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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Horror > Starship Troopers (Superbit)

Starship Troopers (Superbit Edition)


Picture: A†††† Sound: A†††† Extras: D†††† Film: A-



In May of 2002 Columbia TriStar decided to release for the second time to DVD Paul Verhoevenís terrific film Starship Troopers.This time the film would be a Deluxe Edition including many supplements that were not in the previous edition.The review for that DVD is also on this site and I had mentioned within that review that it was unwise from Columbia TriStar to exclude the option of a DTS soundtrack and that this film should have been one of their Superbit titles.Well, someone over at that studio must have heard my pleas because sure enough just a little over a year later we receive a much deserved and certainly much anticipated Superbit Edition of Starship Troopers.


If you cannot get something right the first or second time, I suppose the third time is a charm.Well, it is sad in many ways that it should take three tries to get a film onto DVD the correct way, since the format is still quite young.We will continue to see titles being released and re-released as time progresses though because of certain upgrades, restorations, re-masterings, high definition transfers, etc.Starship Troopers happens to be a film that I have loved ever since my first viewing since it opened back in 1997.My love for this film has grown with repeated viewings, but I must say I was never able to come close to my theatrical experience until this Superbit Edition, which creates the soundtrack and picture in a way that comes close to the actual on film in the theater.It is certainly much improved over the past two DVD editions.††††


One of the biggest problems with the two previous existing DVDís for Starship Troopers was the weak picture that had a softness problem.Colors were never as sharp or defined as they should or could have been.Perhaps the most evident problem though occurred during the darker night scenes, or space scenes when the video black became a big problem and detail was lost dramatically.Thanks to a high bit-rate transfer this new Superbit Edition utilizes the entire disc for video and audio allowing the picture to have a much sharper and solid look.You can notice that the grays and silvers (such as uniforms or spaceships) now have a more metallic and shiny look, where before it appeared more flat.This transfer also gives the film a more 3-Dimensional look, which is further enhanced by the crisper edges on objects as well as standout colors and patterns.Blues, reds, greens, and yellows have a much stronger texture to them that bring them to life in front of a gray-scaled backdrop.The use of a fuller bit-rate has also improved the digital effects and makes them look more naturalistic, which in comparison to the Star Wars Episode 1 DVD, makes the film all the better.


The biggest improvement with this new edition though is the inclusion of the much-preferred DTS 5.1 audio mix, which simply puts the Dolby 5.1 mix to shame.Listening to both audio mixes and doing an A/B comparison even when both soundtracks are putting out equal volume the DTS track delivers more fidelity, more spatialness, more coherence, more aggression, more dynamics, and a larger range of sound.Starship Troopers was originally released to theaters in Dolby Digital, DTS, as well as Sonyís SDDS 7.1 format, which offers two more channels of sound behind the screen.Since this is the case one might wonder why a center rear channel could not be created for the DTS mix and make it a DTS-ES mix, which would allow for an even fuller surround experience.It its present 5.1 mix there is still a large amount of surround activity as bugs can be heard moving about the rear soundstage.Not only that, but certain battles utilize the rears for directional effects such as bullets or explosions.


Starship Troopers certainly has one of the best sound designs that have even been created for any film.All of the sound is an accurate recreation to what we see on screen.The Dolby mix never delivered the articulate design that this film had and always shortchanged the home viewer with such a weak audio signal that never fully engaged the viewer into the film.Not only are the sound effects important to this film, but the music is also crucial element created by Basil Poledouris this is one of his best compositions ever.The only downside to this DTS mix though is the lack of a thicker bass management.The bass is never as full as it should be especially in scenes that involve the bugs.


Probably the biggest question on the minds of fans is whether or not upgrading to this edition is worth the extra investment.It certainly seems unfair that we must own a film multiple times just to get all the perks.Obviously the upgrade is only worth it if you have the proper equipment to take full advantage of the DTS soundtrack as well as a large enough TV to notice the better picture quality.The Deluxe Edition released in 2002 definitely offered all the supplements anyone could ever expect for this film, but this Superbit Edition delivers the film like never before, which is also vital.If only the two were together in one package it would make the choice easier, but that is not the case.For someone like myself I consider Starship Troopers to be one of the few films I would invest as much money into in order to get all that I can out of the film, so upgrading to me was a pleasure, but most will think itís a pain in the butt or at least in the wallet.



-†† Nate Goss


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