When Small Soldiers was released back in 1998 I was so pumped for it. There were of course some very obvious reasons why too. Mainly, it was a new film from Joe Dante. The man who brought us the likes of The Howling, Gremlins, and Explorers to name a few. Naturally, then as I am now, I was a big kid at heart. The thought of action figures waging war for real was something I could get behind. Of course the fact that Small Soldiers had music from the legendary Jerry Goldsmith didn’t hurt either.
The late and great Jerry Goldsmith has 249 film and television credits to his name. While I will certainly admit that I use legendary a little too freely. I do not believe in fact you can describe his work as anything less. Planet of the Apes, Patton, Chinatown, as well as The Omen. And so much more. Furthermore Goldsmith played a little with his work from 1970’s Patton in Small Soldiers.
Now in just about three weeks, it will be the 20th anniversary of Small Soldiers. Varese Sarabande has released Small Soldiers: The Deluxe Edition just last week to celebrate. Back in 1998 when the original score was released there was a mere 9 tracks. Great that it was, many fans kept asking for an expanded version. Now there are 36 tracks with four of those being alternate takes. Here is the complete track listing:
Of course it should be no surprise that the Small Soldiers: Deluxe Edition soundtrack contains bombastic music. Both Dante and Goldsmith were indeed having fun with making a ‘war’ film. Melded with that though is a little touch of horror. Such as in the track Gwendys Attack.
With the Commando Elite you expect a military theme, right? You certainly get that in Roll Call and Prepare for Assault. Moreover it is even the central theme for the overall score. When it comes to the heroic Gorgonites however, it calls for something different. The characters are outcasts, bizarre, but peaceful as well as noble. Which is why you get such moving themes throughout the score like Alan and Archer or The Wind.
Friends, I miss the days when I could pop into my local music store and find a handful of new soundtracks. Even with the ease of online shopping it seems like Studios just aren’t releasing as many scores. It is why we should be so grateful that Varese Sarabande are still pleasing music fans with these releases. You can hop on over to their official site and order your copy of the Small Soldiers: Deluxe Edition soundtrack today.
Now that you know about the Small Soldiers Deluxe Edition soundtrack. Why not enjoy this interview with Jerry Goldsmith on his work for Star Trek: The Motion Picture?
Friends, a couple of months ago, a tongue in cheek video hit YouTube. Entitled Christopher Reeve’s Superman responds to Batman V Superman. Fellow Retroist author, Justin M. Salvato, sent it my way. The video gave us a glimpse of a world where the Superman of the 1978 – 1987 films reads something troubling. He sees in fact the reviews of the Batman V Superman movie from 2016.
So with that in mind, the Christopher Reeve version of Superman takes it upon himself to fix the problem. Namely in going back in time and changing history. Attempting to ‘save’ the film by finding another Director. In this particular case for this alternate universe that would have been Matthew Vaughn. Who about 9 months ago was in talks to helm the sequel to Man of Steel. Over on the CinemaBlend site, the Director was quoted about his vision of what a Superman film should be:
“Weirdly if I did do Superman – and I made the mistake of telling someone yesterday I have spoken about it and then wallop (laughs) – I think my main take would be, it’s really boring but make a Superman film. I just don’t feel a proper Superman – I think Donner did it to perfection for that time. Just doing the modern – I wanna do a modern version of the Donner [version]. Go back to the source material… For me Superman is color, feel-good, heroic. He’s a beacon of light in darkness. And that’s what I think Superman should be.”
Which for myself struck pretty deep because that is kind of the problem I had with the Man of Steel reboot of the films. Which is why Justin agreed to have a little chat with me about his thoughts on both films. Now it is important to bear in mind, if you enjoyed both films. We are indeed happy, for us though we had issues with the portrayal of Superman.
However, before that, how about you watch Christopher Reeve’s Superman responds to Batman V Superman.
Spoilers Ahead for Man of Steel as well as Batman V Superman.
Vic: Justin, I certainly want to live in that universe where Matthew Vaughn directed Batman V Superman. Now please don’t get me wrong. Up until Man of Steel I supported Zack Synder in all of his films. In fact I feel he did the impossible by delivering not only a fantastic remake of Dawn of the Dead but he delivered a very loyal film adaptation of Watchmen.
It’s just that I don’t think he gets what makes Superman…so super.
Justin: I was impressed with Watchmen, but feared Man of Steel would use too many digital special effects. While Man of Steel did have an amazing amount of effects, it didn’t have that purposely fake scenery that we saw in 300. However, taking the color saturation down and making the tone of the movie depressing & dark really bothered me.
V: I totally agree with your take on the stylistic choices to mute not just the colors of Man of Steel. But in Snyder’s effort to, pardon the pun, ground the movie to make it more serious. It is altering the core of what makes Superman special. I will admit that when I was in the audience watching Man of Steel I was entertained. However there were moments that rubbed me wrong to be sure. Case in point the scenes between Jonathan Kent and young Clark. I hope no one will misunderstand me, this isn’t a matter of doubting whether Jonathan loved his Son – not in the least. I get that his Father is so torn with fear that Clark will be taken away from them that he has to not just sacrifice himself…needlessly….but even suggest that innocents should perish to keep the secret.
Obviously there is the matter of Superman’s fight with General Zod too that really upset me. I’ve heard the arguments from the filmmakers as well – this is before Clark learned to control all his powers. This is a Clark Kent that has yet to master all of his superhuman abilities.
Sure. But he also is a Superman that doesn’t quite mind costing taxpayer’s between 10 and 400 million dollars by shooting down spy satellites as a point. As I was walking out of the theater after seeing Man of Steel, I really started to get upset at what I had seen. Yet again, I really don’t think Snyder gets what makes Superman a hero.
Clark cares, he truly wants to help those in need. He feels a responsibility to not be a superhero but be a good person. If he had no super powers he would still be helping others. Simply by following what should be at the heart of the character. That any of us can help make the World a better place, every single day, just by caring for others.
J: Hadn’t thought about Superman blowing taxpayer money like that, but it sounds like the money was wasted the moment the government had decided to make a satellite to spy on an ally.
The writing in Man of Steel was very questionable. As you stated, Jonathan Kent died needlessly. And for him to suggest that innocent people may have to die to protect Clark’s secret is… Going against canon. That questionable writing was carried over into Batman Vs. Superman. The court room scene… Superman couldn’t have prevented the explosion?
V: I definitely don’t want to sound like I’m ragging on Snyder, like I mentioned already I really have enjoyed his filmography until Man of Steel. I felt so strong about that in fact I refused to see Batman Vs Superman. Which is truly against my personal ethos, do not judge a film until you’ve seen it for yourself.
However it just looked like more of what I disliked about the first film. I certainly wasn’t finding my opinion being changed by the reviews that were coming in at the time of the movie’s release. Having said that, I can deal with Batman being dour and dark…it’s kind of his calling card, right? Superman however, there is a reason he has been labeled as the ‘Great blue boy scout’. I understand though how Snyder and the writing team of David Goyer as well as Christopher Nolan wanted to not just update the character but make him a little more ‘real’.
To me though they weren’t being true to the actual character of Superman nor Clark Kent. Justin, since I’ve not seen the sequel, maybe you can point out some things that stood out for you?
J: Besides a confusing plot that tried to wedge in Wonder Woman, the movie made Superman seem a lot more ordinary. Of course there’s the Martha debacle. That was simply terrible writing. I also didn’t care for the changes they made to Doomsday.
It was a film that tried to fit in too much. Marvel films can do it. That’s not to say there weren’t some good things. Batman was cool. His toys, car, and suit used to fight Superman were pretty sweet. Acting was good, but Lex Luthor… I don’t know. To be frank, if Patty Jenkins directed Man of Steel and BvS, DC films would be on par with Marvel.
V: I most certainly agree that Patty Jenkins would have probably delivered a film that was more true to the character of Superman. I hope we’ve not sounded too negative in our discussion, Justin. I think that with Justice League we saw Warner Bros. and DC attempting to fix some of these very issues. Friends, I suppose that only time will tell how that plays out, right?
Now that you’ve seen how Christopher Reeve fixes Batman V Superman. Why not look back at the many ways Superman has been portrayed for 80 years?
The other day I was perusing Facebook while covering my shift at the Retroist Vault. Eric LeFeber, one of our friends from Warpo toys posted something pretty awesome. The Skeksis Castle from 1982’s The Dark Crystal is being produced by Sideshow Collectibles.
Yes, that bastion of Evil that the Skeksis represented on Thra can now be pre-ordered. The very place that the Skeksis gathered daily to prolong their life in the Crystal’s chamber. Will indeed be available soon to sit on your desk.
Now I will admit you don’t have to wear the finery of a Skeksis when you purchase the Skeksis Castle. I simply put forth the suggestion that if you do it will enhance this collectible. For my money one should attempt to pull off the style of SkekZok the Ritual-Master.
I have looked through the press release below from Sideshow Collectibles concerning the Skeksis Castle. I did not however find any information on if you will be able to release the crystal bats on owning the collectible.
All right now. With all my silliness aside. Sideshow Collectibles as well as Chronicle Collectibles is releasing something amazing. Read this press release to see why the castle collectible is so special:
“Sideshow and Chronicle Collectibles proudly present from The Dark Crystal: the Castle of the Skeksis Scaled Replica! The Castle of the Skeksis is an iconic piece instantly recognizable to anyone who is a fan of this classic film. Relive the epic journey of Jen and Kira as they travel to the Castle of the Skeksis by owning this magnificent prop replica.
To ensure fans are getting a high-end collectible made to exacting standards, The Jim Henson Company allowed Chronicle Collectibles to 3-D scan the original screen-used prop. Artists then painstakingly documented and photographed every twist and turn of the spires to guarantee a precise scaled replica that The Dark Crystal fans will be overjoyed to own.
Measuring over 18” tall and approximately 8” wide and made out of polyresin, this museum-quality scaled replica will be the perfect centerpiece to show your love for The Dark Crystal. The next Great Conjunction is near!”
You can visit any of the links to Sideshow Collectibles to pre-order today. The expected delivery date is between January and March of 2019. Definitely a perfect gift for The Dark Crystal fan in your life, right?
Of course if the Skeksis Castle isn’t really your thing. How about pre-ordering the Emperoro’s Scepter instead?
Oh boy. I am definitely feeling a little old today. Some might even say I am feeling a bit like a dinosaur? Certainly understandable when you realize that today is the 25th Anniversary of Jurassic Park, right?
I have mentioned many, many times before how I have always loved movies. As well as how in my teenage years I began to think seriously about a career in entertainment. From the long afternoons after school with my fellow students in the Video Production Club. I began to indeed play around with the idea of becoming a film Director. Then on the evening of June 11, 1993. It was all but cemented as my friends and myself, sitting in a packed auditorium, were treated to Steven Spielberg’s new science-fiction adventure.
My word, friends. That opening scene, giving us our first taste at what is going down on Isla Nublar. If anyone in the audience had been disrespectful, talking after the auditorium lights had gone down. The ending of that scene definitely had everyone completely silent. It also happened to feature my favorite character from Jurassic Park. Robert Muldoon, the park’s game warden. Expertly played by the late and great Bob Peck.
Yes, I do in fact have that trading card sitting on my desk as I type this.
With this being the 25th Anniversary for Jurassic Park, I couldn’t let it pass without writing something about it. Sitting in the audience that night, it was like a curtain had been pulled back by Spielberg. At least for myself. While I was thrilled and even scared in some scenes…something clicked. I not only wanted to learn everything, every thing I could about how the film was made. I also felt an overwhelming desire to want to entertain people the same way. I walked out of the Razorback Theater that night and certainly knew what career I wanted to follow.
I devoured every single making of book as well as magazine featuring Jurassic Park. In addition I found a T-Shirt that I loved so much…I wore it until it was all but a rag. I have spent so long trying to find one and tonight, just minutes after sitting down to write. Ebay came through and while it is indeed meant for a youth I might have to drop the 85 bucks to put it in glass and hang it on the wall.
Jurassic Park was a worldwide phenomenon and for good reason. You had not only just the talent of Spielberg leading the charge. But an astounding cast of actors such as Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Martin Ferrero, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Richard Attenborough, and of course Jeff Goldblum. Let us not forget however that sweeping and moving score by John Williams.
Now I hope for this 25th Anniversary for Jurassic Park you are able to revisit the 1993 film. It still holds up to say the very least. On the other hand you might be doing the very thing I plan on doing to celebrate. Playing the new Jurassic World Evolution!
On this 25th Anniversary for Jurassic Park, I want to take a moment and thank you.
I did not in fact become the Director I had dreamed of in my youth. I did however still find a way to do what little I can to entertain others. By way of this very site, sharing my feelings on all things retro. Through the Saturday Frights, Diary of an Arcade Employee, and Retro Radio Memories podcasts. Thanks to the Retroist himself I hope myself and others have achieved a little of that dream I had in 1993.