Small Soldiers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Small Soldiers Reviews

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½ July 26, 2015
Small Soldiers is one of those B movies which you would probably skip if you heard the premise of it. I revisited it today since it was on the Encore Action channel at the cabin I am staying in, and I can say there's a reason I did not remember much of this movie since watching it in my childhood.

So the premise is basically this: take Toy Story, mix it into a live action film, separate the toys into 2 rival gangs who fight each other, and finally, make the toys dumber and more aggressive than they were in Toy Story. Oh, and make it PG-13, because if there's any way to improve a movie with a premise which should be kid-marketed, it's by making that movie PG-13.

While the CGI is poor and the "action" of the film doesn't necessarily entertain me, Small Soldiers has some good thematic material, although it is somewhat typical of an action film of this nature. A good amount of the thematic material has to deal with not surrendering, fighting/violence is not the answer, and so forth. A good one that goes beyond the typical themes in action films is that a line is revisited: "Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there" or something along the lines of that.

The way they set up the premise for this film was pretty strange; two toy engineers came up with two different sets of toys - one alien, one a group of soldiers - and their boss had the great idea of making the two sets rivals. Then, the guy who created the soldiers ordered microprocessors for both sets of toys, which happened to be used by the military, which meant the toys became very dangerous once activated. They became a type of artificial intelligence, though one side character described it as being more like "actual intelligence." To avoid the entire nation being terrorized by the aggressive "commandos," the film conveniently made it so that one kid who worked at his dad's toy shop would be able to "test" these toys before their actual release. This kid is, of course, the main character of the film, and of course he got his own romantic subplot with a young Kirsten Dunst.

This film was a little bit of an upset in my opinion - they could have waited a few years until CGI was a bit better, they could have made this more kid-friendly which probably would have made it much more profitable, and the plot was somewhat sloppily put together. This film has a good aesthetic and passes for a good B movie, but it is not a film I would revisit often.
½ May 29, 2015
A carbon copy of Joe Dante's pervious work Gremlins but with action figures, Small soldiers is still decently amusing, but is far more tonally inconsistent than Gremlins.
May 18, 2015
Oh how I liked this premise and boy was I disappointed.
½ June 26, 2012
I'm a huge Joe Dante fan ("The Howling", "Innerspace", "Gremlins", "Matinee", etcâ¦) and think he is something of an unsung genius for creating entertaining films for people who love film. Though not one of his best, "Small Soldiers" is an enjoyable film that contains all sorts of movie buff in-jokes, from casting the members of Spinal Tap to voice the Gorgonites, who fight the The Commando Elite, who are voiced in part by all the living case members of "The Dirty Dozen" to referenced to "Patton" and to many of Dante's films as well. There are some really good supporting cast that includes Phil Hartman, David Cross, Ann Magnuson, Denis Leary, Rance Howard, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Dern, Frank Langella, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christina Ricce and Dante regulars Dick Miller, Wendy Schaal and Robert Picardo. It's a pretty silly movie, but it's quite entertaining.
½ August 12, 2012
Another underrated gem in a career full of them by ever under-appreciated master filmmaker Joe Dante, he of Gremlins, Innerspace, The Burbs and Explorers to name but a few, in fact this is a sort of spiritual sequel to Gremlins, only with military microchipped toys terrorizing a small town instead. It's frequently inventive, loads of fun and has great effects plus the sly, lightly subversive and biting edge that Dante brings to his movies (this is a hugely anti military/anti-corporation movie that even rips into it's own Burger King promoted merchandising, biting the hand that feeds it as it were) It's also surprisingly violent and gleefully anarchic. A great film!
April 26, 2015
Cute and entertaining.
May 15, 2011
Stupid in nearly every sense of the word, yet bizarrely entertaining. While it does have some very distracting problems and some pacing issues, the goofiness in Joe Dante's direction and the effects make it a passable film with some entertainment value.
½ March 5, 2015
guilty pleasure for me
½ January 31, 2015
A crappy mixup of Gremlins and Toy Story from the guy who brought us Gremlins. Isn't equal to the sum of its individual influences and instead just feels like a retread with an attempted satire on the military and testosterone laden figures for kids.
½ January 1, 2015
Surprisingly exciting, logical, and even touching at times.
December 30, 2014
Small Soldiers on Netflix!!! Eff ya!
½ November 30, 2014
A charming albeit sometimes too violent children's film benefited by strong special effects and very solid performances from it's two young leads
November 29, 2014
Small soldiers, moderately sized laughs.
½ November 14, 2014
The reviews were mediocre but it's a Joe Dante film, which means you should see it anyhow and make up your own mind.
November 4, 2013
While not without its flaws, "Small Soldiers" is still a fun movie even if there are some ripoff scenes or weak writing.
September 16, 2014
It gives you a nostalgic reminiscence for Gremlins but Small Soldiers is an uneven attempt at re-capturing the spirit of Gremlins.
September 9, 2014
While the film has some impressive animation and special effects for the time and the casting is decent, Small Soldiers falls flat as an overly confused film that cannot decide whether it wants to be a family film or a disturbing twisted substitute for Toy Story and Gremlins, not the best film to show your kids, they will develop a fear of playing with their toys!
February 12, 2010
(First viewing - Summer 1998 in theaters)
March 23, 2014
Small Soldiers blends action and comedic elements with great live action/animatronics and solid visual affects paired with a talented young cast including Kirsten Dunst and Gregory Smith and a terrific voice performance by Tommy Lee Jones.
August 31, 2013
The legendary director of Piranha, Gremlins and one of my favourites, Explorers; director Joe Dante directs this action movie for the elderly kids who are obviously into dolls titled Small Soldiers. The story is about CEO Gil Mars played by Denis Leary who gives the green light opportunity to Larry played by Jay Mohr and Irwin played by David Cross to create a new line of action figures by making them more realistic so that whenever toy owners play with them, the toys can play with the owners back in retaliation. Back in Ohio, toy store owner Stuart played by Kevin Dunn and his son Alan played by Gregory Smith are failing in their business so when truckdriver Joe played by Dick Miller delivers the toys from the company Heartland Play System, Alan is convinced, they will make a little money until the toys break free including the Commandos led by Chip Hazard voiced by Tommy Lee Jones and the Gorgonites led by Archer voiced by Frank Langella. Archer soon begins to communicate with Alan as the Commandos then escape and hatch a plan to take over the world. A lot of people found this movie to be uninteresting and boring but thanks to a huge cast and the legendary work of the late Stan Winston who combined all animatronics, puppetry and computer animation in one, this movie is made enjoyable and overall, a good action film for kids. Small Soldiers gets a 8/10.
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