Small Soldiers (1998)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (62:44)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Joe Dante|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Tommy Lee Jones
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The first wrinkle appears right away, when Gil Mars only gives the designers three months to deliver the new range of action toys, half the time it normally takes to develop and test any new toy. Here's our first clue as to what is going to happen. Our designers diligently set about creating the Commando Elite action figures and their enemies, the Gorgonites.
Now, skip ahead three months and the first shipments of the action figures are being pre-shipped to stores for release on Monday. Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith) works in his dad's toy store, which is reasonably unpopular with the kids because it only stocks non-violent and educational toys. Alan has been left to mind the store, while Mr Abernathy gets ready to attend a business seminar. Joe, the regular delivery man arrives with some previously-ordered goods and while they are unloading, Alan spots the new action figures and asks if he can have a set so he can sell them and finally make some money for his dad's ailing store. Reluctantly, Joe agrees and a set of Gorgonites and Commando Elites are also unloaded.
Next, Christy Fimple (Kirsten Dunst) - the girl next door, pops in to see Alan under the guise that she has to look for a birthday present for her little brother. It is clear that she is interested in Alan and vice versa. Here we learn a little more about Alan. I have to admit it took me a minute or two to recognize Kirsten. For those who haven't already got a mental picture of who Kirsten Dunst is, I'll give you a couple of clues to help you; Claudia… Vampire… Interview. Yes, that's right, it's none other than the little fanged one that starred alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview With The Vampire. She has grown up a lot since then, but she is still easily recognized once you make the connection.
The Gorgonites are a peaceful race, whereas the Commando Elites are aggressive and want to crush the Gorgonites and anyone who stands in their way (which includes humans). When Alan activates the leader of the Commandos-Chip Hazard (voiced by Tommy Lee Jones) and the leader of the Gorgonites-Archer (voice by Frank Langella), nothing much happens at first, but after Alan locks up the store and goes home, World War III erupts in the store. When Alan and Christy realize what is happening, they try to help the Gorgonites and in doing this they become an enemy and a target of the Commando Elite.
The picture is extremely clear and sharp at all times, with good shadow detail. No low-level noise, edge enhancement or edge bleeding was noticed.
The colour was great, but seemed just the tiniest bit artificial. Maybe it was the non-human characters that gave me this impression. Either way, it's nothing to worry about.
Grain was almost non-existent and for most of the movie it can't be seen or is so minor that it isn't going to bother anyone actually watching the movie, but there are a few instances where it does become a little more obvious, such as at 1:45.
Apart from one minor instance of posterization at 0:53, no MPEG artefacts were noticed. Unfortunately, aliasing is where this transfer has some problems. The aliasing is minor, but it strikes regularly and is strong enough to be distracting on many occasions.
Film artefacts were very rare and they were always small and unobtrusive.
This disc is RSDL-formatted, with the layer change occurring during Chapter 9, at 62:44. I did not even notice the slight pause when watching the movie and had to go back afterwards to find it. This is a really well-hidden layer change that does not disrupt the flow of the movie at all.
The dialogue was clear and easily understood for the entire film. No audio sync problems were noticed, except for one very noticeable and distracting instance of dialogue replacement at 57:23.
The musical score is by Jerry Goldsmith.
Surround channel use is excellent, but with this movie being semi-dialogue driven, the surround channel use does drop to nothing on several occasions. Sound placement is also excellent, which further enhances the overall sound field.
The subwoofer gets a reasonable work-out. Some of the time it is doing nothing or just idling along, but when the action sequences arrive, it's there adding plenty of punch to the soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
The video quality is great, but overall it has been slightly spoiled by the minor but frequent aliasing.
The audio quality is excellent.
There is a very good selection of extras present.
|DVD||Sony DVP-725, using Component output|
|Display||Sony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Fronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)|