Aired: March 11, 2009 — Topic: Starship Troopers


Hello 515er’s! It’s me, your very favorite reviewer EVER! Now, I’m normally a pretty dependable fellow, yes? Damn straight I am. So, when I tell you this, I mean it- ‘Starship Troopers’ the book, by Robert A. Heinlein, is an amazing read. The movies, however, are damnable, retarded, fish-squirrel butt-sex offspring of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. How so, you ask? HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOVIES?! They are horrible!
Starship Troopers/Book-

Being that Robert A. Heinlein served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant only a few years before World War II and a little after World War I, serving on an aircraft carrier and a destroyer, the man knows the military. He was honorably discharged in 1934 due to medical reasons- he had pulmonary tuberculosis. After this he began his writing career, using his experiences- and active imagination- to come up with some of the worlds best Science Fiction, including ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’, ‘I Will Fear No Evil’, and ‘Starship Troopers’. He, along with such famous authors such as Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, were often known as the “Big Three” of science Fiction. Biography aside, the dude rocks.

The book ‘Starship Troopers’ is a virtual masterpiece. Action, science, and closely examines human society, the book is one of my personal favorites. Criticized by many to promote militarism and even so far as to promote fascism, the book seems to read that way. However, there a few things those jerks should keep in mind when they read this book;

A: ‘Starship Troopers’ is a work of science fiction, ya dumbasses.

B: Heinlein very strongly believed in loyalty, leadership, and other ideals associated with the military. Thus why he went into the Navy. Do those ideals sound bad to you? Are they bad? Loyalty, Leadership, Courage, etc., etc.- these are militaristic, fascist ideals? Hell no! They seem a lot more like the ideals our Founding Fathers had, or all the men who ever went overseas to die for their country, families, friends, and for their buddies next to them! Not Fascists, nor communists! There are patriotic ideals, if anything.


Here’s a good description of the book that I found when I Wiki-ed Robert A. Heinlein:

[Heinlein decisively ended his juvenile novels with Starship Troopers (1959) a controversial work and his personal riposte to leftists calling for President Dwight D. Eisenhower to stop nuclear testing in 1958. "[Heinlein] called for the formation of the Patrick Henry League and spent the next several weeks writing and publishing his own polemic that lambasted ‘Communist-line goals concealed in idealistic-sounding nonsense’ and urged Americans not to become ‘soft-headed’. … Critics labeled Heinlein everything from a Nazi to a racist."

"The ‘Patrick Henry’ ad shocked ’em," he wrote many years later. "Starship Troopers outraged ’em."

Starship Troopers is a coming-of-age story about duty, citizenship, and the role of the military in a free society. The book envisions a society in which suffrage was given only to those who earned it through military service. Though recruits could state preferences, the choice of service was at the government’s discretion; furthermore, the government could not refuse any volunteer the opportunity to serve. The only consequence of failing to successfully complete one’s term of service was permanent inability to vote. The primary explanation for the ‘service as a prerequisite to the franchise’ approach was that it resulted in a higher level of responsibility (from society’s perspective) in those who cared enough to complete a term of service not under their control or influence (eg, money, social status, political pull, etc). Furthermore, only veterans received the franchise; during their term of service, volunteers were not eligible.

When you read ‘Starship Troopers’ keep an open mind.]

Imagine a world united (finally), and the means it would take in order to govern a whole planet, let alone whole star systems. Imagine the things that would have to be taught in schools, imagine the way discipline would be maintained, imagine all of these things, and remember that the book is written as seen through the eyes of someone who was born and raised in such times. And above all else- try to enjoy the book! It’s one of the best works of science fiction for a reason!

Starship Troopers/Movies:

Suck-tastic. Horrible. God-Awful. Three phrases that should, by any rights, NOT come anywhere near a movie that is based on the writings of a literary master. Were ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies horrible? Was ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ suck-tastic (granted, it was one big acid trip for most)? No, they weren’t. And yet, ‘Starship Troopers’ the movie has it all wrong. The ideals are wrong, the technology is wrong, it feels all wrong- hell, the main character looks like he is from a Hitler Youth Camp, not Buenos Aires! The movie is worth a few laughs, sure, but for someone who loves the book, and came away from the book with a lot to think about, I feel the movies are incredibly lacking. AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE SECOND OR THIRD MOVIES. It just gets worse. Hell, the second movie didn’t have a high enough budget to afford real prop guns! They were flashlight guns! That should have been a sign to the studio- “You aren’t even worth enough money to afford real prop guns, and so get strobe lights plugged into the end of gun-shaped objects.”

Am I a purist? No. I felt the ‘Transformers’ movie was pretty cool, but different enough from the cartoon that it could stand on its own. But there really is nothing solidly good about ‘Starship Troopers’ the movie. I feel it could have been done a lot better. And, it has- surprisingly, produced by the same people who made the movies. Why they didn’t make it like this right off the bat, who the fuck knows. ‘Starship Troopers: The Roughneck Chronicles’ is actually a CG T.V. show for kids, that is, well… better than the movies, in my opinion. Not as good as the book, but I sure as hell prefer it over those goddamn ridiculous movies.

Paul Verhoeven- the crazy guy that he is- admits he only read a little bit of the book. Now, I love Verhoeven. He gave us RoboCop for cryin-out-loud! But I have no idea why he went horribly awry with the movies. They seem more of a spin off of those old war movies with John Wayne, like “The Longest Day” or “The Sands of Iwo Jima”. Why he put the good name of “Starship Troopers” on these movies I’ll never know. He could have just called it “The Bug War” and not linked it to the book, and it probably would have gotten a better review by yours truly.

In summation- READ THE BOOK! And ignore that the movies ever happened, unless you wanna watch mindless violence with a side of bad acting, and a big ol’ sippy-cup of ruined plot.

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