Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Starship Troopers (1997) - Movie Review - 10/10

Miss it, and you're missing out!

Starship Troopers is one of those rare films, that is substantially more than the sum of its parts. The shame is, that most don't see past the enjoyable gloss, and see it as simply a mindless action movie.

So what sets it apart? For one, it contains the biting satire, grim humour and violence of Paul Verhoeven and Edward Neumeier's previous science fiction collaboration, Robocop. Starship Troopers can be seen on one level as a tale of lost innocence, and coming of age. On another, it is a satire, based around the idea of a somewhat controlling alternative form of government, that frighteningly works. (To simply call it fascist, is an easy dismissal, and misses the point, I believe) It is nothing extreme or outlandish, except in the left wing world of Hollywood, where script writer Neumeier was vilified somewhat for adapting it from Heinlein's novel. It is simply a thought provoking tale, dressed up with the fun of action and adventure.

In many ways it is a shame that the film veered so much from the original novel, yet it does succeed amazingly well in its own right. It is perhaps better to simply view them both as differing takes on similar issues.

Starship Troopers isn't for everyone. You have to enjoy over-the-top violent action, and dark humour. If you can, there is a lot to gain from watching Starship Troopers, with far more depth than you would otherwise expect beneath the surface.

To top it all off, it would be criminal not to mention the outstanding special effects (most especially Phil Tippet's work on the Bugs themselves). You will rarely see such convincing scenes of destruction in space, and war against an alien foe. Unlike many films, the effects are done selectively and cleverly, so that almost nothing will date in Starship Troopers, unlike many of its contemporaries, or even far more recent films.

Starship Troopers is a fantastic ride if you just want straight action adventure. On top of that, if you take it tongue-in-cheek, you'll often find yourself coming back for more. They'll keep fighting! And they'll win!

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