Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Starship Troopers

Got this quote in the daily IMDB email for their movie of the day-

Paul Verhoeven started his career making documentaries for the Royal Dutch Navy, and he nearly ended it with Starship Troopers, a flop that ridiculed the American military. Fetishizing the fascistic nature of the film, Troopers centers on jockish Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien); his girlfriend, Carmen (Denise Richards); tomboy Dizzy (Dina Meyer); and brainy Carl (Neil Patrick Harris). All high school graduates are given an ultimatum: sign up for military service or forfeit your right to become a citizen -- status which enables you to have any sort of future.
The quartet enlists together, then they are ranked by their aptitude and assigned accordingly (though Dizzy volunteers for the infantry unit to which Rico is assigned). At the peak of their training, war with Klendathu, a planet inhabited by menacing bugs bent on destroying all humans, breaks out, and the children are sent into a battle for which they are unprepared. Right down to the faux interactive menus (asking if you'd like to know more), Verhoeven's design is a high-tech Go Army ad, and with a style poached from network television, sensational newsflashes interrupt the narrative. Somehow, after the beautiful disaster that was Showgirls, Verhoeven secured nearly $100 million dollars to bring Troopers to life. If it was intended to simply polarize audiences, then Troopers was a success. Its pro-military fireworks rallied some, yet others celebrated it as sublime parody... while select critics were sent into a rage. Washington Post critic (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Stephen Hunter called it a film that presupposes Nazism, writing, "It's spiritually Nazi, psychologically Nazi. It comes directly out of the Nazi imagination, and is set in the Nazi universe." - Arno Kazarian

I'm a big fan of Starship Troopers, the book and the movie, and I just cannot see how the Nazi comparisons come through- and I seem to recall hearing a lot of that at the time. Now, it's been a while since I saw the film but I seem to remember that Johnny's father was not a citizen and opposed his entering the military, but he seemed to be rather well off. Maybe these critics were so alarmed by the idea of having to earn their rights rather than have them handed to them?
Whatever, it's time to break out the DVD and have another watch. Now, if only they would make a film that accurately depicted the book!

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