Movie of the Day – Starship Troopers
August 22, 2012 2 Comments
The only good bug is a dead bug.
Sweet Jesus Starship Troopers is one of the best, bad movie around. For a movie made in 1997, this is damn spectacle to behold. Nothing like seeing this movies in theaters and being blown away that this was a PG-13 movie and it had such excessive gore, tits and bloody violent as hell. I mean we are talking about shit that 12 year old (my age at the time) shouldn’t even be seeing until maybe 13, but then again my first R-rated movie was Predator and that was at 5. Still though, I was 5 and could only comprehend pretty lights and loud sounds.
Anyways, Starship Troopers is just the most militaristic, chest thumping movie around, but it is extremely satirical movie about militarism and does so in the most gloriously ridiculous way possible. Hit the jump if you would like to know more.
After graduation, Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) volunteers for the Mobile Infantry to do his Federal service — but also to win over his girlfriend, Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards), who has signed with the Fleet Academy to become a starship pilot. Johnny joins other boot-camp recruits — Dizzy Flores (Dina Meyer), who has had a crush on Johnny since school, and Ace Levy (Jake Busey). Ace and Johnny become pals, and Johnny’s abilities earn him the squad leader position. A training accident occurs on Johnny’s watch, and he is about to resign when Earth is attacked by alien insects intent on eradicating all human life. Johnny’s home, Buenos Aires, is no longer on the map. Horrified, he chooses to stay on and fight to destroy the insect threat. The Mobile Infantry travels to the planet Klendathu to battle the warrior bugs, a ruthless enemy with only one goal — survival of their species no matter what. In the initial encounter, some 100,000 lives are lost. At a distant fort, Johnny’s unit discovers that the bugs drain brains to acquire knowledge. Soon they are overwhelmed by an advancing arthropod army of immense proportions, attacking both in space and on the planet surface. The notion of human extinction becomes a possibility. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
I love you Paul Verhoeven, I really do. Verhoeven is an amazing directorial talent, seemingly able to just take a film property and amp it up to the tenth degree. Sure he made movies like Showgirls, which is horribly bad, but then gives us unbelievable films like Total Recall and Robocop. Starship Troopers is really one of his top films. Taking the ultra-militaristic novel by Robert A. Heinlein, Verhoeven turned it into a satire of the military complex. Sure we are dazzled by the spectacle of a $100 million dollar sci-fi action film, but there is a lot of subtext and messages that Verhoeven puts into his movies and repeat viewings are a must.
I enjoyed the way the movie is a lampoon and satire on militarism. The feeling of a fascists military society with it’s war propaganda like news reels and the xenophobic hatred towards bugs is wonderfully absurd, but also incredibly poignant. The military staging for an intergalactic battle is shoved onto the disposable troops that join to be a recognized as a citizen in the governments eye. Incompetency abound throughout the ranks of the military cabinets and even tongue-in-cheek speeches about violence being an assured answer to all of our problems.
Alright enough about the whole subtext of the movie and biting, satirical edge that Verhoeven injects into his films, lets talk about the greatness of this movie. Everything about this movie is just a b-movie covered in a veneer of amazing special effects and incredible ultra-violence. I mean you got these giant battle scenes where the spider looking things are just ripping troops apart and the flurry of spindly limbs being blown off by extremely large caliber weapons. It is just a buffet of violence and gore, perhaps a meaningful message about the atrocities of war and our lust for violence. The budget for this movie did not go to waste at all with these large scale invasions, massive explosions and extremely convincing visuals for the arachnids that are the main enemies. Incredibly expansive settings and large battle scenes are something to admire.
Starship Troopers is carried by stiff, wooden acting, overacting, and even earnest acting. The dialogue is Patton-esque in that each character is giving some military satire drenched speech about fighting the good fight or rallying the troops behind a hopeless cause. The dialogue makes you by into the fighting complex and the war propaganda that seeps into every scene. It is an acquired taste as the movie mashes together the violence we come to expect from Verhoeven and science fiction action films, but it also bashes you over the head with this satirical take on a military society such as ours. Lots of gore, lots of bullets, lots of alien and human killing and lots of subtext. Starship Troopers is an expensive B-movie that lives up to all my expectations.