YMMV / Small Soldiers

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Nick Nitro, who gets a very painful death which his fellow commandos are deeply saddened by.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The Commandos aren't necessarily evil. They're just programmed to eliminate the Gorgonites and anyone who helps them. Aside from Chip Hazard, who has a very sadistic attitude towards the enemy, the rest seem to at least care about each other. Who knows if they could be taught to fight their programming like the Gorgonites did?
    • Larry is treated like an idiot for programming the toys in the first place, but consider his situation. He was just told by his new boss to get the toys ready in three months, which is only half the time it usually takes for the process. Likewise he and Irwin are literally the only two members of staff left, as Mars fired everyone else in the merger. So while his decision was idiotic, he was operating under a lot of pressure and the fear of being fired too.
  • Anvilicious: Joe Dante isn't exactly subtle in how he views "war toys" like G.I. Joe.
  • Awesome Music: courtesy of Jerry Goldsmith: Assembly Line.
  • Cliché Storm: Parodied with Chip Hazard's entire mode of speech. While it doesn't exactly fit the definition of the trope, a definitely non-YMMV version occurs after Hazard activates the other Commandos. He gives a speech that is literally composed entirely of cliched famous quotations.
  • Foe Yay: The Gwendy Dolls; much like the commandoes their lines are more or less the Valley Girl Cliche, but when attacking Alan or Christy's boyfriend Brad their lines sound more or less like pickup lines that border on this.
    Gwendy: "Oh look, a man! Alley-oop!" (gets cheerleader-thrown up to Brad's shoulder).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Just Here for Godzilla: At the time of release, most people claimed they only saw this movie because Phil Hartman was in it and this was one of the last things he did before he was murdered.
  • Memetic Mutation: Archer's introductory quote, "Greetings, I am Archer, emissary of the Gorgonites" is often jokingly used among internauts as a way of introducing themselves to other individuals.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Gil Mars only shows up twice in the movie, and still manages to be one of the most memorable characters (being played by Denis Leary certainly doesn't hurt.)
    • Robert Picardo as the chips' creator shows up in just one scene, but certainly makes it count.
    • The Gwendy Dolls don't have that much screen time but they sure are memorable, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Intelligent robotic toys with the capacity to learn, some of whom just happen to be psychotic killers? After watching this film, you may never look at your Furby the same way again.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Note to Hollywood: If you don't want people sympathizing with your villains, you probably shouldn't make them ten times cooler than the heroes. Or give them several times as much screen time, almost to the point of making them Villain Protagonists. Also, don't then only release three of them in toy form (two in the UK) as opposed to an entire set of Gorgonites and Flatchoo, who wasn't even a Gorgonite. Given that, in universe, the Commando Elite were originally designed as the good guys, it makes sense they would be cool. It was the creator of the Gorgonite line who did a little tinkering so that his Gorgonites would be the heroes instead, and the Commandos the bad guys. Even then, though, this trope may still apply.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: All of the movie's tie-ins, especially the Game Boy and PlayStation versions...
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • While the blend between animatronic and CG is usually decent (for its time, at least). There's a few moments where it's obvious, like when Chip climbs the rock near the end of the film.
    • When the Commandos are falling apart. You can see that some of them are just solid pieces of geometry put together, as their internal components are not visible.
    • Some of the animation itself is lacking at parts, such as the choppy movements of Insaniac during the finale.
  • Ugly Cute: Many of the Gorgonites, but especially Ocula, who amounts to a little eyeball on a stick with legs and yet somehow manages to look absolutely huggable.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Commando Elite all have very exaggeratedly masculine features, and end up looking more monstrous than the non-human Gorgonites. Chip is the least Gonk of the bunch.
    • Definitely the Gwendy dolls after they've been "drafted" into the Commando Elite's service.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: In the scene where Archer looks up Alan's computer for Gorgon, he uses Microsoft's Encarta encyclopedia which declined in the 2000s due to the rise of Wikipedia as well as other internet encyclopedias. Also the Commandos blare "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls for psychological warfare, both instances dating the movie to the late 1990s.
  • Values Dissonance: Gil Mars's dismissal of the Gorgonites' original pitch as educational toys fits right into the anti-intellectualism attitude of the 90s. Back then, nerds were Acceptable Targets and Mars was likely worried about alienating other demographics.
  • What an Idiot!: Ok, so your new boss gives you a tight deadline to roll out some new toys, so you're desperate to get something on the market before you get fired, that is understandable. But at what point does it become a good idea to take military hardware and stuff it into your toy, and then to completely skip the safety testing for the sake of time and not think that shit is going to completely hit the fan? Larry is pretty much called an idiot by multiple characters in the movie.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • Surprisingly dark and violent for a kids' movie. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be, but tell that to the people who marketed the film and made the toy line. Dante was told to make the movie more kid-friendly far too late into production to remove all the darker stuff (and the movie was rated PG-13 anyway). There's also a couple of uses of the word 'bastard' and 'ass'.
    • In-universe, most of the Gwendy dolls are dressed in stripper costumes.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The villains are violent toys that resemble American soldiers, who automatically become dangerous and evil simply by gaining sentience, and are hunting down far more peaceful ones. Suffice to say, some critics were suspicious of the director's motives.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/SmallSoldiers