Small Soldiers

4 out of 10


"Toy Story" with Gratuitous Violence

Forgive me, but I`ve only just realised why "Dreamworks" was named such by its founders. Like our own dreams at night, its films are original, but suffer poor plot development, unsatisfatory endings and are filled with people who act so abnormally as to have no credibility. And some of them are real nightmares.

Just as in "Mousehunt", Dreamworks have taken a really clever idea, and have failed to produce a serviceable film, despite spending buckets of money on special effects. As the toy soldiers, packed full of technology, spring to lifew, so the film dies as the human cast, an entirely talent-free zone, put in performances that don`t even make it up to "stereotypes" and who make the cardboard box the toys came in look like an Oscar contender by comparison. Any member of the cast who says he acted in "Toy Soldiers" is lying.

The film is not entirely without merit. With the voice of Tommy Lee Jones, the commando`s leader, Major Chip Hazard, is given the sort of charismatic personality that can give the US President nightmares and turn 3rd World nations into 3rd Reichs. Likewise, the assault on the family home by his tiny army to the sound of the Spice Girls`"Wannabe", their machine guns made out of household scrap blowing out the windows with nails is a truly awesome piece of cinema that can compete with the best of "Apocalypse Now", but again it`s squandered by a human cast whose acting woud disgrace a 2nd Grader`s Nativity Play and a film company incapable of anything but disappointing, unimaginative cop-out endings.

And with the tiresome, repeated placement of Encarta and Windows, one has to question what is the objective of Dreamworks, a company in part founded by Bill Gates`s support?

Another brilliant idea, gratuitously wasted

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett