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They just keep getting worse...
on 29 September 2008
While I thoroughly enjoyed the first in this trilogy, the second was a bitter disappointment. After seeing the adverts for this while channel surfing it began to look like the writers for Starship Troopers knew they'd made an appalling film second time around and made a stab at creating a worthy sequel to the original.
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder was dreadful from start to finish. Granted, it cannot be denied the fact that they had done a respectable job with the budget they had, they really should have waited until they had the funds. It was not only the barbarically terrible acting, cheesy one-liners and cardboard animations on the bugs but the overall story did not do the Starship Troopers franchise any good.
Without giving away too much of the story for those who are brave enough to buy this and sit right through from beginning to end (as I did, confident it was going to get better) I will go through some of the things that were either annoying, unnecessary or just plain wrong.
First, the guns. In the original they were slightly larger than a standard issue assault rifle which was explained by the creators as the machine guns housing advanced computers and cooling systems, which is fair enough. In ST3, they look to be a little over 1 metre in length. They don't seem to be capable of doing anything more than shooting bullets, lobbing grenades or acting as a pathetically weak flashlight. So why are they so big?
Secondly, the action. I counted, there are only 3 scenes in the whole movie in which some characters fight a hoard of bugs. This is not acceptable. This movie focuses too much on the political side of this futuristic world, showing us several hangings (which made me deeply uncomfortable and slightly sick) that did not seem to advance the plot in any way shape or form. The final scene in which there is a barely acceptable amount of action contains the long-awaited Power Armour that was featured heavily in the original novel by Robert A. Heinlein in 1959. This scene lasts only a few minutes, so it is over before you have a chance to really get into it. To add insult to injury, the mechanical marvels they wear to fight the bugs seem severely underpowered and the awkward camera angles fail to do them any further justice.
Thirdly, the Q-Bomb. Capable of destroying an entire planet, I was eagerly anticipating what seemed to be the highlight of this god awful movie. When it is fired at the very end, the badly animated explosion is blocked by an overly-ambitious kiss by two key characters, so I was almost crushed by my own disappointment.
Fourth, religion. This almost seems like a propaganda film put out by the church of Christianity. Heavily referenced, God is said to have been the one to wipe the bugs off the planet featured this time around, not the seven heavily armed marines or the Q-Bomb. I have nothing against religion, I want to make that as clear as day, people can believe what they want and I'm fine with that, but to put it in a science fiction film is unacceptable. It seems the sole purpose of this film is not to entertain, but to convert.
Fifth, the bugs themselves. The original movie showed off animations that was ahead of its time. This film, however, incorporates what looks like the use of puppets and animatronics for the close-ups and upsettingly recycled animation for distant walk cycles. The original (comparing again) shows bugs fighting amongst themselves during an apparent migration, but this time, the animations are flat and the bugs too friendly to one and other. The new and interesting bug that was featured, named the `Scorpion' (resembling one, but in place of a stinger is a plasma cannon) is shrouded in shadow, so you don't even get a good look at it and is on camera for less than a minute.
Lastly, the characters. I didn't care about any of them and more often than not found myself hoping that several key characters died by the hands (or jaws, whatever) of a warrior bug or something, just to add some action to the bland scenes of a group of stranded, emotionless people make their way across the surface of a calm, happy looking planet with guns larger than a human leg.
This film is dreadful and it is beyond me why it received near universal applause. If ever another Starship Troopers film comes out, I will be the first to buy it, because I am absolutely positive that one day there will be one worthy to call Starship Troopers: The Official Sequel. I love this franchise, but it only goes as far as the original novel (which I urge people to purchase) and the first movie.