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Sunday Streaming: Starship Troopers (1997)

January 31st, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

Hey, STARSHIP TROOPERS is free to view on CRACKLE (HERE)! What’s that? You don’t think of STARSHIP TROOPERS as having anything to do with horror? I’ll be sure to tell that luckless soldier whose decapitated head is flying in the opposite direction of his severed torso that you feel that way. I’m sure he’ll find your assessment comforting when his intestines fall like ribbon confetti all over his frozen in mid-scream face.

I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I find STARSHIP TROOPERS to be a non-stop hurricane of creepy-crawly monstrous entertainment. Why, I came across it the other night flipping channels and regardless of how late it was, I could not turn the darn thing off! When it first came out (way back in ‘97), I naturally dug the goopy effects but felt the storyline was over the top hokey and way too rah-rah action figure oriented. Well guess what, I was a real dope because that off-putting, nationalistic, hurray for blondes, xenophobic, militaristic vibe was part of it its not- so- subtle in hindsight, elbowing point. It’s so ahead of its time. I can’t even call it satire because it’s basically just reality sprinkled with giant bugs.

Blah, I should probably stay away from the political because, first of all, I’m too sheltered/ignorant and second of all, that’s the most boring way to approach a piece of art that features the fantasy acting trio of CLANCY BROWN, MICHAEL IRONSIDE and RUE McCLANAHAN. If those three aren’t enough to crack your toes, there are spaceships exploding everywhere and stampede after stampede of marauding alien insects. How can you go wrong? This is the type of movie that if it senses you are loosing interest, it will mercilessly whip CASPER VAN DIEN! Word on the street is that STARSHIP TROOPERS is PAUL VERHOEVEN’s favorite film that he ever directed and I’m suddenly inclined to agree with him. It’s just so fantastic and epic and gleefully indulgent and brilliantly subversive and slyly progressive and gorgeously ugly and somehow equally sharp and squishy and like all great underappreciated movies, it further solidifies and simply gets better by the day. Plus, it’s basically SAVED BY THE BELL meets ROBOCOP and ain’t nothing wrong with that.

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4 years ago

off-putting, nationalistic, hurray for blondes, xenophobic, militaristic vibe was part of it its not- so- subtle in hindsight, elbowing point.

You and Verhoeven seemed to share the same opinion of the source material. lol
“I stopped after two chapters because it was so boring,” says Verhoeven of his attempts to read Heinlein’s opus. “It is really quite a bad book. I asked Ed Neumeier to tell me the story because I just couldn’t read the thing. It’s a very right-wing book. And with the movie we tried, and I think at least partially succeeded, in commenting on that at the same time. It would be eat your cake and have it. All the way through we were fighting with the fascism, the ultra-militarism. All the way through I wanted the audience to be asking, ‘Are these people crazy?'”

Brother Bill
4 years ago

One of my favorite sci-fi/action films of all time… Verhoeven does so much world-building right under the noses of the viewer, sometimes just with little throw-away comments that have staggering implications (one character mentions serving in the military in order to get a license to have a baby, etc.) The action scenes are intense and the special effects mostly hold up even 20 years later. But behind the splattered bugs is a devious plot that seems to be playing a few tricks on the audience. The triggering event that sends the Starship Troopers into war against the bugs is a… meteor crashing in Buenos Aires! News reporters tell us the meteor was a weapon sent by the bugs, and yet we haven’t seen ANYTHING to suggest the bugs actually have the ability to launch/steer meteors, much less aim then with accuracy across the galaxy. Was it just a random meteor landing, being used as a premise for war? Verhoeven sure as hell isn’t going to spell it out for you, and yet its all there.

4 years ago

My experience was pretty similar.

Read the book as a young teen not long before the movie came out. Thought the book had some cool stuff in it, but the political ideas were hard to take seriously and that bogged it down a bit. Unfortunately, without the political stuff, it’s just a shallow “popcorn” boy’s adventure story, so it didn’t leave a big impression on me.

When I saw the movie I was sort of offput by the OTT-ness. I got that it was supposed to be an in-universe propaganda film of the sort that were common during WWII, but didn’t get that it was satire, so it just felt kind of loony tunes. Didn’t find out that it was supposed to be mocking until years later, at which point everything suddenly made perfect sense.

Fun trivia:

Many of the background spaceship models had joke names because the modelmakers knew no one would be able to see the markings on screen. Most are named after various crewmembers, but one is named the “Frank is Love”.

The large close-up model of the Roger Young’s bridge tower made for the asteroid near-crash scene has a miniature Millenium Falcon on the back, in a homage to the scene in TESB where the Falcon hides by attaching itself to the back of a star destroyer bridge tower. It is actually visible in the film, but only in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot.

4 years ago

bridge tower made for the asteroid near-crash scene has a miniature Millenium Falcon on the back, in a homage
(That pic of the Millennium Falcon.)