Small Soldiers (1998)

(In theaters, July 1998) As kids, I suspect most of us dreamed of having action figures that could act as our best friends, carry on conversation and generally be more animated that they were. Small Soldiers carries this concept all the way by proposing action figures equipped with military CPUs. Before you can say “Hey, haven’t we seen this in Gremlins before?”, the small soldiers of the title are busy wasting most of our young protagonist’s neighbourhood. The special effects are okay, but the script is strictly by-the-numbers and by the end of the movie, that’s what matters: Whereas Small Soldiers could have been so much more, it ends up being fairly ordinary. Side note: In February, I managed to grab hold of an early draft script of Small Soldiers. (don’t ask how.) While the theme and characters remain in the final movie, a lot of material has been cut. The result is a tighter and better movie, but also one that loses a lot of the draft’s most memorable parts. Curious…

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