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Small Soldiers (1998)

PG-13 | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 10 July 1998 (USA)
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When missile technology is used to enhance toy action figures, the toys soon begin to take their battle programming too seriously.

Director:

Joe Dante
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3,137 ( 838)
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Cross ... Irwin Wayfair
Jay Mohr ... Larry Benson
Alexandra Wilson ... Ms. Kegel
Denis Leary ... Gil Mars
Gregory Smith ... Alan Abernathy
Dick Miller ... Joe
Kirsten Dunst ... Christy Fimple
Jacob Smith ... Timmy Fimple
Jonathan Bouck Jonathan Bouck ... Brad (as Jonathan David Bouck)
Kevin Dunn ... Stuart Abernathy
Ann Magnuson ... Irene Abernathy
Wendy Schaal ... Marion Fimple
Phil Hartman ... Phil Fimple
Archie Hahn ... Satellite Dish Installer
Robert Picardo ... Ralph, Clean Room Technician
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Storyline

Fifteen-year-old Alan Abernathy, the son of a toy store owner, tries out some new action figures: The Commando Elite versus The Gorgonites. But three months ago, a toy company believes it is onto something when it employs the latest government military technology in a series of action figures, enabling them to talk. They underestimate the power of the special micro chips they've employed, however, as the two opposing sides of the toy line start thinking for themselves and engaging in real combat! The Commando Elite vow to wipe out the Gorgonites in a suburban neighborhood. Alan, his neighbor Christy Fimple, (on whom he has a massive crush) with the help of the kind Gorgonites, must protect his home and family from the Commandos. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The few, the proud, and the small. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some menacing action/violence and brief drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Commando Elite See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,047,592, 12 July 1998

Gross USA:

$54,682,547

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$71,282,547
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the film special effects, Joe Dante stated "We were planning to use a lot of Stan Winston's puppets. He had made some very elaborate puppets that could do a lot of things, but in practice, we found it was much simpler and cheaper to let the CGI people do the work after we shot the scenes, so I would say it's one-third puppetry and the rest CGI, even though the original idea was to do mostly puppetry." See more »

Goofs

When the Commando Elite blast the Spice Girls as "psychological warfare," the woofers on the speakers don't move at all. A bass-heavy song at that volume should produce very noticeable travel. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Irwin Wayfair: He's here! He's early! He's not supposed to be here now. He said... okay, here's the copy of... check.
Larry Benson: Pretty exciting, huh?
Irwin Wayfair: I don't know. I think it's kinda sad, I mean you know Heartland Toys has a long tradition of bringing joy to kids, ya know? Gil Mars isn't going to care about any of that. He's just gonna care about profits. I think it sucks.
Larry Benson: Welcome to Earth, Irwin. You may not be familiar with our company, but this is pretty much the way things work down here in the real ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The soldiers are credited as "The Original Dirty Dozen" and the Gorgonites are credited as "Spinal Tap". Many of the character voices actually come from those two movies. See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD features some deleted scenes:
  • Alan meets the principal of his new school, who tells him he doesn't like troublemakers.
  • An extended version of the scene where the dish technician tells Phil a lot more about the way the dish works and why the tree has to be moved.
  • Some added dialogue for Stuart and Irene about their old home Chicago right before Phil starts to saw off the branch.
  • The Gorgonites search Alans encyclopedia for Gorgon. Instead of their home they find the daughter of the Greek God Phorcys.
  • A discussion between Alan, Christy and their parents about what happened.
  • Phil and Stuart discover that Alan and Christy get away through a window.
  • The Toys discover Christys parents, her brother and Irene in the storeroom and ask for "any last requests".
See more »

Connections

References Pinocchio (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock And Roll (Part 2)
Written by Gary Glitter & Mike Leander
Performed by Gary Glitter
Remixed by Rick Dutch Cousin (as Dutch)
Courtesy of Snapper Music PLC
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Affectionately made and with a lot of charm
6 August 2014 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

SMALL SOLDIERS is, essentially, Joe Dante's third GREMLINS film, except that the antagonists aren't gremlins this time around but instead normal, plastic toys who have been brought to life via military technology. It's along the same lines as TOY STORY, which came out at around the same time, but I think the Dante movie has the edge; it's live action, for a start, and the special effects used to animate the soldiers are remarkable.

The film goes for a light action-adventure template with plenty of laughs thrown into the mix along the way. Like GREMLINS, there's a lot of small-scale stuff going on here, like fireworks being used as weapons and characters encountering the dangers of garbage disposal units. It's a kid's film, with child actors in the lead roles, but one of those ones that adults are sure to enjoy too.

Cast-wise, we're handed decent turns from Gregory Smith (before he won popular attention with EVERWOOD) and Kirsten Dunst (just before she graduated to adult roles in SPIDER-MAN). Elsewhere, we get Denis Leary chewing the scenery as the slimy corporate villain, and Dante lucky charm Dick Miller as an unlucky delivery driver. Best of all are the voice actors hired for the soldiers; they're led by Tommy Lee Jones but boast plenty of veteran talent, including Ernest Borgnine and Frank Langella. Overall, Dante gets the tone just right, leaving this a highly enjoyable family adventure.


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