Film Reviews, News & Competitions

 
 


Small Soldiers

 
 
Film Information
 

Plot: When a toy company accidentally programmes action figures with military technology they begin acting like real soldiers …
Release Date: 14th September.
Format: DVD.
Director(s): Joe Dante.
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Gregory Smith, Frank Langella, Tommy Lee Jones, Jay Mohr, Phil Hartman, Kevin Dunn, Denis Leary.
BBFC Certificate: 12.
Running Time: 105m 14s.
Country Of Origin: USA.
Language: English.
Review By: Paula Hammond.
Genre:
 
Film Rating
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


 

Bottom Line


The opening moments of Small Soldiers may feel distinctly like Middle-America Spielberg, but there’s Dante magic—and mania--in this off-kilter classic too.


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Posted September 11, 2020 by

 
Film Review
 
 

When a toy company accidentally programmes action figures with military tech, the Commando Elite begin to act like real soldiers … with the peace-loving Gorgonites in their sights … and regardless of who else gets caught in the crossfire.

1992’s Small Soldiers was never the big box-office splash it deserved to be. At the time, critics complained that the animation somehow lacked the anarchic vibe of other Joe Dante vehicles—most notably Gremlins. Yet, the 12 rating proves that there’s more to Small Soldiers than cutsie toys running amok. In fact, the Frankensteinian doll-surgery scene is distinctly disturbing. And watching a young, manic Kirsten Dunst mutilate the Commando Elite might make you wonder why she’s never been cast as a serial killer.

Dante had originally wanted the cast of Predator (1987) to voice the Commando Elite with Arnold Schwarzenegger as their the leader, Chip Hazard. Ultimately, though, Chip was voiced by Tommy Lee Jones with the other Commando Elite parts going to the cast of The Dirty Dozen (1967): Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Clint Walker and George Kennedy. (Charles Bronson apparently refused to voice a toy soldier.)

In turn, the Gorgonites are voiced by members of Spinal Tap with additional cameos from the likes of Christina Ricci (The Addams Family) and Sarah Michelle Geller (Buffy The Vampire Slayer). The movie also features music by Led Zeppelin, who are notoriously strict about how their work is used. All in all, it’s a smorgasbord of talent–that’s well cast and well used.

The opening moments of Small Soldiers may feel distinctly like Middle-America Spielberg, but there’s Dante magic—and mania–in this off-kilter classic too.

Extras: Deleted Scenes & Special Effects, Bloopers, Behind-the-Scenes.


Paula Hammond - Features Editor

 
Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com


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