Las Vegas Film Society

Starship Troopers

TriStar PICTURES and TOUCHSTONE PICTURES present a JON DAVISON production of a PAUL VERHOEVEN film
"STARSHIP TROOPERS" CASPER VAN DIEN DINA MEYER DENISE RICHARDS JAKE BUSEY NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
PATRICK MULDOON and MICHAEL IRONSIDE music by BASIL POLEDOURIS based on the book by ROBERT A. HEINLEIN
screenplay by ED NEUMEIER produced by ALAN MARSHALL JON DAVISON
directed by PAUL VERHOEVEN

What do you think would happen if you mix a few of Hollywood's brightest up-coming stars with one of sci-fi's most accomplished directors? Well, in my not so humble opinion, you come up with 'Starship Troopers'!

Ok, I know what you are thinking, another positive review coming from the LVFS. You must be thinking we are sponsored by the studios! Well, unfortunately, we are sponsored by no one, so what you read is what we really feel. (In fact, the originator of 'Emperor Entertainment' funds the entire 'emperor.net' domain entirely through his full time job!) So there. Now, back to the movie review.

'Starship Troopers' starts off with a bang, but then enters a period of setup. Most of the negative views I have heard about this film stem from this portion. It has become a standard practise in Hollywood to spend more time on action and/or drama than on plot and character development. In this film, Paul Verhoeven decides to let the movie run a little longer than average (130 mins), and spends at least the first 45 minutes on setting up the characters; who they are, where they are from, and why they are fighting. I don't know about you, but this is a welcome change from the usual "why did he take them out into the desert and then kill himself?" sort of a thing. At least in this film, you know why everything is happening and why the characters are reacting to the events in the manner in which they are. Very refreshing.

The basic plot of this film is that Earth faces a threat from a nearby solar system inhabited not by humanoid or even mammalian life, but by insects. These insects attack Earth by hurling asteroids at us. Thinking that quick and decisive action is needed, the "Sky Marshall" orders a full scale invasion of the insects home planet, "Klandathu." Straight forward enough, but there are a few surprises along the way that keep you guessing.

Ok, on to the technical side of this movie. Just like in 'Deep Rising', this film uses CG animation extensively. I must admit, however, that this has to be the best use of it I have ever seen. In order to make the bugs seem real, Verhoeven decided that a mix between lifesize robotic bugs (want to come face to face with a 12ft high arachnid?) and computer animation. The result is nothing less than astounding. When you see a bug cut a soldier in half, or when you see an entire swarm of bugs coming over a hill, I gaurantee that you will feel the hair standing up on the back of your neck! And you will not be saying, "Yeah, it looks good, but you can tell it's not real." The use of color matting and texture matching make the swarm of bugs as natural a part of the background as the actors themselves. Damn fine work.

Fans of the book series 'Starship Troopers' will be a little disappointed by the lack of the power suits. I have heard it said that if a sequel is made (of all the movies ever made by Paul Verhoeven, this is the only one he would like to make a sequel to), the power suits would definately be included. It remains a question as to whether or not there will be enough box office to justify a squel. Sequels almost always gaurantee a big turnout, but usually somewhat less than the original. Using that formula, it doesn't look good for 'ST2'.

I have personally seen this movie at Least 15 times (I own it on video). I saw it no less than 5 times in the theaters. In fact, I once drove all the way to Tempe, Az. from Las Vegas to see a friend, and convinced her to see it. (I believe that was my 3rd time.) No, not as fanatical as people who have seen 'Titanic' 65 times, or 'Star Wars' 365 times, but not a bad turnout on my behalf. I knew it was not being received very well, and would probably not last very long. I was right.

'Starship Troopers' runs 130 minutes and is rated "R" for brief frontal nudity, adult situations, language and violence. All in all, not a bad way to spend a few hours on a saturday afternoon with some beer and popcorn. Just don't forget the bug repellant.

-The LVFS


Another proud member of the Emperor family.
lvfs@emperor.net