Flashback Review: Small Soldiers

Today is another Flashback Review, this time it has something to do with action figures coming to life. I have decided to look back at this, because the following review has a similar premise to the 2007 version of Transformers.

Like the 1980’s, toy companies in the 1990’s continue to make millions of dollars by selling toys, board games to kids across the globe. Toys based on specific franchises were popular fads during the decade such as Power Rangers, Tickle Me Elmo, Bop It, Silly Putty, Pokémon etc.

1995 was an important year for Disney, with the help of Pixar, they successfully produced a groundbreaking film called Toy Story. It became a gamechanger to the animation department, merchandise also boosted more profits and Pixar went on to impact other major studios. Like this film called Small Soldiers.

Small Soldiers came out in 1998. (same year The Big Lebowski came out) It received mixed reviews from critics, it was a modest commercial hit at the box office. The negative reactions was due to the film’s target audience if it was marketed for kids or an older audience.

Like Toy Story, Small Soldiers attempted to replicate the success of the film by coming up with merchandise consisting of action figures, a video game for the PlayStation, a board game, and a limited time meal from Burger King called “The Rodeo Burger.” I used to own the action figures, until I had to give them away to earn some extra cash, nowadays the toys are rare to find and they’re expensive to buy on Amazon & Ebay.

This review doesn’t contain any SPOILERS whatsoever. If you haven’t seen Small Soldiers, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.

Positive & Negative Elements

Positive: The Premise reflects Hasbro’s Transformers & G.I. Joe.

The Main Cast all did a solid job on their respective performances.

Supporting Cast also did an ok job for their performances like the Main Cast.

Fun Fact: Kirsten Dunst, (at the time, a child star in films such as Interview With The Vampire, Jumanji, Bring It On) and Denis Leary went on to star in separate Spider-Man films.

A Pause Worthy Moment featuring a Gizmo action figure can be seen at a dumpster. Joe Dante who directed this film, also directed Gremlins and it’s sequel.

Archer & his Gargonite comrades surprisingly have Character Development.

In my opinion, The Best Line in the movie is “Are you scared, we’re all scared, you have to be crazy not be scared.” It deserves an Extra Point for making my spine tingle.

Animatronics were orchestrated by the late Stan Winston. (known for collaborating with James Cameron)

Funny Moments managed to make me laugh. Jokes weren’t stupid at all.

Cinematography felt normal without suffering from technical issues.

Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek series) orchestrated music for the film.

Steven Spielberg produced the film uncredited with the help of his company DreamWorks.

One character yells out a Wilhelm Scream.

The Gargonites & The Commando Elite have diverse personalities which makes them memorable similar to The Autobots & The Decepticons.

The Climax is a mix between Action & Comedy all in one complete package.

A Character said the words “Hello Dolly!” This is reference to Bride Of Chucky which also came out the same year. The film also made a Bride Of Frankenstein reference. Bride Of Chucky was inspired by the film which features Chucky’s longtime lover Tiffany.

The song War! is played in the background in one important scene, another movie came out the same year, I’ll give you a hint, it has Smokey from Friday & The Drunken Master.

Without giving too much away, The Funniest part in the film is when The Commando Elite plays a battle song. I’ll give you another clue, it’s a former band that was very popular in the 90’s and they’re movie came out in the U.S. in 1998. It also went on to earn a Razzie. Its a guilty pleasure for me.

After the credits, the film is dedicated to the memory of Phil Hartman may he rest in peace.

Negative: The C.G.I. Effects on the toys have not aged pretty well. The movie came out in 1998. The effects at the time is like a fetus growing inside a womb, until it matures into a human child.

Kirsten Dunst’s character who collects dolls in her room at one point said, “Always Hate These Things!” Did Mary Jane took the Green Goblin serum that results in split personality? One more thing, she screams while being attacked, one scene later, she laughs cheerfully after she fights back.

The Third Act unintentionally has one major Plot Hole. Won’t tell you why. It also broke my Suspension Of Disbelief.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BRILLIANT!

The Cons featured in this picture weren’t enough for me to spot on. When I was a lil tike, I really enjoyed it a lot, now that I’m older, I still like it despite the tiny glitches. It’s a shame this film would never go on to earn a sequel or become the next big thing like Power Rangers. If you’re curious to see Small Soldiers, I highly recommend it.

I didn’t mind the dark aspects in this movie. I didn’t even bat an eye.

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