods childhood is, of course, the cause of his meanness, though its causes are glossed over. Churlish as it may be to quarrel with
such a well-intentioned children's film, it's simply too long and repetitive. And for a dog movie, Shiloh doesn't get much screen time. Michael Moriarty and the mercurial Rod Steiger reprise their roles as Marty's father and confidant, Doc Wallace, and the filmmakers — perhaps sensitive to
the whitebread cast of the first film — add an African-American character, preachy seventh-grade teacher Miss Talbot (Dawn McMillan). Friendly being Friendly, she has to explain that she moved there from Philadelphia. If your youngster enjoyed the first SHILOH, there's no reason to believe
the second won't meet with similar approval. But unless you're partial to didactic morality tales, you may want to do the laundry while they watch.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: PG
- Review: Children's films are predictable, soporific and preachy, or so the makers of this sequel seem to feel. Granted, they're still determined to explore thorny ethical issues rather than throw cheap adventure cliches at kinetically-inclined kids. Dog-loving Ma… (more)