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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Information Exchange  |  Reader Comments  |  Starship Troopers « previous next »
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Author Topic: Starship Troopers  (Read 24802 times)
ken@jabootu.com
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« on: December 20, 1999, 11:37:07 AM »

Far be it from me to correct the gallant Sgt. Borntreger (what is it with Marines and Bad Movies?  Ed "Plan 9" Woods and Phil "Robot Monster" Tucker were both Marines).  Still, the Why We Fight documentaries (at least the ones most famous here) were anti-Nazi propaganda films (and what's wrong with that?) made by Frank Capra, of It's a Wonderful Life fame.

In a way, of course, this makes the satire a bit more obnoxious, though.

I agree that this was a much misunderstood film.  The fairly high degree of political commentary remaining from the novel I credit to the fact that it was directed by a European.  However, Verhoevan apparently wimped out, and couldn't decide whether to portray an actual, functional Fascist governmental system, or if to satirize Heilein's vision instead.  So he tries to do both, the least satisfactory of the available options.

On the other hand, minus the sci-fi elements, one imagines that the instant and horrible carnage suffered by the troops here makes this a more realistic portrayal of battle than almost any other film provides.
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stevej@ameritech.net
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 1999, 02:02:49 PM »

Hey, Sarge, I see Ken d'Jabootu beat me to the punch on "Why We Fight", but I have to take issue with the "Good movie pretending to be a bad movie" thing.  Actually, this is a bad movie pretending to be a good movie pretending to be a bad movie.  yes, to be honest, I rather enjoyed it a minute at a time, but overall, it had some insumountable problems.  I'm dismayed that a marine could review this movie and not once say "Where the hell is the artillery?" when I can't watch the movie without saying it twenty times.  let alone the armor.  Did we forget how to build tanks by this time?  One lousy Panzer IV could've wiped out that whole planet, let alone an ultramodern hover tank of the expected "Hammer's Slammers" variety.  Why were they even down there?  I do, in fact, understand the watered down political satire intended, but the combat scenes are central to the process of the pic, and they are tactically painful to watch.  If the fascists rule the world in this movie, they must be Italian Fascists, and they got voted into office, cause they never had to fight anybody before but Ethiopians with spears.
But don't get me started on that.  Even if the rest of the film was a gem of satire, its medium--that of a war movie--was intrusively bad.  All the clever deep meaning can't change that.
Steve "and what idiot designed hand nukes?" James
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fenris@badmovies.org
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 1999, 06:27:51 PM »

Ken and Steve, I didn't write this review - it came via Max Gardner.  As to the screwed up "Why We Fight" section - I didn't proofread the review really, just checked it for spelling errors before posting it.  (I was in a hurry last night, so that's my fault.)  Ah well, time  to go and fix that.  I'm quite particular about military equipment when it comes to certain films, though I try to tone it down a bit since most civilians don't really care that such plane is Soviet and such plane is American.  Still, in all fairness, a review fitting of the amazing  problems this film had could only come via Jabootu - Max didn't quite fire the same rounds at it I would have, but he's not me.  I believe the book is a wonderful little piece of work and wish they had stayed true to the ideas, but mourning such things is pretty fruitless.  Lastly, please don't call a Marine Corps Sergeant "Sarge."
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ken@jabootu.com
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 1999, 09:31:52 AM »

Damn me for an ass!

My apologies to both the intrepid Sgt., (no 'sarge' here, by golly), and to Max as well.

Steve raises a good point as to armor, etc.  In fact, the lack of the 'power suits' described in the novel is sort of the basis of that.  Ironically, I imagine that they (Verhoevan, et al) didn't want to look like they were stealing the powers suits from the 'Ripley in the Exoskeleton' thing in Aliens, whereas Cameron probably took that bit from...the novel of Starship Troopers.  Notice the numerous other tips of the hat to the book in Aliens.  Of course, you could also make the argument that Cameron stole the exoskeleton thing from one the of Dean Martin/Matt Helm movies, which contains a comically similar scene.

Really, again though, I apologize for my sloppiness.  I mean, Max's name is there, big as life.  
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Bob Sacamento
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 1999, 10:31:45 AM »

stevej@ameritech.net spoke my mind! thats what I've said about this movie since I was 13! This movie is god-awful! The plot flaws are extremely terrible, even for a bad movie. I might would give this one slime due to the fact that some of the action is ok(though it dosen't make sense either), and that theres some nudity(of a bunch of flat and ugly chicks of course). Otherwords, this movie needs a really big skull.
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cwestfa1@twcny.rr.com
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 1999, 12:25:20 AM »

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, the first thing I said, "Where's the damn power armor!" Of course if everyone was wearing power armor, which might have doubled if not tripled the film's budget, you might lose character recognition, as if that really matters. If they did have the 'armor and deployed as by the procedures in the book, rather then going for these panaramic, psuedo 'Normandy Landing styled shots, atleast the 'tatoo: "Death from Above" would have made some sense.

I think that it would be cool if they did play up the fascist styled government more, and had the humans more overtly appear to be the expansionistic war mongers, for once humans are the bad guys, a nice change.

As for nude scenes, the only woman I wanted to see topless and or nude was Denise Richards, sure she's fake, but it's better then flabby reality. Why else would anyone want to see 'Wild Things', until discovering the plot was nice and intricate, and Bill Murray was good as the lawyer.
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Daniel
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2001, 11:39:15 PM »

This movie RULES!!!!!! The best film about giant killing bugs ever made! The same guys who made Robocop and Total Recall made this and whoever those guys are, they = rulz!! Nuff said.
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Chris776@pacbell.net
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2000, 10:20:23 PM »

I fully agree with your evaluation of this film.

By the way, I thought you should know that, the voice you have credited as "Angry Guy" who delivers the line "The only good bug is a dead bug!" is actually the film's Executive Producer, Jon Davison, who also incidentally produced ROBOCOP, also with Verhoeven directing!
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tirdun@yahoo.com
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2000, 11:44:24 AM »

The satire and "deep" message(s) did not escape me, however this movie still sucked. After skillfully transposing some of the message of the book, Verhoevan then went on to wuss out on the military. If you had to get rid of the power suits for budget sake, why not throw in some TANKS? Was ANY military person involved in this flick? Ever heard of air support? The book had the big armor, which was a essentially a tank anyhow, and air power. The movie had a bunch of jocks wandering around a planet firing glorified M-16s... It was fun watching them die, though.
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Guest
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2000, 03:46:33 AM »

I just didn't understand why the combined might of humanity amounted a platoon of light infantry minus the heavy weapons.  I mean even the little green army men we all played with as children had the guy with the radio on his back to call the luftwaffe...er air support, or at least to coordinate activity with the maybe one other platoon the bad bug things were attacked with.

Regarding the references to "Aliens", why, if they wanted to kill the bugs on their home world, did they not just bombard it from orbit?  Even from a long range?  I mean, you can hit a bridge with modern laser guided munitions (the famous gulf war pics...), seems simple enough to just sit at the top of the gravity well and dump nukes out of a cargo bay.

On the other hand, the beat up spaceships coming back to port near the beginning was cool, and seeing SS Hauptman Doogie was priceless.
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Max Gardner
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM »

The film was not intended as a faithful adaptation of Heinlein's book.  It is not realistic from a military standpoint, nor was it meant to be.  It lampooned its source material, twisting Heinlein's work (labeled fascistic at the time of its publication) back on itself to provide a squeaky-clean soap-opera military regime.  In the end, both the novel and the film proved uncannily prescient.  The novel scares the hell out of me.  I prefer the film.  It's essentially the difference between whitehouse.gov and whitehouse.org.
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Bats
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM »

Doogie Himmler - ROFLOL!!

Ahem...

Actually, I hate Starship Bloopers with a passion.  Homer Simpson accurately described the soldiers in this film when he said 'they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.'  What the hell was going on inside those Sky Marshals' heads when they said, 'yeah we'll just drop 100,000 grunts on an unknown planet without any tanks or artillery or air support or even a MASH.'  Like, duh?  And presumably by the time this story is set the US has conquered Argentina, I suppose?  That's the only reason I can come up with for all those California accents in Buenos Aires.  As for the performances, well...  Did these people just wander in off the set of Baywatch or something?   I mean, Denise Richards = babe.  Casper van Diem = ex-lifeguard (true!)  Neither of them convinced as rough, tough space hombres (hombrettes?).   Of the two, Denise Richards is easily the worst, and by far the most irritating character in the film.  I was really disappointed when the brain bug passed her up in favour of Zander.

Oh, and those escape capsule things in the Rodger Young... they bore a none-too-subtle resemblance to the Hammerhead cockpits from Space: Above And Beyond, or is that just me being picky about this dreadful mishmash of a movie?
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Chadzilla
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM »

I would watch this a second time simply to see the battle sequences and Michael Ironside again,  other than those to reasons, well there just aren't any.  Robocop was far superior to this.
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Ukemist
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM »

This movie makes little sense if you've read the novel, and less if you haven't.  I enjoyed the sheer senseless gore, but that's all.  It could have been a great movie, and I doubt it was budget constraints that led to its idiocies (power armor is no harder to animate than bugs).

It strikes me that this movie was made by people who /hated/ the book.  Heinlein must be rolling in his grave.  They cut out everything that made sense, such as the capabilities and uses of the infantry (dropped like bombs from space in flying power armor armed with nukes), and flatly reversed key statements ("these bugs have spaceships, they are obviously smart" to "these are bugs, and can't be smart"; the brain bug was supposed to be a strategic mastermind, a genius among intelligent bugs, not the only intelligent bug).  Our Hero was whipped (but not booted out) for f**king up so royally that someone /died/ (in an insanely and needlessly dangerous live-fire training situation), rather than for not treating a harmless sim-nuke like a real nuke; similarly, the trainers were callous and abusive WRT physical damage, rather than sympathetic, though rough (in the movie scene the trainer cruelly spikes the guy's hand with a knife after he asks why they bother with these weapons; in the same scene in the book, it leads into the question of why they don't just use orbital bombardment for everything, and the trainer has a discussion with him about the role of the infantry and suggests that if he has such doubts, perhaps he should drop out).

Incidentally, simple labels like "fascism" don't do the political system in the book justice.  Veterans vote, soldiers don't, there's no draft and soldiers can quit any time except during combat (or when facing court martial); by all appearances they have at least the free speech and other personal freedoms of modern-day USA.  Most people don't consider it worth the bother to earn a vote, and some openly speak out against the political system (to the annoyance, but not retribution, of the government); there is no evidence of propaganda (outside of public schools, where the "propaganda" presented is not primarily facts, but philosophical arguments).  Minor crimes (such as drunk driving) are punished by public lashing, and major crimes (such as murder) by execution (nothing inherently fascist about this, whether you consider it brutal or not; it depends on what laws are being enforced).  People complain about "it works because it works" logic explaining the success of their society, but it's actually "we know it works because we've seen it work", which I think was a hint from Heinlein not to accept his vision thoughtlessly: "in the real world we /haven't/ seen it work, so /we/ don't know, it's just an idea".

The movie was built like an effigy of Heinlein soaked in kerosene with boxes of matched piled around it.  Burn, straw-man, burn!

Of course, most people don't know Heinlein, either to love him or hate him, so they just got a stupid movie that didn't make any sense.
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Joe
Guest
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM »

This movie is cool, but it isn't as gory as everyone says that it is-- lots of movies are gorier than this! But anyway, the special computerized effects are really cool.  I liked the brain bug.  It's cute... in its own way.  But I liked the part where the beetles shoot meteorites out of their butts and the part(s) that were censored.  The brain bug one was good, but the cow one where it got ripped to pieces was by far better.  I love this film!!!!!!!!!!!
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