Small Soldiers Reviews
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.