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Small Soldiers (1998) - Blu-ray Review

Small Soldiers (1998)

In which Joe Dante, the director of Piranha, The Howling, Gremlins, The Burbs, Matinee, Innerspace, and other cult classics, turns toys into objects of delightful HORROR!  It’s as if The Puppetmaster and Toy Story met in a dark alley and had a quickie, giving birth to this cult classic 9 months later.

"it’s as if The Puppetmaster and Toy Story met in a dark alley and had a quickie, giving birth to this cult classic 9 months later"


 

That’s right, Reel Reviews Readers, Small Soldiers, featuring the voice talents of Tommy Lee Jones as Major Chip Hazard, leader of the Commando Elites (with the surviving members of The Dirty Dozen voicing the rest of the squad) and Frank Langella as Archer, the Gorgonite leader (complete with Spinal Tap as his other Gorgonites), has finally arrived for 1080p consumption! 

Whose side are you on as these toys, in a very believable manner thanks to the CGI work done here, come to life and start terrorizing Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith), his father (Kevin Dunn), their neighbor (Phil Hartman in his last role) and the girl he is making eyes at, Christy (Kirsten Dunst).  Designed by Larry Benson (Jay Mahar) and Irwin Wayfair (David Cross) on orders from Globotech CEO Gil Mars (Denis Leary) to make live action toys that play by themselves, the Commando Elite and Gorgonite toys are implanted with a military grade chip which brings them to life with war and defense at the top of their to-do list.  What could possibly go wrong in Small Town, USA when these bad boys bust out of their boxes?!

Just ask the Globotech delivery driver (Dick Miller)!Small Soldiers (1998)

This is the wonderful and wild world of Small Soldiers, an epic embrace CGI tale of destruction which landed two years after Toy Story first brought Woody and Buzz to life.  Yes, Small Soldiers represents every kid’s dream involving their toys and then flips it into a hellish nightmare of dark consequences as an entire block is basically turned into a disaster zone when these two forces meet up.  The Gorgonites just want to find a place to live at Yellowstone National Park, but the muscle-bound Commando Elites are there to stop them every chance they can..

And now, thanks to Paramount Presents, Small Soldiers FINALLY arrives on blu-ray with a nice-looking and very filmic transfer, complete with a DVD-era featurette, a blooper reel, and a trailer.  Fans of Dante’s filmography will be pleased with the results as even Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christina Ricci join in on the fun when Christy’s Gwendy toys come to life with their hellish take on body horror!

Although, at the time of the movie’s release, critics were not so kind to the misadventures of this motley group of toys who simply want to kill, kill, and kill some more.  Violent and basic were the complaints noted of the movie, yet Small Soldiers continues to earn its fair share of fans and for good reason. 

Layered with Dante-related easter eggs and, of course, plenty of Dante-approved cameos, Small Soldiers is now on blu-ray.  If you can’t accessorize, PULVERIZE!

4/5 beers

 

Small Soldiers (1998)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- February 2, 2021
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English; English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Directed by Joe Dante, Small Soldiers is what happens when toys attack.  When missile technology is used to enhance toy action figures, the toys soon begin to take their battle programming too seriously. Small Soldiers arrives on blu-ray courtesy of Paramount Presents.

Video

With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, Small Soldiers looks as if it was originally produced last year!  That’s how good this transfer from Paramount is.  Effects are solid.  Black levels are true and colors absolutely POP thanks to the handling of the source material.  This isn’t a mere conversion and it shows with noticeable texture and fine detail – note the dried hairspray on the follicles – are both present and colors are properly saturated.  Overall, a strong release as even the CGI looks remarkably clean.

Audio

Get slammed by the atomic blast of this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack!  The neighborhood will never be the same again!  We got explosions and Led Zeppelin on this sucker.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Feature commentary audio track with director Chris Addison

Special Features:

These special features are ported over from the previous DVD release.  Nothing new.

  • A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Making of Small Soldiers
  • From the Cutting Room Floor: Bloopers
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Small Soldiers (1998)

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some menacing action/violence and brief drug references.
Runtime:
110 mins
Director
: Joe Dante
Writer:
Gavin Scott, Adam Rifkin
Cast:
Kirsten Dunst, Gregory Smith, David Cross
Genre
: Action | Adventure
Tagline:
This Summer Join the Commando Elitte.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I think World War II was my favorite war."
Theatrical Distributor:
Dreamworks Distribution
Official Site: https://www.thehustle.movie/
Release Date:
July 10, 1998
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 2, 2021.
Synopsis: Big action. Big fun. Big Movie! Small Soldiers is one huge adventure. Meet the Commando Elite - toy action figures with an attitude. They've escaped from their boxes along with the Gorgonites, kindhearted but unusual-looking creatures. Now teenager Alan Abernathy gets enlisted to help the Gorgonites and rescue the girl of his dreams before the whole town is turned upside down.

Art

Small Soldiers (1998)

 

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