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Wonderfully Horrible Netflix Instant Films: “Small Soldiers”

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bill-swift - May 29, 2014

Sometimes a cool concept can get ruined by the filmmakers pushing an agenda. There is nothing more lame than feeling that you are being preached at by some Hollywood d-bag. How many times have you been sitting in a film and suddenly realized that you are in the middle of a propaganda movie. This is the problem with Small Soldiers. The idea of the film is great. War toys that become sentient and think they are really fighting a war. That could be a really awesome movie, right? Add to that an amazing cast and you've got the recipe for a great movie. But instead you have the uneven Small Soldiers.

David Cross and Jay Mohr play a couple of toy designers whose company is bought out by an evil corporate dude played by Dennis Leary. He rejects Cross' idea of a gentle race of monsters called the Gorgonites that operate as educational toys and instead wants a squad of elite soldiers hunt down and kill the Gorgonites. Issue #1: Violence in kid's toys. They put in some military surplus micro-processors to make the toys go. This leads to the creatures becoming sentient. Issue #2: Misuse of military equipment. The toys fall into the hands a kid whose dad runs a toy store but is opposed to war toys. Issue #1 again. Soon the soldiers start running amok with the soldiers hunting down the Gorgonites. But it turns out that the Gorgonites are a gentle race that only want to get back to their home of Gorgon (which for some reason is Yosemite) and are close to the Earth and stuff. Issue #3 and #4: The exploitation of indigenous people and the rape of the environment by the modern mechanized world and military. All of this leads to a war in which the Gorgonites are eventually released back into the forest.

This was the last movie that starred the great Phil Hartman. In addition, the cast has Tommy Lee Jones, Frank Langella, Bruce Dern, Jim Brown, Ernest Borgnine, Kirsten Dunst, and George Kennedy. That's one hell of a cast. Don't get me wrong, the movie is really entertaining and the effects of the toys is pretty great. And yet, I find myself rolling my eyes every time I hear "THIS IS THE MESSAGE!" This is just mediocre screenwriting or, more likely, the filmmakers twisting the script for their own agenda.

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