• Director: Joe Dante
• Writer: Gavin Scott, Adam Rifkin, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
• Release Date: 10 July 1998 (USA)
• MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some menacing action/violence and brief drug references.
• Genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi
• Runtime: 108 min.
• Box Office #s: Here
• Gregory Smith
• David Cross
15-year-old Alan Abernathy, the son of a toy store owner, tries out some new action figures: The Commando Elite vs. The Gorgonites. But three months ago, a toy company believes it is onto something when it employs the latest government military technology in a series of action figures, enabling them to talk. They underestimate the power of the special micro chips they’ve employed, however, as the two opposing sides of the toy line start thinking for themselves and engaging in real combat! The Commando Elite vow to wipe out the Gorgonites in a suburban neighborhood. Alan, his neighbor Christy Fimple, (on whom he has a massive crush) with the help of the kind Gorgonites, must protect his home and family from the Commandos.
From the Gallery
The piranha fish next to Alan’s computer is a reference to Piranha (1978), also directed by Joe Dante.
- The murder of Phil Hartman before the premiere caused some minor changes before release.
- George Kennedy, Clint Walker, Ernest Borgnine and Jim Brown were reunited to play the voices of the soldiers. Some 31 years earlier they appeared together as soldiers in the classic WWII movie The Dirty Dozen (1967).
- The head of Globotech is named Gil Mars. Mars was the Roman god of war.
- The Gorgonites (Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean) are reunited is this movie after they played together in A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London Sell-Out (1992) (TV).
- One of the Gorgonites is named “Freakenstien” in both the closing credits and the action figures. However in the movie he is never called that and he is always called by his original name that he had before being destroyed and rebuilt.
- Richard Jaeckel, who had also been in The Dirty Dozen (1967), was originally cast to play the voice of Link Static. Jaeckel died during principal photography, and the role eventually went to Bruce Dern.
- The music being played during the scene where they turn the “Gwendy” dolls into soldiers is the theme music from Bride of Frankenstein (1935).
- The old horror movie that the Gorgonites come across on the TV after accidentally switching channels from wrestling is The Trollenberg Terror (1958).
- WILHELM SCREAM: At 1hour, 37mins, 16secs when the Commando Elite soldier is breaking apart from the EMP on Stuart Abernathy’s chest.
- The movie was linked to an ill-fated fast-food marketing deal. Burger King agreed to market this with kid’s meals before it was rated PG-13. The film was released soon after Oregon teen Kip Kinkel shot his parents and went on a rampage at his school, so the Kip Killigun action figure was not distributed in Oregon.
- The movie is meant to take place in fictional Winslow Corners, Ohio, and the producers made an effort to represent Northeastern Ohio accurately: Alan rides his bike past a newsstand selling The Plain Dealer, a Cleveland-centered newspaper. Later he leaves his phone number on the Globotech voice mail system and gives the Akron area code of 330. The Heartland delivery truck appears to have 90s-style Ohio license plates and is a reference to the state generally, “Ohio: The Heart of it All!”
- The scene where Chip Hazard addresses his troops and appears in front of the large American flag is a nod to the opening of the film Patton (1970). The music heard is also from that film, written by Jerry Goldsmith (who wrote the score for THIS film).
- One of the very few movies to feature music by Led Zeppelin, a band notoriously strict about allowing their music to be used in films/games/etc.
- The original promotional artwork for the movie (which was later used for the home video cover) featured Chip Hazard pointing a gun sideways at the viewer. The artwork was altered, removing the gun, therefore giving the appearance of Chip reaching out instead. The original, unaltered artwork can actually be seen as a store display in the movie.
Christy Fimple: Sixteen? Where’d they get sixteen from?
Irwin Wayfair: Seven Gorgonites and nine people
Christy Fimple: Any sign of the Gorgonites?
Alan: No, none of them.
Phil Fimple: [calling off shot] Come on Christy!
Christy Fimple: [kisses Alan on cheek] I gotta go.
[Alan grabs her and kisses her overdramatically] Gil Mars: [getting into helicopter, looking at wreckage] Too bad, would’ve made a hell of a commercial.
Timmy Fimple: So when am I going to get the Major Chip Hazard figure?
Christy Fimple: Never, if you don’t shut up.