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When I saw Starship Troopers as a younger man I adored it for all the action, drama, and excitement it brought just like any other sci-fi adventure film. As a more mature adult revisiting it now I’m somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t see how blatantly this film is satirising the nature of war and our modern culture’s glorification of militarism. In fact, if they took it a few steps further the film could have completely vilified Earth and made the bugs the sympathetic characters. What is brilliant about Paul Verhoeven’s interpretation of this story is that it manages to effectively do those two things at once, it can be both a legitimate sci-fi action film and satire at the same time, and each audience member can draw what they like from it. Watching it this time, I thought it got a bit too silly in some scenes with the way it “glorifies” (and at the same time demonizes) violence. There’s some gruesome stuff, and they never seem to shy away from it to make their point. The effects of the bugs hold up relatively well even though it’s more than 20 years since the film was made. Sure, if you’re watching in high definition, there are some seams between the live action and CGI, but it seems like they made the smart decision to use some practical effects as well whenever the shot was more close up and didn’t show the whole creature. The gore effects were nasty, and unpleasant, but I suppose it was necessary to make the point. The cast is pretty good. I think Casper Van Dien might be a weak link in the chain simply because he doesn’t have much range in his performance, but he’s not a terrible actor by any stretch of the imagination. I know that people like to give Denise Richards a hard time for not being a good actress, but I think she holds her own quite well here. Overall, I enjoy Starship Troopers, even though it is ridiculously campy in many ways. I now recognize the intent behind the tone, and I can appreciate it for more than just the mindless action and soap opera style of love story. It’s smarter than it seems at first.
So, I hadn't seen this movie in about 15 years or so, back then I was about 10 years old and I remember thinking this was some kind of awesome action movie about space marines fighting disgusting alien creatures. And it is, I think that even in 2019, Starship Troopers, purely seen as an action movie, succeeds. Most of the effects hold up remarkably well, especially considering the film came out in 1997.
But I couldn't help but notice that this film was definitely going for something more, something deeper. And then out of curiosity I read some of the reviews of 1997 and how bad it was initially received. Some critics even called this a pro-fascist movie and I couldn't help but wonder if they had seen the same movie I did.
Starship Troopers is definitely a fascist movie, but not one that promotes this ideology, but rather satirizes it in a brilliant way. The performances by the actors in this movie, the even lighting especially at the beginning of the film definitely give it kind of a TV movie kinda vibe. And it works so well, because what Paul Verhoeven was going for was kind of like the 1950´s instructional/propaganda videos and it's actually something that is directly referenced throughout the film. You get this great commercial to join the war against the "bugs" with children involved as soldiers and a lot of things like that.
I think this movie may have been a little too clever for audiences and critics at the time, I think a lot of people missed the point and failed to look at the film with the sarcastic point of view that they should have used. I think the movie is clearly a satire of a culture that's blindly driven by hate and violence, propagated by politics and the military. I like that it's never really clear why the humans are at war with these creatures, but in the end, in that wonderful "It's afraid" scene, I think it becomes apparent what Paul Verhoeven was trying to communicate with the film. Since we never explicitly know why the humans are at war with these species, we can maybe assume that the government is just there the colonize these planets or to exploit their resources.
Johnny Rico is a character who starts out living pretty naively, along with Denise Richard's character and also Neil Patrick Harris. Everything from the way they deliver lines to the actual lighting of those scenes, alludes to brainless, naive young adults who think that war is all fun and games. There's a fantastic scene near the opening of the film, where they're in a classroom and the teacher, played by Michael Ironside (who is one of the best parts of the movie), is talking about how violence is pretty much engrained in the constitution and how it solves pretty much all problems. He then asks Johnny Rico if he believes in this. His answer is he doesn't know. And of course, by the end of the movie, Rico is completely gone, his transformation into a mindless commander in the military, complete. And he even says the same lines his former commanding officer used to tell him.
Anyway, I think the overall message of the movie is perfectly summarized in the end, in another one of those propaganda videos, we see that now Denise Richards is the new captain of the ship, Neil Patrick Harris is literally dressed in some kind of SS uniform and is conducting weird, seemingly painful experiments on the brain bug and of course, Johnny Rico is now a commanding war veteran, completely blinded as to why they are at war with these creatures. A fantastic picture about a society blindly driven by violence.
Awesome film that took everyone at teh time who went to see it by suprise as it was quite a box office flop. The special effects for its time were top notch and the story was well put together. I great action romp from start to finish.
Its so bad and over the top, that its actually a decent movie.
Take this movie for what it is: A satire of the sci-fi genre, a satire of the utopia of a "great new world". All this with excessive gore and aimless killing with OK acting and some memorable lines. A great movie to pass the time, if you like sci-fi and you are mature enough to know what a satire is.
I had been told, by a lot of people, that this movie was completely crappy. It has some "crap" elements in it but the story was okay...any story (with NPH) deserves a look.
The initial problem i have with this movie is it's dialogue, the back and forth (between characters) is kinda cartoon-like. And you can read the characters too easily.
Johnny tries too hard to be the alpha while the other guy comes off as the obvious douchebag for Carmen's attention....and Carmen's the slut who drops Johnny so fast it's laughable after she gets paired with his competition. Ace comes across as this pseudo-goofy and over-confident character while Carl is obviously going to be someone extremely important.
It all turns into an alien war movie against aliens that look a little like, wow, the aliens from the movie "Aliens"....and the troopers remind you of....wow...the Marines in "Aliens"....didn't see that coming, right?
The movie spawned other movies, one more horrible than the last.....i guess there are people that really like seeing knock-off movies. Some of the actors were smart enough to get out, some weren't.
Fun Netflix type movie
You can tell this is the work of Paul Verhoeven - the futuristic satire, coldness, fixation with robotics and brutal, repulsive action are all features of his utterly classic, much loved film Robocop. In fact, I suggest you watch his utterly classic, much loved film Robocop instead of this massive sci-fi production. Essentially, the same satire of militarism and authority pervades, but with an entirely bland cast, a non-compelling central character and a lot of hideous gore and CG. The advanced CG sequences are of a high standard for their day, but chunks of the film plagiarize Aliens and Star Wars quite badly, leaving the viewer wondering if Verhoeven is satirizing B-grade gung-ho action films or just making one. Slick but forgettable.
Starship Troopers is clearly meant to be a parody (and a deliberate middle finger) towards Heinlein's book and ideals, and it suffers on this end by blurring the line between being a parody of the book, a willful advocacy of the book, and flagrant misrepresentations of the book's content.
It's goofy and cliched, but ultimately watchable schlock.
One of the greatest chewing gum for the eyeballs action movies ever!!!