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STARSHIP TROOPERS

SYNOPSIS:
In the distant future, high school graduates are figuring out what to do with their lives. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), has decided to join the military, much to his parents dismay. He claims he's doing this to become a "citizen" (a protector of the regular "civilians"), but his parents know he's really doing it to follow Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards), his girlfriend who's joined the Fleet Academy to become a starship pilot. Unlike Carmen or another classmate, Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris), Johnny doesn't have the grades to be an officer. Thus he joins the Mobile Infantry, along with another classmate, Dizzy Flores (Dina Meyer), who's always been romantically attracted to him. They go through rigorous basic training where they meet other cadets such as Ace Levy (Jake Busey), but during this time Johnny and Carmen's relationship begins to weaken, particularly after she's partnered with a fellow officer, Zander Barcalow (Patrick Muldoon). Discovering this, Johnny's about to drop out when war is declared. Aliens on Klendathu, giant insects, have launched an attack on earth, starting with Buenos Aries, intent on destroying all human life. The young soldiers head off for Klendathu, to battle the huge insects, led by their former teacher and seasoned soldier, Jean Rasczak (Michael Ironside). Soon, however, the soldiers discover that they're in over their heads and the insects massacre their landing team. As casualties continue to mount, the young men and women must do what they can to conquer the dangerous insects. And the hearts of their choice.

"Definitely not for the squeemish or faint hearted, Starship Troopers is a bold futuristic war movie with jaw-dropping effects. Paul Verhoeven’s ambitious sci-fi is a mixture of parody, satire and comic book, featuring graphically violent and shocking images of dismembered body parts, decapitation and more. Digital technology is now able to show the pulsating, salivating bug monsters in full: these bugs are based on a combination of real insects, using jaws from one species, legs from another, accurately portraying minute details gleaned from micro photography. In the major battle scenes, hundreds of computer generated creatures are interacting with live action, resulting in scenes that are truly awesome. But at the heart of this roller coaster ride of big explosions and space battles, lies a human story which engages and entertains. The ensemble casting is headed by lesser known actors who appropriately fit into the ‘beautiful people’ scenario - Casper van Dien, with his obscenely handsome features and clear green eyes, Dina Meyer as the oomphy Dizzy and Denise Richards of the cosmetic smile. Michael Ironside is a stand out as the sardonic former teacher and leader Jean Rasczak. Basil Poledouris’ strident music with full orchestral score and plenty of brass sharpens the senses with its military precision and dramatic pathos. Confident, stylised and brash, Starship Troopers will amaze, astound, appall, startle, shock, repulse, but above, all entertain."
Louise Keller

"This sci-fi adventure-cum-satiric parable had "major turkey" written all over it: a classic story adapted by the director of Showgirls? Well, by Jove, he did it, and has pulled off an accomplished, rigorously paced, clever action pic. Yeah that's right, clever. This is not your run-of-the-mill bug movie, my friends, but a film that pays homage to those crass patriotic ads of the forties, when the government of the day was yearning its young and brightest to join up for war. This time, the Fascists are the extraordinary bugs, crawling bugs, flying bugs, slimy and slippery bugs, immensely-sized bugs who are as controlled and as deadly as any of Hitler's armies. Maybe a tad uglier on the eye. Starship Troopers is the kind of film that last year's deadly serious Independence Day should have been, mocking American jingoism, instead of treating it with a degree of reverence. This is a film that has been vividly and imaginatively put together by director Paul Verhoeven (who doesn't believe in the old less-is-more theory of film making), and has retained the essence of the satiric book, which so beautifully and hilariously pokes fun at Americans-at-War, a feat that may not have come off by a serious American film maker. Briskly paced, full of energetic performances by the likes of Casper Van Dien and the always alluring and intelligent Dina Meyer, not to mention a very grown up Neil Patrick Harris, Starship Troopers is not only a thoroughly exciting adventure, but its self-mocking tone gives it an intelligence and wit that makes it one of the best in an overcrowded genre. Oh, and those nasty bugs? They're simply mind-boggling."
Paul Fischer

"Like Louise and Paul (above), I was impressed with the seamlessness of the integration between reality and computer generated virtuality. Starship Troopers takes us into the future alright, not only with its setting but with its ability to conjure up worlds and creatures like a magic storybook, those we used to read with eyes wide open as dragons flew, breathing fire, over beautiful landscapes. The world created in this film is entirely digital-driven, from miniature CDs serving as letters to the boys (and girls) at the front, to controls and devices for everything you do. Except for one thing: it seems that in the army of the future, the only thing that will be done on paper is a resignation. This is so that when you change your patriotic mind, it can be torn up. You can’t really tear up an email with the same dramatic simplicity. But then the film spends quite a bit of its energy on satire and parody, so perhaps this is just another jibe at its own creation. Certainly the humour helps to ease the gore-factor. At the media preview, there was as much laughter as there was squeamish groaning, proving that the film has an impact. It’s not a film for anyone who has a strictly high-art expectation of movies, but anyone serious about modern filmmaking and/or wanting simply to be entertained (in the vein of a cinematic cartoon) will be satisfied."
Andrew L. Urban



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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STARSHIP TROOPERS (MA)
(US)

CAST: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Clancy Brown, Seth Gilliam, Patrick Muldoon, Michael Ironside, Rue McClanahan

DIRECTOR: Paul Verhoeven

PRODUCER: Jon Davison, Alan Marshall

SCRIPT: Ed Neumeier (Based on the book by Robert A. Heinlein)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jost Vacano

VISUAL EFFECTS DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Alex Funke

VISUAL EFFECTS PRODUCER: Laura Buff

EDITOR: Mark Goldblatt, Caroline Ross

MUSIC: Basil Poledouris

CREATURE VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR: Phil Tippett

SPACESHIP VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR: Scott E. Anderson

PROSTHETIC MAKE-UP EFFECTS: Kevin Yagher

COSTUME DESIGNER: Ellen Mirojnick

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Allan Cameron

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 5, 1998

VIDEO RELEASE: August 4, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista







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