Monday, December 10, 2012

Movie Review: Small Soldiers

When a toy company is bought out by a corporation known for making military technology, a military computer chip is put into a new line of toy soldiers in an attempt to make the most advanced toy soldiers yet. A teenage boy who works at a toy shop disobeys his dad and gets his hands on the toys before their release date, then activates two soldiers who are enemies of each other. To his shock, the “good” soldiers are soon all activated by their leader, and begin seeking to destroy the “bad” soldiers. When the boy appears to be defending the “bad” soldiers, he finds himself caught in the war between the toy soldiers. He tries to keep what’s going on a secret from his dad, but before long things are spiraling out of control as the “good” toy soldiers grow continually more violent and take their war to the streets.

The unique premise of this movie is what makes it worth seeing for those who are interested. The idea of toy soldiers coming to life and battling each other, with humans caught in the middle, is a fun one, and while this movie doesn’t use it as well as it could have, it does an adequate job. The special effects are generally good. The story has a few holes, none of which are big enough to sink the film, but which hold the film back a bit. Despite the length, some of the main characters don’t feel deeply developed. With more depth, this could have been a classic, but as it is, it’s decent entertainment that is mainly memorable for the premise.

Some might be surprised that a movie about living toys is PG-13, but this is definitely not Toy Story. Violence is pervasive, especially involving the toy soldiers being maimed and destroyed in various ways. The idea of living evil toys might frighten some children, particularly since at one point a child is tied up by the bad toy soldiers. There are a dozen or so mild swear words. Some girl dolls that the evil toy soldiers recruit wear bikinis for the rest of the film. A few mildly suggestive comments are made. More than one of the protagonists acts like a jerk at one time or another, and it would have been nice if they had learned more, though they have learned at least a little better by the end.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christians and Snails

I realized this picture and this quote would go together perfectly.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner