small-soldiers
via Universal

An action-packed satire that survived a lawsuit to become a cult classic stirs up fuzzy feelings of nostalgia

A collective sigh of relief emerged when the remake was cancelled.

Even though it’s undoubtedly the two biggest markers of any movie’s success, critical adulation and bumper box office returns don’t always tell the full story about a film’s popularity, something an entire generation of Small Soldiers supporters know all too well.

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It was a million miles away from being a bomb, but the high concept action adventure’s $87 million haul at the box office against a $40 million budget was deemed as something of a disappointment, especially when the tie-in merchandise was everywhere you looked after Universal went all-in when it came to licensing.

small-soldiers
via Universal

A quarter of a century later, and respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of only 49 and 45 percent from critics and crowds highlight that it’s not exactly a beloved and enduring classic, either. That being said, there’s a whole lot of people out there who can’t get enough of Small Soldiers, and it would appear that a large number of them have assembled on a Reddit thread singling out the satirical look at how militarization through media impacts the impressionable youth – which is insane subtext for a family-friendly feature.

Director Joe Dante’s slyly self-aware blockbuster even shrugged off a lawsuit mounted against Universal, DreamWorks, and Steven Spielberg launched by filmmaker Gregory P. Grant accusing the heavy hitters of ripping off his award-winning student project Ode to GI Joe, but it was water off a gun-toting duck’s back at the end of the day.

Small Soldiers isn’t a stone-cold great when viewed through a modern lens, but it’s got a special place in the heart of many, which is more than good enough to leave behind as a lasting legacy.


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