Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Review: Small Soldiers Archer

My preference in films is a little bizarre. Fighting it out for the title of Damian's Favourite Film Ever are The Fly and The Thing. Dawn of the Dead and Alien are also near the top of the list...as are (and this is where anyone trying to make predictions might find their guesses way off) Bring It On, Transformers: The Movie, The Last Unicorn and Small Soldiers.

Small Soldiers was made by Joe Dante, the guy who made Gremlins, and they share a common theme of small creatures wrecking havoc on humans. In Small Soldiers a bunch of toys are installed with hi-tech computer chips, achieve sentience (sort of) and start attacking humans...in a PG sort of way.

If you haven't seen the film I recommend you stop reading here and go watch it. This review's not going anywhere and it will happily wait until you return.

Now that we're all up to speed on the adventures of the Gorgonites and Commando Elite, I'll proceed. Small Soldiers came out in 1998. I was 17. When you're 17 you don't go round Toys R Us and buy toys. Whilst this isn't entirely true (all those Playmates Star Trek figures had to come from somewhere), I didn't really wander the aisles looking at toys so I never knew about the Small Soldiers line from Kenner.

It's been toy fairs and ebay then that my (few) Small Soldiers toys have come from, most recently this one: Archer, leader of the Gorgonites aka 'the good guys'.

Since the toys are based on the toys from the film, there are certain expectations that kids are going to have. I think they'll probably be able to accept that the toys won't walk and talk, but beyond that... Size, articulation etc. They're going to want what they saw on screen.

Unfortunately the Kenner line takes a few liberties and they're demonstrated with Archer quite well, but I'll get to that in a moment. First, we'll go over what the figure does well. It's a very good representation of the character. It's quite big and chunky and you feel like you're getting a decent amount of plastic for your money. No part of him is fragile and he feels like he's built to last. He comes with a firing crossbow, and an arrow can store on his back (though this looks utterly ridiculous due to the relative sizes of the arrow/holster)

With the basics done very well in the figure, we'll move on to a few ways in which a kid my be a little disappointed. Archer isn't as big as he is in the film, though still reasonable large at around 7". This is to be expected since the toys in the film were all huge and there's no way a kid would ever be able to have a complete line of toys of that size.

The big kicker is the articulation. The figures use very basic 5 points - twists at the head, shoulders and legs. That's it. In the film the toys have elbow and wrist and knee articulation, but not here. Really, really annoyingly there are fake joints sculpted into the limbs. I suppose this was Kenner making the toys as accurate to the film as possible but deciding (probably) cost wouldn't allow for them to exist in reality. Boo!

Perhaps slightly biased due to my love of the film, I still really like this figure. In this day and age it's rare that figures of this size are produced, especially for movie figures (that aren't Star Wars), which is a pity. Maybe with falling oil prices we can start to see this type of thing again. Maybe. 

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