Film Review – Small Soldiers (1998)

Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith) is a boy with a troubled past, I mean you burn down one school and nobody lets you forget it, what’s up with that? He works at a toy shop owned by his dad, Stuart (Kevin Dunn) and feels so put upon by him because he can never let that one little mistake go. However, things are about to get a whole lot worse for the Abernathy’s and it may not even be Alan’s fault.

Larry Benson (Jay Mohr) and Irwin Wayfair (David Cross) are a couple of toy inventors and the only ones kept on when their company is bought by the military’s new family division, GloboTech. Their new boss, Gil Mars (Dennis Leary) is a no-nonsense businessman and wants only the best out of the toys that his new company manufactures. He wants them to walk, talk and bust out of their packaging that only the most kick-ass toy could do. So, when Larry is eager to impress his boss, he inserts the best, most state-of-the-art chips inside the toys, what could go wrong?

Small Soldiers is the 90’s family movie classic directed by Joe ‘Gremlins’ Dante that acts as a throwback to movies they just don’t make for kids anymore, while simultaneously feeling fresh and timeless – albeit for some very 90’s jokes. A great cast that included Kirsten Dunst and cameos from Dante favourites Robert Picardo and Dick Miller, Small Soldiers is the movie that only Dante could do justice.

On top of that though, there’s a great voice cast for the Commando Elite led by Chip Hazard (Tommy Lee Jones) and Archer, Emissary of the Gorgonites (Frank Langella) who lead the voices of the actors from The Dirty Dozen and the members of Spinal Tap respectively. Not to mention the final movie of the late, great Phil Hartman. As if the production couldn’t be any better, Stan Winston’s team were behind the special effects that brought the toys to life and they still hold up today.

Small Soldiers is the kind of kids’ movie where the adults are stupid and the kids are smart, but no matter what age, there’s something very everyone to enjoy. Although the nightmare fuel sentient dolls still haunt my dreams…

Action, Adventure | USA, 1998 | 12 | DVD | Fabulous Films | Dir. Joe Dante | David Cross, Jay Mohr, Alexandra Wilson, Dennis Leary, Dick Miller, Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Dunn, Frank Langella, Tommy Lee Jones,