Starship Troopers/A-,A
Columbia-Tristar/1997/144m/ANA,WS 2.35

 ISF Reference DVD Selection

     A great, modern, war movie, Starship Troopers, often skewers traditional genre conventions going out of its way to depict war in the goriest screen images director Paul Verhoeven can imagine. Opening on horrific war scenes as the Federal Republic is invading a bug planet, Starship Troopers moves back in time a year to follow a group of Rio De Janeiro high school students from graduation to their becoming soldiers for the Federal Empire. From the school party, itís direct to indoctrination and training and quickly on to war. Starship Troopers moves with all the swiftness of an interstellar spaceship.
     Starship Troopers may be foremost about war, but it's also about political control, brainwashing, and the blind innocence of youth. And director Verhoeven has control all right. His chosen stars Caspar Van Diem and Denise Richards are beautiful and bland, lacking fire, but under total control by their director just as their characters are controlled by the system and circumstances. Only Dina Meyer proves an exception to that rule in the role of Dizzy. Meyer has a ample amount of presence and her screen spunk brings a life to her character that others lack.

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The bugs attack a desert fort. ©Columbia Tristar

     As a special effects extravaganza, Starship Troopers blows would-be effects epics into a black hole. Consistently stunning, the computer generated images of the bugs at war with man are convincing, and often disgusting. Verhoeven does miss a chance to exercise a fine sense of humor, yet he doesnít litter the scenario with pithy one-liners. I love the propaganda spots on the news. The device was used successfully by Verhoeven and writer Ed Neumeir previously in Robocop.
       Starship Troopers adds a level of pleasure for film aficionados in its references to genre films. The training sequence, albeit abbreviated, has fun with conventions of the war genre. The demonstration of knife throwing is especially entertaining. The campfire sequence is clearly evocative of the westerns of John Ford. The high tech fiddling brings to mind many Ford folk dance sequences. And what about the outpost in the middle of the desert; it's right out of Beau Geste.
     Starship Troopers is one great bounty of a DVD, chuck full of extras, and produced with the attention to detail that is a reflection of the dedication that went in to making the film. The images are pristine is all their gory parts, detailing with retching accuracy the blood and guts of war. The vivid colors are bright and accurate. Digital effects blend splendidly with live action. Night scenes burst with snap and glitter. The Dolby 5:1 surround is equally terrific, providing sonic blasts to accompany the vivid imagery.    

 

 

 

 

 


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