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Hexxenhammer

Starship Troopers?

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I think alot of people miss all the potshots that Verhoeven was taking at Hollywood, in particular the hollywood blockbuster type movie with Starship troopers. Thats why there are so many "silly" type scenes that play out more like Beverly Hills 90210 in space - mixed in which the trademark Verhoeven ultra-violence. The "FedNet" breifs and Newsreel type scenes are interspursed to reinforce te satirical nature of the film.

 

Much of Verhoeven's work is satirical in nature. One of the messages that he's passing along with SST is "…the oh-so-subtle warning Verhoeven slips us is that people can be swayed by even ‘dumb’ movies into supporting war and violence" (Zelazny, Jon. “Counterounch: Amid ‘Troopers’ Gore, its Easy to Miss the Message. Los Angeles Times. 1 Dec. 1997: F3)

 

One of the big problems with the film, however is that the Satire isn't pakcaged for "Mass consumption" so it's easily missed - especially those going into the movie looking for a faithful adaptation of Heinlein's book (and it seems like most of the people wanted that were real picky sticklers anyways and probably wouldn't be happy with anything someone made)

 

Ultimately the arguement can be made that the message is intentionally muddy as it is taking a shot at the Hollywood Blockbuster which is a film that is made expressly for wide market appeal and can easily be shaped into shameless propaganda (Think Pearl Harbor, Saving Private Ryan etc..) (Owen Livermore, "The Provacature Auteur", Synopttique. 14 Jun 2004)

 

I personally liked it for the reasons stated above - and because it was just a great popcorn flick with lots of 'splosions and violence. I also giggle at people who say "That isn't what powerarmor looks like in the book!" because there really isn't an accurate description of what the armor looks like in the first place. It's left pretty ambigious. :) (Definately not like the groundpounders in the movies - and where were the support weapons?)

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It's no Robocop, which is Verhoven sci-fi at it's best, but I'm a huge fan of the book and I love the movie precisely because it's so different from the book. In the movie Verhoven is basically going directly against everything Heinlein was making a point about. It's actually like an anti-Starship Troopers.

 

While I'm pontificating, I just re-read the book last week. When I first read it (senior high? Freshman year of college? can't remember...) I thought the ideas in the book were great. "You should serve to vote! Yeah!" But did I ever serve in any way? Military, civilian (peace corp, Americorps), volunteer for anything, ever? Of course not. Screw service I say.

 

Anyway, on this re-read I noticed many things I totally disagreed with. Heinlein has an advantage by being the author of setting up a situation in which his personal beliefs just happen to be the cure-all for the world. At one point in a boring "classroom" scene a teacher asks Johnny why there's never been a rebellion. His answer is because anyone motivated enough to oppose the government would join the army. Huh?

 

Also, Johnny is set as perfect soldier who never questions the "why" of his military's actions. The most glaring example of this is the killer opening of the book. The Roughnecks are raiding a Skinny city. Why? The Skinny's leaked Earth's location to the Bugs. Obviously, that's bad. But the MI are attacking civilians. Heinlein says they're there to (paraphrasing) "smash everything in sight, but keep casualties to a minimum." I don't doubt the MI couldh've wiped out the city totally if they'd wanted, but they still nuke at least three large targets, collapse who knows how many buildings, and Johnny himself fries quite a few skinnies. This kinda shocked me reading it this time. Seriously, can you imagine a military attacking another country that was only tangentially, if at all, involved in an attack by a third country on a city of that military's country? And then expect the attacked country to be their friend? Now THAT would be science fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

waitaminnit...

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It's no Robocop, which is Verhoven sci-fi at it's best, but I'm a huge fan of the book and I love the movie precisely because it's so different from the book. In the movie Verhoven is basically going directly against everything Heinlein was making a point about. It's actually like an anti-Starship Troopers.

 

While I'm pontificating, I just re-read the book last week. When I first read it (senior high? Freshman year of college? can't remember...) I thought the ideas in the book were great. "You should serve to vote! Yeah!" But did I ever serve in any way? Military, civilian (peace corp, Americorps), volunteer for anything, ever? Of course not. Screw service I say.

 

Anyway, on this re-read I noticed many things I totally disagreed with. Heinlein has an advantage by being the author of setting up a situation in which his personal beliefs just happen to be the cure-all for the world. At one point in a boring "classroom" scene a teacher asks Johnny why there's never been a rebellion. His answer is because anyone motivated enough to oppose the government would join the army. Huh?

 

Also, Johnny is set as perfect soldier who never questions the "why" of his military's actions. The most glaring example of this is the killer opening of the book. The Roughnecks are raiding a Skinny city. Why? The Skinny's leaked Earth's location to the Bugs. Obviously, that's bad. But the MI are attacking civilians. Heinlein says they're there to (paraphrasing) "smash everything in sight, but keep casualties to a minimum." I don't doubt the MI couldh've wiped out the city totally if they'd wanted, but they still nuke at least three large targets, collapse who knows how many buildings, and Johnny himself fries quite a few skinnies. This kinda shocked me reading it this time. Seriously, can you imagine a military attacking another country that was only tangentially, if at all, involved in an attack by a third country on a city of that military's country? And then expect the attacked country to be their friend? Now THAT would be science fiction.

 

It's been a while between readings for me. But wasn't there was some doubt about the Skinnies intentions, they were raiding Earth's colonies, too? If someone is killing your people and leaking the location of your homeworld to a mortal enemy, a punitive raid doesn't seem unlikely. Perhaps even justified.

 

Regarding civilian casualties, sensibilities were a bit different then. In the late 50's, it was standard doctrine to go after the enemy's industrial capabilities and population centers, regardless of who got killed. It took the 60's and the flower children to start to change that mindset. And the "don't kill civilians" mindset has really only taken hold in countries that have tremendous military advantages over their opponents (ie Western democracies.) It is an open question whether we will continue to be so forbearing, if it comes to a war with an opponent that might beat us in a straight up shooting war.

 

Heck, avoiding civilian casualties isn't even universal doctrine today. The crater in NYC is proof positive that our current terrorist opponents do not believe in reducing civilian casualties.

 

Don't be too sure you know Heinlein's personal beliefs after reading any of his books. Unlike Asimov, Heinlein was willing to write to different philosophies. The one constant was that his hero was the 'capable man', able to do just about anything he set his mind to. Politically, while all Heinlein's heros were basically decent and moral, the revolutionaries of 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" would probably have a hard time getting along with the MI, and the not-quite-anarchists of any of the Lazarus Long books didn't like any kind of government.

 

I've never totally liked any of the Verhoven movies. But then I'm old school. I like the swirl of blood going down the shower drain much more than I enjoy watching splatterfests.

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Oh, I agree about Heinlein's political beliefs. I think this evolved in time. Personally I think he probably wouldh've prefered the Lunar society of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" before the revolution to most others. And as he so eloquently illustrates in the book, the Loonies go and legislate themselves out of their perfectly good society.

 

And I agree about the sensibilities of the '50's as well. Just my reactions to reading it with "adult" eyes for the first time.

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At one point in a boring "classroom" scene a teacher asks Johnny why there's never been a rebellion. His answer is because anyone motivated enough to oppose the government would join the army. Huh?

 

 

I always figured there were no rebellions because the MI was just to bad-a$$. :rolleyes:

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At one point in a boring "classroom" scene a teacher asks Johnny why there's never been a rebellion. His answer is because anyone motivated enough to oppose the government would join the army. Huh?

 

 

I always figured there were no rebellions because the MI was just to bad-a$$. :rolleyes:

 

There's that too...

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I heard somewhere that Verhoeven was originally making a movie called "Bug Hunt," and someone working for him said, "Hey, this sounds a lot like this crazy book Starship Troopers!" and Verhoeven said, "Cool, let's rework the script a little bit and call it SST."

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I heard somewhere that Verhoeven was originally making a movie called "Bug Hunt," and someone working for him said, "Hey, this sounds a lot like this crazy book Starship Troopers!" and Verhoeven said, "Cool, let's rework the script a little bit and call it SST."

 

 

If that's the case then I'd say someone got "Starship Troopers" and "Armor" confused...

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I broke down and ordered a box of grizzlies and a box of cougars. I'll probably get one more of each to round out an army.

 

I also got a box of MI light infantry because $24 for 20 metal troopers is a good price and I can always use more sci-fi groundpounders.

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I broke down and ordered a box of grizzlies and a box of cougars. I'll probably get one more of each to round out an army.

 

I also got a box of MI light infantry because $24 for 20 metal troopers is a good price and I can always use more sci-fi groundpounders.

 

I just ordered one of each exo-suit type as well. Along with the MI, and Arachnid books.

 

I've only primed my light armor guys, I can't stop buying generic sci-fi trooper guys, but as soon as they have them my enthusiasm bombs.

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