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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Starship Troopers: Special Edition (Sony DVD)

Starship Troopers - Special Edition


Picture: B     Sound: B+     Extras: A     Film: A-



Starship Troopers is not exactly a film that everyone gets.  Even critics when the film was released felt that the film was Fascist and had Nazi tendencies, which is exactly what the film is against!  Starship Troopers message is that Fascism is only good for one thing…killing bugs!  What most people see is just a film that parades around with too much violence and tries to be too gung ho in its attempt to connect the storyline with the message. 


Ironic films never do well and Starship Troopers fits that bill.  Although a handful of people out there understood this and now five years later some critics are changing their attitude towards this film and recognizing its message hidden below the surface, it is rather late in the game for that. 


There are many social and political commentaries that are made throughout this film and are done with strong intent and are often humorous.  We have our youth represented in the film as ambitious beings willing to do anything for their country.  The only way they matter is if they protect their planet.  Here we have a reference to the youth of pre-Vietnam.  The media keeps reporting the high death tolls that are racking up, but the cold-faced reporters seem anything but sympathetic.  This is similar to some of what is going on in today’s news coverage.  We have seen director Paul Verhoeven make similar remarks to Vietnam before in films like Robocop (1987), in which a man/machine is a cop with a mission to serve and protect.  Like the troops of Vietnam they were trained to act like machines, created with feelings, but without a way to control them is a dangerous combination. 


Another comparison that the film shockingly emulates is that of WWII and the type of German Propaganda that Hitler was using.  Some will see the commercials within Starship Troopers that are like Army recruiting videos, but they have a haunting similarity to Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1934).  Notice also that even though the film takes place in the future that with all the technology the soldiers still fight land battles that maximize high death tolls.  The soldiers also fight hand to hand combat most of the time with the bugs, which also result in large amounts of casualties, but more interesting is that the weapon of choice are weapons that look like slight upgrades from the machine guns of WWII.  Even the helmets are old fashioned. 


Considering that the previous DVD was an early release it looked really good, but this edition looks much better and colors are more solid.  Blacks are much deeper and detail is sharper.  This is a new high-definition transfer, which I am sure we will see many DVD’s re-released similarly.  There is still some slight softness even with this new transfer.  This appears in the space scenes in the darkness of the background. 


The most disappointing part of this re-release was the exclusion of DTS sound.  Rather a new Dolby 5.1 mix was used and sounds just as limited as the previous DVD.  Sound is good, but still not DTS type of sound.  Since this film has incredible sound design DTS should have been used and this is unacceptable!  The limitations are easily heard in the collision scenes that occur in space when the human ships start to catch fire and wreck into one another.  The soundtrack lacks the dimension and depth that should be there.  What is really odd is Columbia TriStar chose to re-release this film (on the same day no less) as Verhoeven’s Hollow Man Deluxe Superbit Edition, but why not give both films that treatment so that Starship Troopers could look and sound just as good at Hollow Man.  A mistake indeed!


The extras are quite plentiful on this edition, some of which were carried over from the previous edition.  The supplements for this edition were created as more of a retrospective piece, which is really cool because they note how the film has become more recognized during the past few years.  Verhoeven always provides unintentionally funny commentaries as he talks near gibberish at times, but other times quite informative.  He certainly has a passion for making films and this is clearly heard as he rants on and on.



-   Nate Goss


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