8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 10, 1997
I ' 'I 'l l ' ' I
blasts its way
By Geordy Gantsoudes
Daily Arts Writer
Oh my dear lord! When I first saw the previews for this
movie late last winter, I knew that I would be there opening
night, eagerly awaiting director Paul Verhoeven's newest
sci-fi venture, "Starship Troopers." But I was not ready for
Never, in my 21 years, have I seen a
movie like this: a movie that is so super-
ficial, yet so deep; so pro-war, yet anti- R1
war; American, yet un-American. 0101
The movie is set at some point in the f ,er
distant future, when we have mastered
interstellar transportation (hence
"Starship"). At B
The world has become one giant,
English-speaking Federation. There are two groups of
humans: civilians and citizens, with citizens holding the
higher rank. The only way to be a citizen is to join the army
of the Federation.
The main story lies in the war with the Bugs; giant insects
from the planet Klendathu (in the Milky Way), are sending
giant asteroids loaded with eggs to our planet. After an
asteroid gets through the defenses, the Federation launches
an all-out offensive on the bugs (hence "Troopers").
Nothing else needs to be told about the main story
because everyone knows what is going to happen. The
underlying parts of the movie are the most fascinating, just
behind the most superior special effects ever put on the sil-
Imagine this: A cross between "Saved by the Bell," "Total
Recall," any old American western, any old World War 11
movie and the good old propaganda films of the first half of
this century - and you have "Starship Troopers."
Producer Jon Davison best sums up the Federation by
calling it "Fascist Utopia."
That's right, heroes of this movie are members of a fascist
race, make that an inter-racial fascist race. The intelligence
officers, led by Carl (a less than Doogie-like Neal Patrick
Harris) act and dress like the Nazis. This is the only part of
the movie that is not based on actual events in the history of
What looks and sounds like the newsreels that used to run
before movies narrates the film. Phrases like "Even back at
home, people are doing their part,"
hearken back to the Rosie the Riveter
VIEW days of World Warll.
Starship The movie wraps you up to the point
Troopers where you accept the phrase "The only
Trooers good bug is a dead bug," but this carries
the echoes of war propaganda through
arwood and Showcase the ages.
That phrase has been used in describ-
ing Indians and the Japanese. But these are the good guys,
Well, yes. This movie, acting as a mock PR-film, does
what any good propaganda movie does: it dehumanizes the
enemy. What is less human than a bug ? The bugs are pure
evil just as aliens are in many other sci-fi movies. But this
movie succeeds where many of the others fail.
"Independence Day," though a huge box office smash,
fell short critically. Its main flaw lay in the fact that the
movie forgot it was supposed to be an action movie. When
it started getting all involved with unnecessary characters
(ie. the First Lady), the movie trailed off and lost its audi-
"Starship Troopers," on the other hand, knows exactly
what it is - an action sci-fi movie. Verhoeven pushes the
envelope again with violence, with thousands upon thou-
sands of gruesome deaths, human and bug alike. He also
tosses in some nudity just to make sure he nails down the
15-50 male demographic that studios so lust after.
If it weren't for the slow start that is used to set the story,
"Starship Troopers" would be a four-star movie all the way.
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