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Small Soldiers
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Small Soldiers More at IMDbPro »

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43 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Hey now, negative reception?

Author: Dragoneyed363 from United States
4 July 2008

I had been aware of the gem, yes, gem, that is Small Soldiers ever since I was quite little. I had also always owned it, and had watched it on numerous occasions. Time went by without a watch for many, many years, as I lost interest in it for a awhile, and then later on, when I became more indulged in the film life, I saw it in my collection and decided it was time to freshen up on it. I popped it in and was ready to be overwhelmed with the memories of how great this film truly manages to hold up being over time.

I thought this movie was overall just a really great and enjoyable little film that even though it was just meant for entertainment, ended up being so lovable and cherished, much more than I thought I would love and cherish it. What was really that bad about it, folks? I have heard a lot of negativity directed at this film for being a weak Dreamworks animation with practically no depth or originality. Depth? Originality? You were honestly looking for those qualities with Small Soldiers? Maybe if you would lighten up on it, you'd enjoy it for the truly fun and enticing film it is. Some I bet were already even doubting it from the start, which that's no way to enter with a film as lighthearted and good-willed as Small Soldiers.

Most of the comedic antics were quite laughable, and that's laughable in the tasteful kind of way, especially the renovated Barbies and cowardliness of the Gorgonites. It completely entertains you, and it certainly keeps you interested through the whole movie with the fun characters and non-stop deliverance of toy warfare and excellent voice-overs. The fighting scenes were cool and amusing, and the script was pretty different and new, even though many think Dreamworks tries to silently and sneakily follow in the footsteps of previous Disney/Pixar films that are big hits, in this case, Toy Story.

I don't see why this movie has the rating it does, for I thought a lot more people would've liked it better than this, but I guess not everybody can spot a great film when they see one. If you haven't seen this movie yet, I completely recommend it, because it is a nice little movie that I am honored to own. It is getting too much harsh treatment. I had loads of fun watching it, always have, and I'm sure you will too, in the right mood. Plus, I love the usage of the song "Wannabe" at the right time in this film; forever a Spice Girl fan.

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39 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Great fun!

Author: INFOFREAKO from Perth, Australia
30 June 2001

Who would have thought? A "family film" that doesn't suck! Small Soldiers, while not perfect, is still great fun. It's success is completely down to Joe Dante, a guy with an obvious love of classic b-grade, sf, horror and exploitation movies. It's no suprise he started his career with Roger Corman. Small Soldiers is basically a variation on his previous Gremlins ( cute, seemingly harmless, kiddie-friendly objects run amok) but I enjoyed it more.

You can always tell how smart a movie is by its supporting cast, and the presence of the legendary Dick Miller ( a Dante mascot), Phil Hartman, Dennis Leary, and Mr Show's David Cross, not to mention the terrific voice talent, emphasize just how cluey Small Soldiers is. And any movie with Bride Of Frankenstein references gets my thumbs up!

I hope Dante brings Dick Miller back to the big screen SOON! We need him!

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33 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Nostalgia at its best. Underrated and Forgotten.

Author: Joshua Cimarric-Penczek from Austin, Texas
26 July 2010

I found this movie in my attic recently. When I was looking at the VHS, nostalgia instantly flew back into me. I remember the toys, I remember seeing this is theaters opening day, and I remember me and my friends playing our own version of "Small Soldiers" at our local park. Great memories...

I was SO baffled to see a 5.9 rating on IMDb. Why? This is a great family\action film. After seeing the rating and many negative reviews, I decided to watch it again on VHS.

Well, I liked it then, and I liked it now! Still, it was a good film. What I liked the most was the music and the special effects. The musical score was outstanding and so was the "War" remix. The CGI in the film amazes me on so many levels...I thought they were real!

Overall, if you like edgy family films, watch 'Small Solders'. I think you will enjoy it.

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30 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Small Soldiers is good old fashioned, Tongue-in-cheek fun.

Author: Tophee from PA, USA
1 January 1999

Small Soldiers is good old fashioned, Tongue-in-cheek fun.

Regular movie watchers will see many of their favorite characters, all caricatured here together as either a Commando-Elite or a Gorgonite warrior.

The names of the characters, particularly the Commando-Elite, are extremely good, and worthy of an award of their own.

Although some of the animation is a little wooden, that just seemed to add to the whole flavour of the film.

As long as you don't have any pre-conceptions about this film, and ignore the hype, you are in for some highly entertaining fun. After all, who can watch a room full of bikini-clad barbie-dolls-with-attitude, "playing with their owner for a change", without breaking into a grin...

Favorite quote: "Lets see how you like being played with"

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34 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Far Better Than I Expected

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
10 September 2003

Ah yes a Hollywood family film in the same vein as TOY STORY , so expect some highly patronizing , derivative drivel , or rather don`t because I found SMALL SOLDIERS to be a far better film than I expected . Much of this was down to the fact that the movie doesn`t talk down to its audience and the fact I didn`t have to put up with a myriad of scenes featuring bad CGI. Okay fair enough , it`s very obvious that`s a GI Joe doll trailing along on a bicycle but in the context of the story that`s exactly what it`s supposed to be . SMALL SOLDIERS also makes witty references to the likes of PATTON and THE TERMINATOR , ( See if you can spot them ) and what a charming creature Archer of the Gorgonites is . Gorgonites ! You`ve gotta love that name

I enjoyed this movie and despite it not being an all time classic I do recommend it as an entertaining family film

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20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A Solid Answer to Disney/Pixar's Toy Story

Author: Nicole Gius from Dallas, Texas
14 June 2011

Let's be honest, the concept of Small Soldiers(toys coming to life) came from Toy Story. However, DreamWorks came up with a MUCH different plot and the result is a great-and grossly underrated-family movie/action flick with top notch CGI.

I'm sure many say DreamWorks is a poor man's Disney/Pixar, and I agree, but this one movie in which DreamWorks shines. One might argue that the Commandos are glorified G.I. Joes, but I will gladly look past that because, c'mon, they're awesome.

Small Soldiers is a fine piece of entertainment and some of DreamWorks' best work to boot. I am begging you, don't pass it up. You won't regret giving it your time.

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22 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Here's why it's good.

Author: Lee Eisenberg ( from Portland, Oregon, USA
2 December 2005

When "Small Soldiers" came out, it was right after back-to-back school shootings (plus the murder of Phil Hartman), so there was some controversy about having a movie where toys get violent. But this movie is actually quite good. You see, it's not some ridiculous, rah-rah military movie; it sides with the Gorgonites (the soldiers' adversaries), showing how - whether or not they win or lose - they always remain supportive of each other.

As for the cast members, this is a Joe Dante movie, so Dick Miller and Robert Picardo get supporting roles. In this case, they play a delivery man and clean room technician, respectively. Phil Hartman is probably the funniest cast member, playing the ultimate suburban consumer (he wants to remove his neighbor's tree to make room for a satellite dish). All in all, this is definitely a movie worth seeing. As far as I remember, Joe Dante always does a good job.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Bizarre film, but still great fun!

Author: LebowskiT1000 from Escondido, California, USA
7 October 2002

I'm not really sure who this film is aimed at. At times it seems to be a child's movie and at other times it seems to be for adults. But nonetheless, I loved the film. I thought it was a fun story.

The special effects alone are worth watching the film. It's truly amazing how fluidly the toys move and life-like the little toys are. Also, I really liked the various Gorgonite characters, they all looked quite unique.

The cast is quite good too. Phil Hartman is quite funny in the film, as usual. Kirsten Dunst pulls off a great performance. The rest of the cast is quite good as well: Gregory Smith, Jay Mohr, David Cross, Denis Leary, and Kevin Dunn, to name a few. I really feel that actors in films like this don't get the credit they deserve, because they are acting against small little harmless platic or metal animatronic toys, or, in some cases, against nothing at all. So just keep that in mind when you're watching this film. The voice talents in this film are also quite good, with plenty of big names to go around including Tommy Lee Jones, Frank Langella, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Bruce Dern, George Kennedy, Clint Walker, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Christina Ricci.

This film is just a fun film, there's nothing terribly deep or mind-boggling about this film, just enjoy it for what it is. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, but if you read the plot description and it sounds interesting, then by all means, check it out. If you do end up seeing the film, I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading,


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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Gremlins meets Toy Story

Author: DAVID SIM from United Kingdom
25 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When Joe Dante first started directing, he made two above average B movies, Piranha and The Howling. Run through with Dante's enthusiasm for the horror/SF genre, they make numerous references and in-jokes to other films of the genre. Then in 1984, he had a huge hit with Gremlins, one of the finest comedies of the 80s.

But sadly, every other film he's made since has performed poorly at the box office. That's not to say he's a terrible director. I think he's one of the world's most underrated filmmakers, having produced gems like Matinée, The burbs, Explorers. And the marvellous TV series Eerie Indiana.

With Small Soldiers, Dante has sort of remade Gremlins, where another small all-American town comes under attack. But not from little monsters. From toys fitted with military microchips that go berserk. Small Soldiers never feels as satisfying as Gremlins. There was something tremendously entertaining in watching a sleepy, sugary wholesome town get torn to shreds by malicious monsters. But Small Soldiers is still entertaining, and just as subversive as you'd expect from Joe Dante.

Gil Mars (the fast-talking Denis Leary) is the conglomerate of Globotech Industries. Having just recently bought Hartland Play Systems, a toy company, he is looking to market toys that actually do what they do in the adverts. Toys that can walk, talk and even think for themselves. He gets his chance when two of his employees come up with the Commando Elite, soldier toys programmed to crush their enemies, the Gorgonites.

The leader of the Commando Elite, Major Chip Hazard (perfectly voiced by Tommy Lee Jones) is fitted with a special microchip that came from the Department of Defence. Along with the rest of his troops, they actually believe they're in a real war, and when they're shipped to the town of Winslow Corners with the Gorgonites, led by the passive Archer (a dignified performance by Frank Langella) all hell breaks loose!

The Gorgonites end up in the care of Alan Abernathy, a delinquent with a reputation for being a troublemaker. With the help of his next door neighbour Christy (Kirsten Dunst), they get caught up in the war between the Commando Elite and the Gorgonites, which leads to full-scale warfare within Alan's home.

Small Soldiers was criticised for being too violent for a kids film. I'm not sure if such a thing is possible in this day and age of desensitisation. And while it is violent on a comic level, the humour is never as dark as Gremlins. That film was occasionally disturbing, but Small Soldiers never crosses the line into outright bloodshed.

There is quite an eclectic list of actors providing the voice-work. Tommy Lee Jones has the perfect voice for Major Chip Hazard, who has down pat what it takes to be a drill instructor. The rest of the Commando Elite are provided by the Dirty Dozen, and make a motley crew of hardasses.

Frank Langella makes Archer into a very likable character, and his friendship with Alan is handled well without being too mawkish. An added treat is the Gorgonites are voiced by Spinal Tap, making Small Soldiers one of the best voiced animated films ever made.

But as entertaining as the film is, it never reaches the anarchic heights of Gremlins. It seems too watered down. Except for one scene that is inspired in its subversiveness. Christy is held hostage by a group of Barbie-like dolls that have been malformed, twisted and altered beyond recognition until they become insane freaks drafted into the Commando Elite. Voiced wonderfully by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christina Ricci, that scene will stay with you long after the film is over.

Dante also makes some very funny satirical observations over the toy industry and corporate politics, from the Stepford-like receptionists who work for Globotech, to the way they frown upon educational toys.

But in some ways, although Small Soldiers never gets as chaotic as Gremlins, it borrows a little too heavily from it. There are scenes lifted right from it. Like a kitchen scene where Archer is nearly put in a disposal, bursting through garage doors, even the soldiers being wiped out leaving only Major Chip Hazard alive. Dante puts a new spin on the events, but it does show a slight lack of imagination on his part.

The human cast are capably played by some good actors, including some from Dante's stock company, like Dick Miller and Robert Picardo, and a final performance from the late Phil Hartman. There are also numerous references to other war movies. So look out for affectionate nods to Patton, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now.

It's doubtful Small Soldiers will be remembered in 20 years like Gremlins. But it's still above average entertainment, the special effects work is superb, and it's interesting to watch films like Toy Story with their gentle ideals be subverted in whole new directions to create a film like Small Soldiers.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

good archetypal satire

Author: Scott Andrew Hutchins ( from New York, New York
10 August 1998

The characters were not well developed because of the archetypal nature of the story, which was simple and insightful, with a lot of action and no real brutality. Filled with parodies and even musical quotes from other films, this film has a plot similar to _Gremlins_ with the greater feel of its sequel with its archetypal powerhouse of a Daniel Clamp (that is, sans Clamp's failings). Dante makes the film comical and thought-provoking, with main characters who seem like we are supposed to see ourselves in their place, rather than learn about who they are. There is wonderful use of a boat motif leading to an ending straight out of _The Gods Must Be Crazy_, with its power and charm. Despite this, Dante realized he was doing somewhat of a retread, hence all of the gremlin jokes. Dante had a better portrait of younger teenagers with _Explorers_ for those who miss the character development, which really only seems lacking after the film is over.

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