Starship Troopers was originally a book released in 1959 written by the rather famous sci-fi author Robert A. Heinlein. I haven't read it (getting hold of a copy is difficult) so can't compare it with the film but what I can tell you is the 1998 film adaption brilliant and deeper then the cover or action suggest.
The films plot is fairly thin on the surface focusing on Johnny Rico, an athletic star who upon finishing school joins the Troopers to follow the girl of his dreams just before earth is attacked and plunged into war with an alien race known as the Arachnids (or bugs).
The film however is surprisingly more than it seems with earth ruled by an apparent military fascist state where if you want to vote, get university scholarship or even have children you have to do a term of service for the federation. This sub plot, full of political satire is a genuinely interesting theme running through the background of what seems to be a mindless action movie at first glance. Throughout the film it cuts to news reels or advertisements run by the state showing live executions of criminals and trying to persuade people to enlist in the federation to gain citizenship.
If however you are interested in Starship Troopers for the expected action rather than it's more subtle undertones then this film is more than definitely still for you. Every moment from Rico's training in boot camp right upto fleets of ships and marines invading bug planets is fantastic, often bloody and not without the odd bit of dark humour thrown into the mix with it.
The special effects even sixteen years later are still (and I exaggerate not) better than some films that come out today. The ships in space, arachnids running around, particle effects etc are still seriously impressive. I honestly can't believe how good the visuals still are. The soundtrack is equally impressive with it's orchestral military themes during the action down to the school prom music is perfect.
Though I love this film to bits though not all of it is perfect. The acting performances are a little campy in places but it kind of works as the film is rather tongue and cheek anyway. There are some good performances though, most notably from Michael Ironside.
As a blu-Ray though the film has obviously been enhanced to HD the extras haven't, in ether amount or quality. It features a screen test, some trailers etc that last less then maybe twenty minutes and the quality is abysmal, almost like they took it straight from an old VHS.
Essentially though perhaps not the deepest movie, not the best acted or well written but Starship Troopers is a film I have loved for many years and is more than the sum of it's parts.
+ Political satire moments are clever.
+ Action is outstanding.
+ Special effects and soundtrack are hugely impressive still.
- Blu-Ray extras are sorely lacking and of poor quality.
(Edit: I have since read the book as it's now available on kindle and though some names and scenes are the same they are otherwise radically different)
on 15 July 2007
I think a lot of people, including some reviewers here, soft-pedal or miss the really brutal satire at work here. It was trashed by one US reviewer when it came out as 'Melrose Place Goes to War' (in reference to a now long defunct Beverly Hills 90210 knock off), which in a sense it is, but that's the point. It presaged our current conflicts, but the film is more relevant and funnier now than ever, dressing up beautiful people in post-Wehrmacht garb and sending them off to have their brains sucked out while in the heartland women encourage their kids to stamp on bugs. Otherwise, the effects are cartoonish but fun and the world scarily recognisable...
on 28 August 2007
There are 43 Amazon reviews on the standard definition version of this film so I will comment on the Blu-ray aspects only. I did not expect to see such an old film come out in high definition format. This movie is largely made with computer generated graphics which probably explains why the image quality is so high. The many action scenes are pin sharp with vivid colours and no motion blurring. Looks amazing and even if you don't love the movie worth having to demonstrate the full benefits of high definition. When the non computer generated scenes are viewed there is a slight but noticable drop in image quality with slight grainyness hence only the 4 star rating.
on 15 August 2010
This film is rightly considered a classic. It can be watched on two levels. On the surface its a great action film with sweeping battle scenes. On another level there is a lot of ironic, tongue in cheek humour in the film. In a really subtle way the subtext of the film is an allegory about fascism, with nods to the Roman Empire.
If you want to see pretty people shooting up aliens, this film will not disappoint, but there is so much more besides. Its very slightly dated now, but still worth the watch.
on 13 August 2014
Never has a film been made that is so tongue in cheek all the way, and with such violent and exciting action scenes and gory deaths that you keep coming back to it. It has elements of Aliens but Verhoeven shows you a world not far removed from a future started in his RoboCop and just after Total Recall. It's hinted that a group of army leaders have taken over the world and created what they think is a Utopian Society where to be anything in life (even having babies) means you have to join the military and do service. And as military leaders are apt to do, with no one left to fight on Earth, they start a war against a load of bugs across the galaxy.
This, though, is the backstory to Carmen, Rico and Dizzy's love triangle that throws them all into the mix in the fight against the bugs. Drag in the never dull Jake Busey and you have a real roller coaster that showed early CGI should not be ignored, but when used properly creates a truly fantastic backdrop.
Two scenes I immediately checked on Blu Ray. Rico's solo fight against one of the big bugs and the scenes in space when the ships are attacked. Quality in sound and vision is fantastic, well worth trading up your DVD.
As well as the gore and violence there is some nudity but it is worth remembering that when Verhoeven got his young cast to film the shower scene, he stripped off as well to show them not to be embarrassed. Sad that most of the main cast never really got a kick start with this, but some people will love it and others hate it.
I hate top ten lists but force my arm and this is on it.
on 14 July 2008
Version: E.U / BVHE Touchstone / Region Free
Running time: 2:09:37
Movie size: 37,491,136,512 bytes
Disc size: 40,984,117,470 bytes
Average Video Bit Rate: 26.56 Mbps
LPCM 5.1 4608Kbps English
DD AC3 5.1 640Kbps
* Deleted Scenes (8 min. SD)
* Scene Developments with Audio Commentary (9 min.SD)
* Making-of Featurette (8 min.SD)
* Screen Tests: Johnny and Carmen (4 min. SD)
* Teaser Trailer (2 min. SD)
Movie: 4.5/5 Picture Quality: 3.5~4.25/5 Sound Quality: 3.5~4/5 Extras: 4/5
Version: U.S.A / Sony Pictures / Region Free
MPEG-4 AVC BD-50 / High Profile 4.1 (1080p) / High Profile 3.2 (480p)
Running time: 2:09:27 [could be due to an editing error that trims the running time by 4 to 6]
Movie size: 35,201,273,856 bytes
Disc size: 44,711,666,541 bytes
Average video bit rate: 23.00 Mbps
Dolby TrueHD English 1834 kbps (5.1/48kHz/16-bit)
Dolby TrueHD French 1971kbps kbps (5.1/48kHz/16-bit)
Dolby Digital 2.0 192 Kbps
Subtitles: English / English SDH / French / Spanish
Number of chapters: 16
* 2 Audio Commentaries
* Screen Tests
* Deleted Scenes
* FX Comparisons
* FedNet Mode Picture-in-Picture Commentary (Profile 1.1)
* BD-Live Content (Profile 2.0)
* Recruitment Test
on 11 December 2010
When I saw "Starship Troopers" the first time, I was appalled. It looked like a (really bad) fascist propaganda movie. The fascism was so overt, that I started wondering why nobody else was reacting the way I did!
It's because it's parody, stupid.
"Starship Troopers" is nominally based on Robert Heinlein's famous novel, but in reality it's a parody, criticizing Heinlein and his bizarre vision of a society in which only war veterans have full citizenship rights. In the process, the movie also makes fun of American militarist propaganda, and indeed militarist propaganda in general. In many ways, "Starship Troopers" is a deliberate turkey. It looks like the worst Nazi movie ever made, but it's supposed to look that way.
"Starship Troopers" is actually quite intellectual!
The funny thing is that many people just don't get it. Some love the movie precisely *because* it looks like a militarist propaganda movie. Others hate it for the same reason. Still others, i.e. the most devout Heinlein fans, see "Starship Troopers" as a walking insult to Heinlein's great novel, which some people treat almost as a second Bible. (Prediction: soon, somebody will point out that Federal Service is broader than the military.)
The plot of the film doesn't deserve closer scrutiny. "The Federation" (spouting an eagle as symbol - the American eagle? Or a Nazi eagle?) is under attack by a race of monstrous, intelligent spiders from the mysterious planet Klendathu. A group of beautiful, perfect and young adults, fresh out of high school, decide to volunteer in the military. Their leader is a completely crazy old vet. Curiously, the fascist military dictatorship is multi-racial and gender-blind. When the attack on Klendathu fails, the White male dictator resigns, being replaced by a Black female. Ironically, this "political correctness" is freely based on Heinlein, who was indeed anti-racist, but real American propaganda movies can also be multi-racial ("Iron Eagle" comes to mind). Later in the movie, the beautiful Nazi kids finally put their act together and manage to defeat the bugs on another planet, where they are promptly joined by a team of SS-looking scientists. There, the movie ends, inconclusively. Along the way, we are treated to some really hefty special effects (naturally, the bugs are much larger and even more "alien" than in the novel).
Strange fact: shortly after the premier of "Starhip Troopers" in Sweden, a new Swedish translation of Heinlein's original novel was published...with a picture from the movie on its front cover!
That's almost postmodern. The parody is used to sell the thing parodied. Gee, what a mindjob.
Naturally, I have to give this ridiculous Nazi slapstick five stars.
on 3 January 2008
Good film. This is probably one of my best blu-ray discs. The space scenes are very crisp and look superb. The non-cgi scenes are slightly grainy but still not as bad as some 'remastered' blu-ray discs I have seen.
If you liked the film and have it on standard dvd and have a blu-ray player I would recomend buying this and getting rid of your standard copy. The improvement is definitly worth it.
on 20 May 2007
A true pleasure to watch! This film falls into two categories: the late night gung-ho, watch with a few beers, action genre. And the 'hmmm what if?' look at a future society.
Reflections of the world today are given and amplified. The issues concerning the role of government, the people and of course the military are addressed in an enjoyable yet not oppressing or condescending manner. Philosophy for the masses!
If you want to analyse it, analyse it. If you want to just kick back with a friend, stick on a film and have a few cold ones, then you can do that too!
Although it lacks the magical aura of the Star Wars movies, I regard Starship Troopers as one of the finest science fiction films ever made. The graphics are incredible and the storyline pulses with a strong dash of a sociopolitical critique. In the future, you are either a citizen or a civilian; only citizens can vote, and the only guaranteed manner in which to earn citizenship is voluntary service in the Federation's armed forces. The movie begins with a series of propagandistic news teasers about the state of the threat posed to mankind by the giant alien bugs of the Klendathu system on the other side of the galaxy, a civilization that has been launching deadly meteors at Earth for some time. In the middle of the carnage of the ill-fated invasion of Klendathu, the scene shifts back to the year before. Johnny Rico (Caspar Van Dien) signs up for military service because his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards) has joined up with the hope of becoming a pilot; their mutual friend Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris) also joins up. While Carmen is accepted to flight school and Jenkins is assigned to military intelligence, Rico is made a grunt in the Mobile Infantry. He is joined there by another former classmate, Dizzy Flores (played wonderfully by Dina Meyer), who has long had her eye on Rico. Boot camp is incredibly harsh and difficult because the MI only wants the best soldiers. Before long, a Klendathu meteor strikes the earth, wiping Buenos Aires off the map, and the armed forces quick launch an invasion of Klendathu. The rest of the movie revolves around the continuing war effort, featuring some incredible battle scenes with loads of gory realism.
This is Rico's story. He joined up for the wrong reasons (but I can certainly understand how a Denise Richards could influence such a decision), soon receives a "Dear John" video letter from Carmen (although their paths will cross again), and indirectly causes the death of one of his squad members, but when the war begins he quickly becomes not only a real soldier but a real leader, as well. This is no easy task, as his climb in the ranks is made possible by the death of those he serves under. I love Denise Richards, but her role in the movie never quite seemed to fit her. All she cares about is flying, and she is quick to ingratiate herself upon those she thinks can help her make it to the fleet academy; in space, she quickly forgets all about Rico and teams up with her direct supervisor. There is very little human about her--contrast this with Dizzy, who is very down to earth and serves as the true heroine of the action. Possibly in line with the rather obvious fascist satire of the one-world earth federation, the military intelligence guys dress like the Gestapo, and believe me when I say that seeing Doogie Howser in a Gestapo-like getup is a rather surreal experience.
The effects are top of the line. The CGI animation of the giant bugs is incredible and very realistic; they rely on their pointed appendages rather than actual weapons to skewer and slash the enemy, and they really know how to tear into a human body. It takes a lot of bullets to kill them, and they die rather messily. The deaths of earth's soldiers is also ultra-realistic and realistically gory. As morbid as this sounds, I must say that nowhere else have I seen beheadings done so perfectly and believably. Most impressive of all are the visual effects of earth's spaceships; the explosions in space are of epic proportions, and we see greatly detailed features of ships splitting in two, crashing, and burning.
While this movie may not be true to the original Heinlein spirit, it nevertheless does succeed as thought-provoking moviemaking at its best. The social and political implications of the type of future society presented here are quite relevant to the world as we know it today, as are the insights into fighting a world-wide war against enemies we may not truly understand. The warfare is intense and the heroic actions of many of the movie's characters are awe-inspiring, but the movie pulls no punches in bringing home the fact that war is a terrible, ugly business and warns us that we must really know our enemies before launching a war against them. I won't go into the various subplots, but they hold the movie together and really force its points home on the viewer. At 130 minutes long, you really get your money's worth--this is science fiction movie-making at its best.