Skip to comments.Starship Troopers: One of the Most Misunderstood Movies Ever
Posted on 11/09/2013 1:46:38 PM PST by EveningStar
When Paul Verhoevens Starship Troopers hit theaters 16 years ago today, most American critics slammed it. In the New York Times, Janet Maslin panned the crazed, lurid spectacle, as featuring raunchiness tailor-made for teen-age boys. Jeff Vice, in the Deseret News, called it a nonstop splatterfest so devoid of taste and logic that it makes even the most brainless summer blockbuster look intelligent. Roger Ebert, who had praised the pointed social satire of Verhoevens Robocop, found the film one-dimensional, a trivial nothing pitched at 11-year-old science-fiction fans.
But those critics had missed the point. Starship Troopers is satire, a ruthlessly funny and keenly self-aware sendup of right-wing militarism. The fact that it was and continues to be taken at face value speaks to the very vapidity the movie skewers.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
Good book, but the movie sucked.
According to Heinlein, his desire to write Starship Troopers was sparked by the publication of a newspaper advertisement placed by the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy on April 5, 1958 calling for a unilateral suspension of nuclear weapon testing by the United States. In response, Robert and Virginia Heinlein created the small "Patrick Henry League" in an attempt to create support for the U.S. nuclear testing program. Heinlein found himself under attack both from within and outside the science fiction community for his views. Heinlein used the novel to clarify and defend his military and political views at the time."
Some people grok...
The movie was only tangentially based on the book... there is a Johnny Rico (from the Philippines in the book, not Buenos Aires), and there are “Bugs”... but the intent and messages are vastly different between the two media.
The wife and I went to the RiffTrax Live showing this pretentious clown mentioned in his screed. It was absolutely hilarious and rightly skewered the movie. Even most of the film’s stars went to see it and loved it. There were no protests about the RiffTrax crew not “getting it.”
One of the greatests minds EVER. Here are a few of my favorite thoughts of his. They help me out a LOT when the world is depressing me:
“I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein
“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
“Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”
AMEN, Brother! AMEN!
We did too. Haven’t laughed so much or so heartily in the movies for years.
Not that I didn’t appreciate Dina Meyer’s boobs as much as any other red-blooded American boy, but the book was better and smarter. Speaking of which, as far as Verhoeven’s work goes, “Robocop” was better and smarter.
On the other hand, Neil Patrick Harris in that uniform...how’s it that it took me ten years after that flick came out, about the time Neil came out, to hear the nickname “Doogie Himmler”?
The movie is an abomination. The director admitted that he despised the philosophy espoused in the original book by Heinlein.
>> right-wing militarism
Leftwing agitprop covering the increasing statism we’re seeing under this Marxist regime.
Eat it, Calum Marsh.
IF that’s what the movie was all about, it completely diverged from the society of personal responsibility envisioned by Heinlein.
Always fascinates me to see journalists that do absolutely no homework on what they’re writing about. The book is a 3 hr read max; at least read the book an do some bio reading about Heinlein, idiot.
Calum Marsh? Perhaps short for calumny
A movie I did not want to watch again.
Actually, it was pretty obvious the movie was a satire, at least to anyone who actually read the Heinlein book.
Oh, and the movie stank on ice.
Military is military. There was no difference between the Soviet Military and the Ole US Military. One was left. One was right. If anything, the movie is making fun of totalitarianism. But those of us with any wisdom, expect juvenile subtleties in anything Hollywood produces. We just ignore it or laugh at it. Squash them bugs !
“The movie was only tangentially based on the book... there is a Johnny Rico (from the Philippines in the book, not Buenos Aires)”
Correct. And just like Ender’s Game, there are novels that cannot be correctly translated unto the big screen. In hindsight, if people knew how much The Natural was in the novel (full of incest, child molestation), you’d never think it was a baseball movie.
And THIS is why they precisely picked Paul Verhoeven to direct that movie. To take a pro war message, isolate it, mock it, twist it, and claim that steaming pile of crap as their own. THIS is how most people now think of Starship Troopers, not the book...
History is not written by those that win wars...
History is written by those that win the war for the history department.
I suspect that Mr. March smokes mucho potto before viewing a movie.
Mr. Marsh did not read the book and obviously did not read other fantastic Sci-Fi novels by Heinlein. The movie was a shadow.
This is why the critics were fooled: the source material was “notoriously” “right-wing,” so they were expecting “right-wing,” and found it. The “problem” was that movie critics tend to at least have some familiarity with literature, having been English majors, themselves. It took the sociology majors, completely ignorant in literature, to “understand” the movie.
That said, given Voehrhoven’s corpus, I find it difficult to reject the notion that he was mocking Heinlein’s work; it was a movie designed to invite MST3K fans to make fun of as they watched it.
“A man held a makework political job, polishing the cannon in front of the county courthouse. It kept him fed and let him put a little money aside, but he wasn’t getting ahead in the world. So one day he withdrew his life’s savings, bought a brass cannon —and went into business for himself.” — Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
“The director admitted that he despised the philosophy espoused in the original book by Heinlein”
Then you should watch part 2 and especially, number 3 (it’s a trilogy). The third part gist? The actual but subtle notion that Christianity is the solution vs the bugs, I kid you not.
The Atlantic is full of garbage, crabs and sewage. It’s also the name of an ocean.
presumed not guilty but further questioning required.
When in doubt, quote Heinlein, and you’ll rarely (if ever) go wrong.
Humina, humina ...
You really believe that?
It was a caricature of Heinlein’s great sci fi novel. I liked it anyway but it could have been great.
I like Robert Forward’s free market vision of space as well.
There is something refreshing about reading about explorers getting paid big bucks for taking the big risks and looking for commercial viability.
Forward was a physicist and free marketeer. The space centric company he co founded exists today.
old-fashioned science-fiction framework of Robert A. Heinleins notoriously militaristic novel with archetypes on loan from teen soaps and young adult-fiction, undermining the self-serious saber-rattling of the source text.
Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" was more a political commentary than just "science fiction." And it deviated from the original book by such a great distance that Virginia Heinlein demanded that RAH's name be removed from the movie.
Frankly, it's a bad movie, but like "The Fifth Element," another classic, bad science fiction movie, it's still a lot of fun to watch.
Was Verhoven trying to "make a statement?" Maybe, but he certainly wasn't very good at it.
By the end of the book, the humuns have the Nova Bomb, described as "being able to split a planet in half."
These Leftists must have never read the actual book. The backstory of why the society in the book is based on a prerequisite of military service to vote is Heinlein’s correct assumption that a society that can vote itself benefits without personal cost will collapse.
We’re seeing that now in our own country as we’ve now reached the tipping point where a majority of “citizens” are takers. Where can that lead except to an ever quickening downward spiral.
The travesty in that movie was that Denise wasn’t nekkid but flat-chested Dina was.
With regard to this half witted critic who wrote the article, does he really think the citizenship gig was not going on in leftist military ? I say more so. Perhaps you have a point there. The leftist military are much worse with regards to what the critic thought the movie was criticizing.
I’ve read Foward’s better known fiction (Dragon’s Egg, Starquake, Rocheworld) and enjoyed it very much.
That’s the version I have although its wearing out.
If we're going to discuss physiology, I much prefer OEM to "bolt ons," Big fan of Dina Meyer here!
Not to mention that The Natural’s ending was changed and changed the movie’s message.
The book Starship Troopers was superb. The movie was a show piece for Denise Richards and Casper Van Dien and special effects. and Doogie Howser as a SS type was unintenionally hilarious.
I’ve always wanted to read this book. But, I never have the time.
Any suggestions for a good audiobook format for it? The one (The ONLY one) on iTunes has some VERY bad ratings.
Oh, and thanks for the ping, Perdogg.
Hope your weekend is going well.
Saturn Rukh begins with the sentences of “I’ve got a job for you. It pays a billion.” It was about a mission to Saturn to test the viability of mining the Saturnian atmosphere.
He gets pretty technical in the book.
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