Bear with me, dear reader.
Comparing basic plot points, both movies are basically identical. Both involve two lines of toys battling it out. While yes, a car is a much bigger toy than an action figure, a car is basically and adult's toy. Grown men and children are both passionate and protective over their toys. And the fact that Transformers is based off of a toy line helps my argument further. While Transformers has Autobots and Decepticons, Small Soldiers has Commando Elite and Gorgonites. Basically, Transformers is just Small Soldiers on a much larger scale.
The Autobot logo has a five-head.
It is true that the Transformers franchise has been around since the 80s, but remember that I'm not talking about the franchise itself but just the first movie. Both movies involve awkward teenagers thrust into action by inanimate objects. And getting the girl in the end helps a lot too. And while I've always had a crush on Kirsten Dunst since her Spider-Man days, it's hard not to leer at Megan Fox's, now iconic, engine checking.
[Insert dip-stick joke here]
Probably the most interesting reason for the comparison, to me, is Kevin Dunn. Dunn plays the bumbling father in both movies. And the roles are pretty much interchangeable. Now yes, there are only so many ways to play a frazzled father, but to me this is the main link to both movies. Transformers may very well be a hidden remake to the modest 1998 hit. Or maybe even a quasi-sequel. Maybe Dunn's character secretly had two families.
It's always the people you least expect.
Really, in the end, I just want more people to know about Small Soldiers. Because I remember enjoying it as a kid. It's like Transformers enough to be noteworthy. Small Soldiers is even, arguably, better than Transformers. Both are dumb popcorn movies but Small Soldiers has more heart. Transformers is just a big car commercial. And Small Soldiers was Phil Hartman's last film. That's reason enough to check it out.