Friday, January 16th, 2009

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link]

PEOPLE: Director Edward Neumeier, who brought us the horrible sequel Starship Troopers 2:Hero Of The Federation, also directed this.

But wait! He wrote all 3 films, yet 1= really good, 2=bad, and 3=decent. I guess Starship Troopers 2 was incredibly bad not only due to the original director leaving (and the writer stepping up to direct), but also due to the budget. Neumeier typically only directs Robocop *TV* episodes and video games. He gave it another try here, and this one was definitely better than ST2. But he should probably stick to writing.

Casper Van Dien, who plays Rico in Starship Troopers 1, returns to the franchise, lending it some much-needed credibility after the failure of Starship Troopers 2. He is now a Colonel, [highlight for spoilers] ultimately becoming a General — but only after initially being betrayed by the government, sentenced to death, and then given a suicide mission instead of an execution. Thing is, he made it back from the suicide mission!.

QUIRKS: Religion plays the heaviest role in this movie of all Starship Troopers movies. In the beginning of the movie, religion is derided — like in most Starship Troopres movies … However, religion is on the rise, with more and more people believing in God. At the conclusion of the movie, [highlight for spoilers] the military issues a video press release, with an official voice stating, “Across the federation, federation experts agree that: A: God exists, B: He’s on our side, C: He wants us to win.” Realizing they can’t resist religion any longer, they turn to using religion as propaganda to control the masses. And the societal circle of religion begins anew, after being snuffed out sometime after the 21st century!

Special effects are much better than movie #2. The brain bugs are explored further. We have multiple locations. Space. Day. Night. Government. Media. Trials. All the things missing in Starship Troopers 2 are back in Starship Troopers 3.

“Would you like to know more?” – The video screens and government-sponsored PSAs are back. After all, the media plays a large part in this movie, UNLIKE Starship Troopers 2 which was basically a movie inside dark closed corridors the entire time.

I laughed really hard at one PSA — at the bottom they had a “one click enrollment” button, sort of like Ebay’s “Buy It Now” or Amazon’s 1-click Purchase. It had a little note under it basically saying, “By clicking this link you sacrifice all your human rights to the Federation for perpetuity.” Funny stuff — especially considering how people click through licensing these days.

BAD STUFF: The ending utilizes religion — 2 characters are literally left praying at the end. One has an epiphany. I could do without this. But the ending, with [highlight for spoilers] military’s acceptance of God as a recruitment tool, helps make me realize that they aren’t wholly endorsing religion, but merely showing that such beliefs will crop up — even in society that has no religion of its own.

CONCLUSION: If you read my review for Starship Troopers 2, I show the ratings for all 3 movies stacked up against each other. They show that this is a vast improvement over #2, but not over #1. That is indeed an accurate assessement of this film.

By the way — the ending is very chilling. A government-sponsored mass execution. But I wont say of who.

I plan on watching the Starship Troopers anime series as soon as Carolyn finishes reading the original Heinlein novel.

RECOMMENDATION: This isn’t just for completists — This is a pretty good film, *IF* you liked Starship Troopers 1. If you didn’t like #1, you’re not going to like this. If you didn’t like #2 — you’re normal. Don’t be scared to continue on to this.

If you REALLY want to enjoy this movie — watch #2 first, then watch this one. The improvement will probably make it feel better than it really is :)

All in all, though — this brings back some of the social commentary/satire of the original, incorporating a new religious satire angle, this brings back one of the original characters, and this brings back a lot of what was missing in Starship Troopers 2. I can’t say this is a must see, but anyone who actually LIKED Starship Troopers 1 should definitely see Starship Troopers 3 — even if you hated Starship Troopers 2 so much that you vowed never to do so. Break your vow. This is better.

Johnny Rico: “Can you walk soldier?”
Random Soldier: “Yes sir.”
Johnny Rico: “Good. Give us a hand. Pick up that arm and find out who it belongs to.”
Random Soldier: “Yes sir!” (more…)