Lion of the Blogosphere

Starship Troopers, the movie

Based on the novel by Robert A. Heinlein, but also based on a screenplay about an interstellar war against bugs that was independent from the novel.

I think I last read the novel in the early 2000s, so my memory of the novel is a little fuzzy, but it’s well known that the novel is a coming of age story about a young man who graduates from high school and then joins the military, it’s a science fiction novel about an interstellar war against bugs in which the soldiers wear these super-suits (and the suits were not in the movie), and it’s speculation about a future government in which only people (men or women) who served in the military are considered to be “citizens” and are allowed to vote.

It’s the future government part of the book that, for some reason, really triggers liberals. This is not a form of government that Heinlein is married to, he just liked to mix things up and explore different future possibilities. In the previous two books I reviewed recently, Orphans of the Sky features a theocracy and Double Star a parliamentary monarchy, sort of like the United Kingdom but where the emperor seems to exert a little more power than Queen Elizabeth II (or maybe the message of that book is that behind the scenes, the monarchs in constitutional monarchies are more active in manipulating the government than they let on in public). Heinlein even wrote a book, For Us, The Living, in which he presents a communist government as the ideal. Heinlein obviously had a curiosity and imagination that modern liberals lack.

When I first saw the movie in 1997, I was more clueless about this stuff than I am today. I just figured that they made a really bad movie unintentionally, because they weren’t very smart. However, the Wikipedia article has the truth.

Verhoeven had never read the book, and attempted to read it for the film, but it made him “bored and depressed”, so he read only a few chapters:

I stopped after two chapters because it was so boring,…It is really quite a bad book. I asked Ed Neumeier to tell me the story because I just couldn’t read the thing. It’s a very right-wing book.[6]

In a 2014 interview on The Adam Carolla Show, actor Michael Ironside, who read the book as a youth, said he asked Verhoeven, who grew up in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, “Why are you doing a right-wing fascist movie?” Verhoeven replied, “If I tell the world that a right-wing, fascist way of doing things doesn’t work, no one will listen to me. So I’m going to make a perfect fascist world: everyone is beautiful, everything is shiny, everything has big guns and fancy ships, but it’s only good for killing fucking bugs!”

So here we have a director, Verhoeven, who is so arrogant that he thinks he doesn’t even need to read the book in order to direct a movie supposedly based on said book, and instead he sets out intentionally to make it a bad movie.

In order to make the movie as bad as possible, the background story is introduced through news reels and TV commercials that are silly and comical, not to be taken seriously, a parody of what Verhoeven thinks that the book is about, even though he didn’t actually read the book. Everything in the movie is over-the-top and beyond belief.

But Verhoeven knew that if he stuffed the movie with the best-looking young actresses and actors that he could find, and turned up the violence and gore to a level never seen before, horny young men would enjoy the movie anyway even though it’s a bad movie. And I have to admit, it’s a real treat to watch 26-year-old Denise Richards acting as flirtatious as possible in every scene in the movie. 29-year-old Dina Meyers was also very enjoyable to watch as the more tomboyish and buff but still beautiful Dizzy Flores who had a crush on Johnny Rico, played by 29-year-old Casper Van Dien.

The characters have Hispanic last names because they come from Buenos Aries, and in the book Johnny Rico is actually supposed to be Filipino, but everyone knows that fascists have to be Aryan types, so Verhoeven has a convenient excuse to whitewash the minority characters and replace them with blue-eyed white people.

There is also the blue-eyed actor who previously played Doogie Howser who is surprisingly good looking in a “fascist” military uniform.

The characters start out as high school graduates, but everyone looks way too old to be fresh out of high school.

In the book, the bugs started the war and humans were unable to negotiate with them, but in the movie it’s hinted that the humans invaded bug space and refused to leave. Why? Because fascist governments, you know, are evil.

For the movie, the designers created sets and clothing that remind you of Nazi Germany, because, you know, fascists always look just like 1930s Germany.

Does fascism even have a real definition, or is it just the ultimate liberal bogeyman? The government in Starship Troopers is more progressive than the United States in 1960. Society was racially diverse and colorblind, the world was united under a single world government (isn’t that the goal of liberals?), and unlike the United States at that time there was no military draft; service in the military was completely voluntary, and even after you joined the military you were free to drop out at any time.

In a recent article from November of this year, Verhoeven is outraged that Columbia Pictures is remaking Starship Troopers based on the actual book (which he didn’t read) and then segues into an attack on Donald Trump.

* * *

If you look at pictures of Denise Richards today, you will observe that hasn’t aged very well. So sad. But Dina Meyer still looks very good at 48.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 21, 2016 at 2:25 PM

Posted in Books, Movies

93 Responses

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  1. Denise Richards is holding up pretty well. She’s still thin but not too thin and if she’s had work done on her face, it isn’t obvious. I’d say she’s doing much better than average for a 45-year-old former knockout.

    Horace Pinker

    December 21, 2016 at 2:35 PM

  2. I wonder if anyone’s had the same experience: this is the only movie yet that has made me feel nauseous from its special effects (I saw it on home video). Something about the CGI was motion sickness-inducing. The subject matter didn’t help, either: a screenful of giant bugs.

    Greg Pandatshang

    December 21, 2016 at 2:35 PM

  3. “the world was united under a single world government (isn’t that the goal of liberals?)”


    Denise Richards was a stunner back in the day. Possibly the best looking girl in the world at the time.

    The Philosopher

    December 21, 2016 at 2:40 PM

    • Out of all possible men, Charlie Sheen is the father of her children.

      Jokah Macpherson

      December 21, 2016 at 4:33 PM

      • Before the drugs, Charlie was actually a very articulate and well mannered guy. She mentions that a lot in interviews – the person she married is not the person she divorced.

        The Philosopher

        December 21, 2016 at 4:58 PM

  4. Keep in mind the film was originally a script, Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine, that licensed the name as a protective act because the concept was similar to the novel, then they added some bits from the novel.

    I watched the movie expecting a much more over the top Aliens based on the trailers, having never heard of the book, and left the theater disappointed. Years later, I really enjoyed the satire after our government’s response to 9/11. I did read the book, after learning the two were quite different, and liked the book, and really like the concept of a voting franchise limited to those with healthy skin in the game of their society.


    December 21, 2016 at 2:46 PM

    • “and really like the concept of a voting franchise limited to those with healthy skin in the game of their society.”

      The US was never intended to have universal suffrage. Originally, it was limited to those with “skin in the game”.


      December 21, 2016 at 4:43 PM

      • It’s basically the Roman republic.


        December 22, 2016 at 10:06 AM

  5. That’s why that movie was so retarded, it all makes sense now. Verhoeven didn’t even read the book, but just wanted to depict Nazis in a certain way.

    Denise Richards looks fine for a 45-year-old. Skins starting to sag and collagen is depleted from her face and body, but I’d still totally hit that and so would you Lion.


    December 21, 2016 at 2:52 PM

  6. Mussolini, the inventor of Fascism proper, had a pretty clear definition: It is socialism in which economic class is replaced by nationalism. He was expelled from his leadership position in the Italian Socialist (i.e., Marxist) Party for promoting Italy’s entry into WW I and supporting Italian nationalism. Naziism (National Socialism) takes Mussolini further and replaces nationalism by racism. It is interesting to note that at the height of WW II Stalin down-played the economic class aspects of Communism and emphasized Russian nationalism.

    In the European context, left and right mean, respectively, that either economic class or nationalism is emphasized. Virtually all European parties are socialist when it comes to economic matters, although they differ in the degree to which the state controls the economy. FDR’s New Deal was an essentially fascist program, and many American and European socialists admired Mussolini before the war broke out. In the US, the Progressive’s espousal of identity politics and socialist economic control makes them Nazis.

    bob sykes

    December 21, 2016 at 2:56 PM

    • I found the movie unintentionally inspiring, the arguments made by Michael Ironside’s character resonated, leading me to read the book.


      December 21, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    • Have you been reading too much Jonah ‘Open Borders make me a conservative/”I have a black child and you should too”‘ Goldberg?

      The state is a tool.

      Socialists use the state to help the non-aristocracy. Conservatives use the state to preserve and deepen aristocracy. That’s the only distinction in a nutshell. They both use the state.

      The only people that don’t use reference a state in ideology are anarchists and forms of liberretardationism/neoliberalism. At that point, you say, ok no hammer, so are you going to use a screwdriver to get socially optimal results. The screwdriver is usually ‘the free market’ which is autist-speak for ‘other autists following rules and swearing off violence’.

      The Philosopher

      December 21, 2016 at 5:04 PM

  7. Even Orwell in the 1940’s was observing that ‘Fascist’ just meant ‘nasty’. That’s probably truer in Anglo-Saxon countries where those 19th and 20th century political philosophies gained less traction, perhaps because of our Protestantism and Common Law. But there’s an obvious propaganda reason too. One of the things about winning the second world war is that Britain and America never had to address and confront all their wartime propaganda, so they continued to have simplisitic, propagandistic attitudes towards right-wing philosophies.

    The word ha become so corrupted that I now use my own distinction between actual ‘Fascism’ and what I call ‘Facism’ after the kind of people who write angry comments on articles about Brexit and Trump and leave me thinking ‘you couldn’t bloody even spell it right, you moron’.

    I had a fashionably left wing friend once who used to bore on endlessly about ‘Fascism’ He reckoned he was an ‘anarcho-syndicalist’ for no reason other than he thought it sounded clever. I read up the wiki about anarcho syndicalism, and asked him why he hated Fascism so much when the idea of the Corporate State is so similar to Syndicalism? He just didn’t know what io say–very funny at the time; but illustrates the way that people have no real about what it actually means. Unless they read Alt-Right blogs I suppose

    prolier than thou

    December 21, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    • In WWII we all saw Nazism/Fascism as exactly what their founders said: movements of the coercive socialist left. When they began fighting with Stalin, they suddenly became right-wing capitalist stooges. The big history re-write began in 1946.


      December 22, 2016 at 10:10 AM

  8. The greatest disappointment to me, in the movie, was the absence of the powered armor that is essential to the Mobile Infantry as portrayed in the book. Yeah, I get it that if you show powered suits jumping around and fighting then you lose the pretty actors looking pretty aspect of it, but I think they could have finessed it somehow (e.g. transparent faceplates).

    Verhoeven’s comical, over-the-top “evil fascism” merely amused me.


    December 21, 2016 at 3:22 PM

    • I think at the time, they just couldn’t swing the budget for the type of special effects needed to make the suits work. Now of course that wouldn’t be a problem, but leaving it out of the film totally removes the “mobile” from mobile infantry.

      Mike Street Station

      December 21, 2016 at 7:13 PM

  9. lol i always thought this movie was sweet cuz of how retarded everything was, guns, bugs, violence, how people died, flame thrower beetles, telepathy and stuff. The teacher/solider character was pretty cool too


    December 21, 2016 at 3:25 PM

  10. prime Denise Richards: 5/10. Would not bang.

    Otis the Sweaty

    December 21, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    • She radiates femininity even though in a photograph maybe you think she’s not a perfect 10.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 21, 2016 at 3:31 PM

      • No. The other chick you mentioned was 10x hotter.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 21, 2016 at 4:34 PM

      • Verhoeven’s porn film Showgirls had Elizabeth Berkeley and Nina Gershon, both of them Jewish. How would you rate them?


        December 22, 2016 at 1:04 AM

      • Nina = Gina


        December 22, 2016 at 1:07 AM

      • Berkeley: 4/10. Would not bang.

        Gershon: 7/10.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 22, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    • She has pointy elbows.

      Jokah Macpherson

      December 21, 2016 at 4:28 PM

    • I would never touch anything Charlie Sheen has had. It’s a character thing for me. In the sense that I’m disgusted by any woman whose morals and character are low enough to have been with such a dirtbag. You want to know why she’s aged badly? Because she’s probably been smoking crack with him. I do, however, find him hilarious. But not in a good way.


      December 21, 2016 at 4:56 PM

      • Charlie Sheen’s mania always played much better on the page than in video. It’s odd that an actor would be so much better at writing than delivering his lines. But that video actually gives his dialogue the sense of vitality and fun that they ought to have.


        December 22, 2016 at 1:28 AM

    • Otis was an ex husband of Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Christine Brinkley, and Michelle Pfeiffer and has a harem of Victoria’s secret models living in his hot tub under the kitchen sink when he forgets his medications.

      The Philosopher

      December 21, 2016 at 5:09 PM

      • Now my question is: Where can get some of those drugs too?

        The Philosopher

        December 21, 2016 at 5:10 PM

      • “Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Christine Brinkley, and Michelle Pfeiffer”

        Marilyn Monroe: Like her, but prefer her lookalike Mamie Van Doren

        Sophia Loren: 8/10. Would bang.

        Christine Brinkley: 6/10. Would not bang.

        Michelle Pfeiffer: 6/10. Would not bang.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 22, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    • Denise Richards was married to Charlie Sheen from 2002-2006. She had 2 children with Sheen. In 2004 while married to Sheen, she posed for Playboy magazine.


      December 21, 2016 at 5:14 PM

    • prime Denise Richards: 5/10. Would not bang.

      But you think Keira Knightley is the bomb?

      You are the only guy on earth who subtracts more points from women the greater their breasts are.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 21, 2016 at 5:33 PM

      • It’s been obvious for a while that he’s some kind of lunatic.


        December 22, 2016 at 1:29 AM

      • “But you think Keira Knightley is the bomb?”

        I think her *face* is beautiful. Never said she had a ton of sex appeal. Taylor Swift has all the sex appeal of a carrot but has possibly the most beautiful face ever.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 22, 2016 at 9:14 AM

      • I think her *face* is beautiful. Never said she had a ton of sex appeal. Taylor Swift has all the sex appeal of a carrot but has possibly the most beautiful face ever.

        I rate both Knightley and Swift as 7s, and their faces aren’t that great.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 22, 2016 at 6:25 PM

  11. “I told you that ‘juvenile delinquent’ is a contradiction in terms. ‘Delinquent’ means ‘failing in duty.’ But duty is an adult virtue—indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be a ‘juvenile delinquent.’ But for every juvenile criminal there are always one or more adult delinquents—people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail.”


    December 21, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    • A word does not have to stick to it’s original definition even if that definition is contained in the etymology of the word. Language evolves, get over it.


      December 22, 2016 at 1:30 AM

  12. Pretty sad about Verhoeven’s attitude, especially since Robocop was such a good movie. In fact, the ending of Robocop is one of my all time favorite movie endings.

    Jokah Macpherson

    December 21, 2016 at 4:34 PM

    • Verhoeven had a good run with his weird B-movie style. Robocop shouldn’t have worked, and I can hardly recall what it was about except the extremely clunky cop, but I do recall it fondly for some reason. Starship Troopers was okay as long as you didn’t mind it butchering the source material and being generally shitlib. (Someone advanced the thesis that the movie was more based on Eric Maria Remarque than Heinlein, and they might well be right.) The WW2 propaganda movie clips were great fun. And for the love of Philip K Dick, don’t forget Total Recall, a trashy old favorite of mine.

      I think Starship Troopers also spawned a number of sequels, but I never watched them. I feel confident in this decision.

      Verhoeven’s best movie was Basic Instinct, at the time a wonderfully glamorously degenerate piece where so many participants did the peak work of their careers: Verhoeven, Sharon Stone, even the screen writer, Joe Esterhaz. The result is hardly art but perhaps as close as they ever could get to art. Nowadays you can, of course, catch it on basic cable while the kids are up.


      December 21, 2016 at 5:25 PM

      • Basic Instinct gave millions of VCR “pause” buttons a good sound workout.



        December 21, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    • Robocop is an absolute masterpice

      Two in the Bush

      December 21, 2016 at 6:00 PM

  13. Was this scene with Michael Ironside in the book? This scene alone makes the movie good. It also captures my ideal of education because even if you exclude the non-white factor schools still push a lot of liberal rubbish which will mostly get you beat up and left behind in the competitive real world. A proper education should include the normal stuff but with more depth along with military history, hand to hand combat training, and basic firearms skills.


    December 21, 2016 at 4:48 PM

    • I don’t think the exact scene is in the book, but there are a lot more like it. The political ideology is mostly expressed through that teacher (who does not go to war in the book, they merged two characters into Michael Ironside), and the political ideology is very prevalent in the story. I highly recommend the book. The society in the book is much more appealing than in the movie.


      December 21, 2016 at 7:09 PM

      • Per Virginia Heinlein the original script-concept followed the book with ‘the failure of the fascist-communist commissars’. This was changed to ‘democracy’ by Verhoeven who then denounced the book as ‘pro-fascist’ from Hollywood pressure….


        December 22, 2016 at 10:20 AM

    • I would bang that curled haired chick so fast!


      December 21, 2016 at 8:42 PM

  14. “Does fascism even have a real definition, or is it just the ultimate liberal bogeyman?”

    It is ironic that Verhoeven set out to create a caricature that makes fascism look bad and ended up creating the world liberals dream of.


    December 21, 2016 at 4:59 PM

  15. I’m impressed the Lion remembers what the plot of that movie was at all since it’s quite obvious no one aside from a contingent of Heinlein loyalists went to that B-movie cult classic/fiasco for reasons other than storytelling.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    December 21, 2016 at 5:25 PM

    • Undiscovered, no. It is pretty popular with the general public and the military.


      December 22, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    • Undiscovered, no. It is pretty popular with the general public and the military.

      I agree it was popular, it was too over the top and ridiculous not to be.

      Only the Lion watched it for purely intellectual reasons.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 22, 2016 at 6:33 PM

  16. You better keep writing about Heinlein. I’d never paid attention to the little pictures at the bottom of the posts until a female face appeared next to the like button for this post. A 22 yet old female is reading your posts! That’s got to be a first.


    December 21, 2016 at 5:26 PM

    • Could be a guy with a female gravitar?

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 21, 2016 at 6:24 PM

      • 22. Writer, poet, idealistic millennial. London-based amateur photographer and filmmaker. Mostly confused by life. I enjoy instagramming food, taking selfies with dogs I meet and being that annoying friend who always has a camera to hand.

        Seeing as that’s her self description I doubt she’s a fan.


        December 22, 2016 at 1:36 AM

      • She sounds like fun, and if she’s idealistic about stopping Muslim immigration then it would be a perfect match except for her probably not being interested in someone old enough to be her father.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 22, 2016 at 9:32 AM

  17. I’d love to see Duterte play Johnny Rico in some alternate universe. I think he would be more convincing than Casper van Dien.


    December 21, 2016 at 5:26 PM

  18. I’m impressed the Lion remembers what the plot of that movie was at all since it’s quite obvious no one aside from a contingent of quickly disappointed Heinlein loyalists went to that B-movie cult classic/fiasco to see deft storytelling.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    December 21, 2016 at 5:27 PM

    • I rewatched it yesterday.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 21, 2016 at 6:24 PM

    • I rewatched it yesterday.

      Because of the great acting or the shower scene?

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 21, 2016 at 7:49 PM

      • Because I’ve been into Heinlen stuff this week, and because of Denise Richards and Dinah Meyer and the amped-up gore and violence.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 21, 2016 at 10:42 PM

      • Because I’ve been into Heinlen stuff this week, and because of Denise Richards and Dinah Meyer and the amped-up gore and violence.

        You always do the right thing for the right reasons.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 22, 2016 at 6:26 PM

  19. Off topic

    Lion, Have you ever been to the Arogsy Bookstore? It looks like a cool store.

    If you remember my post about about the guy with the funny beard living in that nice apt, I found out his family owns this bookstore, so that explains the apt.

    His father was also a cartoonist with a wiki page.

    I think his mother’s side of the family owned the bookstore and she inherited it.


    December 21, 2016 at 6:35 PM

    • Didn’t I say that his parents must be rich?

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 21, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    • Going to Argosy is always an adventure; a real old New York institution.


      December 22, 2016 at 1:12 AM

  20. I actually recall hearing the Adam Corolla interview with Michael Ironside and was shocked at how dumb the guy sounded. It was clear he had no idea what fascism was, and simply associated the military and the Nazi art deco style of the movie and it’s outfits as “fascism.”

    Mike Street Station

    December 21, 2016 at 7:20 PM

    • Tough guy, Michael Ironside was in the original tv series V, beating up Nazi reptilians.


      December 22, 2016 at 9:50 AM

  21. Strange I loved this movie. Wasn’t seeing all these pol angles when I saw it when I was young. Just loved the fuckin action man. One of my fav action movies.

    The Philosopher

    December 21, 2016 at 8:29 PM

  22. In the movie they constantly invade barren rock planets to root out the bugs, which doesn’t make sense. Just bomb them from space or let them sit right there on land you don’t want.


    December 21, 2016 at 8:51 PM

    • Nothing in the movie makes any sense, they were just filmed to have an excuse for more violence and fighting.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 21, 2016 at 10:43 PM

      • Do you think the 1st Godfather movie is prole?

        Speaking of Lucas, his friend Coppola wanted to portray the Mafia as classy-criminals.


        December 21, 2016 at 11:40 PM

      • It’s difficult to tell how much of the movie was parody, how much was exploitation, and how much was just sheer idiocy. Kinda like Showgirls.


        December 22, 2016 at 4:42 AM

      • I don’t know why Hollywood even makes Military movies. They fucking HATE the Military don’t they? All the WWII pictures don’t have any Military material except weapons. Like “Saving Private Ryan”, its usually another story that uses WWII and the Military as a backdrop or milieu for the story.
        Verhoeven is probably gay like everyone in Hollywood. Robocop was apparently some sort of updated Messiah story he was trying to make, that went big because it was the Judge Dredd movie everyone always wanted. Then Sly Stallone took Dredd and made him a punch drunk monosyllabic buffoon. Its amazing how a guy that smart in real life makes every character he plays an idiot.
        Robocop had a damn good co-star which never had a hint of romance to it. A widowed beloved wife that had the potential for great drama turned out to be a cameo. Its amazing how Murphy gets his memories back and doesn’t have any want or need for women at all. What else besides his arm did those doctors cut off?
        They have a love triangle in Starship Troopers which is far stranger than the bugs., Dizzy Flores is all hot and bothered for Caspar Van Dien and for some reason he’s chasing the Ice Queen from Hell who doesn’t even want anything besides her career. Seeing Dizzy get killed and Rico uniting with Lt. Frigidaire and Doogie Jedi was the saddest and lamest ending ever. Doogie Jedi starts off as a low level flunky and ends up a Full Bird Colonel. Lt. Frigidaire is assured of being promoted due to her crazy pilot skills. And the guy who did all the fighting is a nincompoop NCO again. My God Hollywood Hates the Military.
        Dizzy Flores and Rico ending up together with Lt. Frigidaire crying about what she lost could have made this movie the Next Big Thing. But instead its sequels went straight to home video, because Hollywood is too gay to understand the guy gets the girl is the ending that made Star Wars a franchise.

        Joshua Sinistar

        December 23, 2016 at 1:58 AM

      • “Verhoeven is probably gay like everyone in Hollywood.”

        He has been married to a woman for a very very long time.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 23, 2016 at 9:37 AM

      • Hollywood is all about profits. They could give a flying eff about the military. They make movies to suit proles because it’s very profitable.


        December 23, 2016 at 9:44 AM

      • In the near future, a brilliant yet deranged individual will push a life form, germ warfare or artificial intelligence, hellbent in destroying mankind that one finds with Geiger’s Alien.

        Necrotizing Fasciitis known as the flesh eating bacteria is scary enough to creep out most humans. Something far more sinister and frequent will be in the making.


        December 22, 2016 at 7:41 PM

    • Well, at least they don’t try to introduce bug democracy afterwards. Wiser in some respects.


      December 22, 2016 at 9:45 AM

  23. Starship Troopers is one of the most brilliant and entertaining films of the 1990’s. The special effects were phenomenal, especially considering the degree of difficulty creating realistic bug vs human war scenes, and stand up to scrutiny even today. Whatever you think of Verhoeven’s personal politics (which really aren’t as bad as some of the comments quoted in this article imply), he’s a great director, and he’s made some truly memorable and unique films.

    The reason Starship Troopers works in fact, is because Verhoeven ignores the “usual” idiotic Hollywood tropes associated with Fascism. Remember the Sound of Music? That kid is romancing the hot blonde chick and then all the sudden he joins the Nazis and he’s not in to girls anymore? Swing Kids? Every god damn movie Hollywood makes Nazis are dour, humorless, and mean. If that was the reality, who the fuck would ever become a Nazi in the first place. Campy as it may be, Starship Troopers is the most honest and accurate portrayal of Fascism that has ever been put to film. Fascism is cool. The good looking, popular kids want to join in. It has some genuinely brave, honorable, and sensible people in leadership positions like the instructor played by Michael Ironsides or the Sgt. Zimm character, who voluntarily demotes himself to private in order to join his kids at the front and dies protecting them. The latter example based on real life US Medal of Honor winner Rodger Wilton Young (the space ship Carmen pilots in the film is named the Rodger Young).

    And the little details were what really put it over the top. The coed-nude shower scene. The hilarious in-movie ads by the Federation. I especially appreciated the fate of Patrick Muldoon’s character. In the hands of a typical Hollywood director, the death of the smug, tall, incredibly good looking guy who steals the love interest of the main character would be an opportunity to show him a coward. Instead, Verhoeven does the exact opposite and gives him one of the finest deaths in the history of war movies.


    December 21, 2016 at 10:07 PM

    • The military life shown in the movie was really great for people in pilot training, but it sucked for people in the mobile infantry. The contrast between how easy Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards) had it and how hard Johny Rico had it in the MI was a source of humor that I enjoyed and which wasn’t quite over-the-top parody.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 21, 2016 at 10:45 PM

    • I would not say that Verhoeven is an anti-fascist. There is too great an admiration and respect for the military and fascist elements for that. We get that impression that it’s anti-fascist because the cheesiness comes from a combination of two different elements: the interior set designs invoke a very “Forbidden Planet” type feel, which makes it look cheap, but the creature design, weapons, starships, and motion effects is extremely first rate. This creates a jarring visual impression that makes it look like a critique of fascism when it isn’t. In fact, a friend of mine that saw the movie in the theater thought the bugs represented Jews.

      The advertising within the movie is something Verhoeven also used in the first Robocop. His vision was an ultra-violent American future ruled by incompetent politicians fronting for all-powerful corporations, with crime and trashy reality/game show entertainment everywhere.


      December 22, 2016 at 2:56 AM

    • +1 It was just a good yarn as they say.

      The Philosopher

      December 22, 2016 at 7:12 AM

  24. The thing that ruined that movie for me was the complete lack of infantry tactics – concealment, ambush, maneuver, feints, enfilading fire – or combined arms besides an occasional “nuke” bazooka shot – AFVs, artillery support, air cover, bombardment weapons on the spaceships. If humans could bring millions of soldiers between solar systems, they would be able to have some more advanced military tech than masses of upright soldiers firing assault rifles as they all run in the same direction.

    • Absolutely stupid yes. No doubt Verhoeven was too arrogant to have actual military people as consultants to try to choreograph even slightly realistic looking battles.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 22, 2016 at 9:28 AM

  25. And how did those bugs grow to be so very bug when they lived on barren rocks with no other life around?


    December 21, 2016 at 11:55 PM

  26. Verhoven is the proles Jarmusch. Heinlein fans are kind of like Libertarians who are kind of like people who make sure you know they are Odinists. A lot of these people think Denise Richards even at 45 or whatever isn’t completely out of their league. That said, should I neg her about Charlie Sheen pulling a gun on her or her being a high dollar escort?

    2 Minutes Alpha

    December 22, 2016 at 12:33 AM

  27. I always thought that Paul Verhoeven had moved back to the Netherlands and that’s why he stopped making american movies. But that article says that he’s lived in Los Angeles the whole time, It’s interesting that I feel like dutch people have every right to look down their noses at the united states but Los Angelenos that do it are just deluded and full of it.


    December 22, 2016 at 1:23 AM

  28. Verhoeven is every leftist trope ever in bipedal form. I imagine he’ll say this was a Anti-Nazi movie, cause aren’t they all? Sure the World has a United Government, and integration and tokenism is everywhere, but look Military Uniforms and torture. Every single “Nazi” movie looks like the Soviet Union wearing Hugo Boss Fashions. Jackboot thugs, Autocratic governors and uncaring giant bureaucracies aren’t Fascist at all. We have secret police, surveillance, and censorship here in America, but are we “Nazis”?
    This movie looks like they were shooting the First David Weber Honor Harrington movie before they slapped Starship Troopers and Heinlein’s name on it. The bugs in Heinlein’s Novel are actually Spiders. These bugs all look like Praying Mantis in giant size. The attack on an outpost is just like in David Weber’s First Honor Harrington Novel. The bugs in his novel looked like Praying Mantis.
    I imagine they purchased the rights and began shooting, but then some focus group said they didn’t know Honor Harrington well enough to justify the budget, and the Studio probably scrapped it and used an old contract option with Heinlein to redub the film “Starship Troopers”. There are no power armor soldiers, and making spiders into praying mantis doesn’t even make sense.

    Joshua Sinistar

    December 22, 2016 at 5:16 AM

  29. I agree that Denise Richards was a rare babe. Rare beauty.

    Otoh, in Scandinavia, but also central-Eastern Europe, there are a lot more black swans like her.


    December 22, 2016 at 8:13 AM

  30. “The characters have Hispanic last names because they come from Buenos Aries, and in the book Johnny Rico is actually supposed to be Filipino, but everyone knows that fascists have to be Aryan types, so Verhoeven has a convenient excuse to whitewash the minority characters and replace them with blue-eyed white people.

    I might come across as an SJW writing this, but I’m sincerely not — The reason Johnny Rico was whitewashed was because audiences will not want to see a Filipino male lead. I’m not bemoaning over this, I say that as a neutral fact. But I also don’t disagree with the ‘Fascists-Must-Be-Aryans’ trope.


    December 22, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    • Oh, and it’s not hard to find blue-eyed people in Buenos Aires


      December 22, 2016 at 9:40 AM

  31. Lion, some inside baseball.

    *’For Us, The Living’ is Heinlein’s 1st take on a Libertarian-based society of tolerance and plenty. He was embarrassed by his mixing up his economic ideas on 30 year mortgages and long-term investments with social credit/EPIC socialism there so he nixed publication and destroyed all copies, but one survived (not counting the one in the LIO library)…

    *Starship Troopers’ is his take on Plato’s Republic. It’s his thoughts on a version of an emerging but unstable Libertarian society with a residual government being put to destructive tests–resurgent fascism within and commie bugs without after the final suppression of leftist commissars. The Libertarians are the veterans and officer the militia/public service with tough-guy Spanish libertarianist philosophers. You’re right about it being far more liberal/progressive than anything the left is coming up with. Filipinos in his day were still Navy Cooks, so a Latin Filipino hero is a big deal…

    Verhoeven has changed his story to defend himself from criticism. You see this if you dig in to old fanzines when it was being made, for example Virginia Heinlein approved most of it so he could film it, putting in little touches as Spinoza (beloved by Libertarians) in the classrooms and suggesting some of the combined characters. The uniforms are modeled after the current Dutch military, not the Nazis. Verhoeven rewrote history (and is still doing so) when the Left went after him. He then copped out with some last-minute scenes and the recruitment trailers to make it into a ‘satire.’ As a former script-doctor, I sympathize a little, but the guy is a weak sister.

    Also missing were the mechano-suits and the other enemy earth was fighting. The sequels are interesting but off doing their own thing.


    December 22, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    • Verhoeven should be judged on his art, not his interviews (which are PR exercises that often have their own agenda). There are definitely anti-fascist elements to Starship Troopers, but there are anti-antifa elements to the film as well. He’s a very subversive film maker. Nowhere is that more evident than his big budget WWII film Zwartboek. The main Nazi offcier is portrayed as a relatively decent guy, the Jew broad who seduces him as part of a ruse eventually falls for him, the Dutch resistance characters turn out not to be the heroes we initially believe, and the film ends with a taken from real life plot twist of absurd bureaucratic cruelty. There’s also an interesting commentary on women in the one Dutch character who eagerly falls in with the Nazis and becomes lovers with an officer and who we then see in hours after the liberation having already found herself a handsome new Canadian officer. Or look at his latest film “Elle” which has a clear anti-migration subplot and whose main plot revolves around a woman whose response to rape is so contrary to SJW norms that I’m surprised it was allowed to even be shown in America.


      December 22, 2016 at 2:10 PM

  32. You’ve reviewed the novel and the film, so you really should review the disco classic ‘I lost my heart to a statship trooper’ too. The seventies was the last decade in which space was sexy. By the eighties it had become full of glowering, shaved-headed women lurking about in dripping corridors with chains hanging from the ceiling and lights flickering on and off. But back in the seventies the future still promised beautiful, big-haired women in tight-fitting glittery spacesuits with enough variety of breast sizes that the future Otis and Philosopher could argue for decades on the hypernet about which kind they’d most liked to have slept with, or ‘banged’.

    And the computers flashed and made noises. In conclusion; the future has been going downhill for a long time. It will be a sign that The Donald is making his mark on America if we can get back to the buxom, pussy-grabbing, Farrah-Fawcett-hair style future we were once promised.

    Now I think about it Trump and Obama are a little bit like Flash Gordon and Ming the Merciless.

    prolier than thou

    December 22, 2016 at 10:53 AM

  33. What a fag. I didn’t even get 2 paragraphs into the linked article…. It was too liberal. Too dildoed.


    December 22, 2016 at 6:12 PM

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