Small Soldiers (lost deleted scenes from action comedy film; 1998)

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Small soldiers poster.jpeg

The film's theatrical poster.

Status: Lost

Small Soldiers is an action comedy film released on July 10th, 1998, by director Joe Dante, who is best known for directing Gremlins. The plot concerns prototype figures from a 'military vs aliens'-themed toyline who have accidentally gained sentience and take their fight to the human world.

Originally, the film was designed as an R-rated dark satire, in keeping with Dante's signature approach. At the last minute the producers determined it had more appeal as a PG-13 action-comedy. As a result many scenes were cut from the film in a (not-entirely-successful) effort to switch focus.

As Dante recalled it:

"I was told to make an edgy picture for teenagers, but when the sponsor tie-ins came in the new mandate was to soften it up as a kiddie movie. Too late, as it turned out, and there are elements of both approaches in there. Just before release, it was purged of a lot of action and explosions."[1]

While a few deleted scenes have since been released as DVD extras, the most violent ones remain lost save for brief glimpses in very early trailers and TV spots.

These include a shot of Commando Butch Meathook causing the Abernathy house to explode, seen in several trailers; the ruins of the house can still be seen in the background of the finished film near the end, as Stuart Abernathy complains to Gil Mars. Also fully lost is a scene of the Commandos scaling human legs with grappling hooks.

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