Lazy Movie Review: I Declare War

i declare war header

Premise: Ten kids are playing a game of capture the flag, but they have very vivid imaginations, and the film portrays that by having their toy guns and water balloons actually be assault rifles and grenades. It’s (mostly) a comedy; a spoof of war movies.  I suppose, deep down, it’s some sort of statement film about how childish war actually is and whatnot…  But it’s a lot more fun just to look at it on the surface level of 13 year olds throwing grenades.



-I’ve got the nostalgia again, you guys!  When I was a kid, my friends and I used to pretend we were orcs while we played some sort of backyard LARPing Warcraft-type game.  I had a crazy imagination back then, and got really into it, but watching stuff like I Declare War makes me wonder how insane we must have looked while playing it?  Thank god that was a time before YouTube.  But yeah, this movie brought back a lot of memories of turning items from the garbage into battle weapons, and made me miss my childhood (in a good way).

-It actually has a pretty engaging story.  It’s predictable, sure, but that’s to be expected when it’s a tongue in cheek rehash of other famous war movies.  Still, it delivers for the most part on giving us escalating action.

-It did pretty good for being such a high concept film on its super low budget.  I don’t know what that budget was, I tried looking it up, but couldn’t find it.  It couldn’t have cost that much, though.  I suppose they had explosions and gunfire and stuff, but they just shot the whole thing outside in the forest during the day.  I did just look the box office numbers on it, though.  It has only made $14,000.  And it made $28 this past weekend.  I guess four people saw it on Saturday.

-The kids totally do the intense hand lock high five from Predator, and it’s awesome.

-At first I didn’t like the ending, because I thought it was sort of anticlimactic, as the kids just sort of go their separate ways after the “war” ends.  But then I thought about it, and it’s pretty damn realistic.  When playtime ends, people just sort of go home.  It’s kind of a bummer when the fun ends, but it has to happen eventually.

-I TOTALLY related to the scene when the kid found an awesome stick on the ground and then got really excited about what he could turn it into.  When you’re a kid with a good imagination, finding a badass stick on the ground is like the greatest thing ever.

-They did a fine job creating a truly hateable villain in Skinner.  Though, it’s kind of disturbing how much of a sociopath this kid was.  He was a major spaz, and it’s not surprising no one wanted to be his friend.  Kudos for making me hate a teenager so much.  A lot of the characters were pretty amusing, actually.  They are all plays on different types of characters you’d typically see in a war movie (the strategist leader, the loose cannon, the over-talkative guy, the mysterious quiet guy, the guy with too much face paint on, the priest, etc).

-Another good thing I’ll say about the ending was I enjoyed how the kids’ actions did actually lead to some consequences when it was over.  It’s just a game, man!  …OR IS IT…?

-Spoofing Platoon on the movie poster = NICE

i declare war poster



-As expected from a movie starring 100% children, the acting is not great.  It doesn’t help that they’re children actors from Canada, either.  Wooooo, gratuitous Canada burn!  [high five]

-The female character was…  interesting?  I guess?  At times, I really liked the character, because in a way she was also totally a psycho like most of the kids in this movie, going into vivid daydreams and talking to herself.  But then she ends up using her ability to flirt with all the guys in order to manipulate the entire game.  I guess it’s true that a girl could completely shatter the world of a group of 13-year-old boys if she wanted to, but I don’t know if this is the right movie to try to make that statement.  Also, I didn’t like how abruptly her story arc ended.

-Do kids really beat each other up this much?  When I was a kid, if one of my friends literally kicked me in the stomach while I was down, I’d probably have started avoiding them from that point on.  There’s a difference between playing rough, and beating the shit out of each other.  I guess it was probably over exaggerated because of the film’s concept?  Or because, again, almost every kid in this movie is deranged in some way.

-I think it would have been nice if there was an additional scene at the very end with of all the kids in school the next day, seeing how the war has affected them.  I could have been brief, it didn’t really need to be a thing or anything.  But it would have added something to the story I think.  But then they would have needed to buy a lighting kit.  That would take away from the Lunchables and Kool-Aid budget.


Final Thoughts:  It’s not the best movie in the world, but I was really entertained throughout.  If anything, it captured what it’s like to be a kid again.  It was really fun and (kind of) poignant like Stand By Me, but it still had all the dark undertones of Lord of the Flies.  It will make you probably fear the young people in your neighborhood, though.  I’ll just assume they’re all psychos now.  GET OFF MY LAWN.

7.5 out of 10


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