1. In a recent New York Times article, reviewer Neil Strauss categorized Starship Troopers as "1950's camp" and "...a western." It's neither unless Flash Gordon (1930's) is the standard for 1950's "camp" (no elements of mass paranoia, mystery, etc.). Examples of sf "westerns" (some of which are excellent) are Outland and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Some reviewers have correctly pointed out that Starship Troopers is a "war" movie, along the lines of, perhaps, Sands of Iwo Jima.
  2. Strick, Phillip. 1976 Science Fiction Movies. Octopus Books Limited. London. pp 4-5. Unlike most coffee-table books of this type, which are simply published lists of favorite films with lots and lots of pictures, Strick's contains in-depth discussion and critique of the sf film genre, spans the history of motion pictures up to the date of publication, and gives equal time to international contributions and not just the English-speaking sf film community.
  3. 2001: A Space Odyssey is based on Arthur C. Clarke's The Sentinel and a screenplay co-written by Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick. The movie is about astronauts finding evidence that something with extraordinary intelligence visited the earth millions of years before man, leaving a beacon on the moon waiting to be uncovered. When it's excavated by a team of US astronauts it activates, sending an audible signal to a receiver somewhere near Jupiter. A spaceship is built that carries a team of scientists to the giant planet for further investigation, that's all. It's explained in a briefing to Dave Bowman (Keir Dulea) by Dr. Heywood Floyd (Gary Lockwood) about three-quarters of the way through the movie.
  4. If the reader doesn't agree with my opinions it is simply too bad.
  5. A Clockwork Orange is amazing in that it improved on the book with the addition of one scene and removal of one chapter (yes, I know this is the subject of tremendous debate). Other than that, what's on the screen is what Anthony Burgess wrote.
  6. There are many.
  7. It is possible I was late on the scene and the still photos had been available for a year or more; so what?
  8. I believe prominent members of both reigning political parties have expressed their concern over supplying "information have-nots" with computers. I suggest they spend a couple of days trying to make sense of the gross misspellings, "creative" grammar and retrograde prose endemic to the Web. There is still time to change your minds, gentlemen.
  9. However, Heinlein's vision was not that a military government was any less subject to the mistakes of human nature. They just were able to make and execute quick decisions, sometimes to their regret.
  10. I wanted to say "...And all too frequently Hollywood subjects moviegoers to endless salvos cinema excrement, hurled from the theaters and given false praise by hack critics..." but didn't, heeding the advice of my editor.
  11. For nearly two weeks, I've engaged some friends, who are also strict sf purists, in deconstructing the film both in terms of science presented and in terms of sticking to Heinlein. As a general rule, Heinlein did not believe women should be in combat as that would have as a result the extinction of the human race. However, in Starship Troopers, women served in the military in all other aspects of the military (e.g., starship pilots, etc.). The film shows coed combat units, though.
  12. There isn't. This same critic went on to mention that obviously one could see where the film was going since the main characters grew up in Argentina - A COUNTRY KNOWN FOR HARBORING FUGITIVE NAZIS! Yes, it boggled my mind, too. But I applaud CNN for hiring the mentally challenged.
  13. Robert A. Heinlein's characters span all races and creeds. You should read his short stories collection Expanded Universe for a taste.
  14. Contrast those visions with the universe of Star Trek where it appears that quasi-military service is compulsory as is a sort of forced atheistic/humanistic creed.
  15. Verhoeven's Robocop received plenty of critical abuse concerning its extreme violence. I suggest the critics who don't appreciate realism consult their local police blotters to see the amazing things criminals will do to their fellow humans.
  16. Note to the reviewing folks: Amazingly, things of great consequence happened in this world before 1960. There are even books available on such subjects. They are sometimes kept at public buildings called "libraries."
  17. As an aside, one of the characters in Starship Troopers, a young female cadet, mentions that she wants to have a child and being a citizen makes it easier to obtain a license for such purpose. Apparently this world government has found an answer to teenage pregnancy not to mention overpopulation. I suggest Al Gore study his science fiction, particularly that of Miriam Allen de Ford. Also, for a taste of incredibly racist jingoist science fiction, I direct the reader to Jack London's short story, "The Unparalleled Invasion."
  18. For what it's worth, I thought the acting to be flawless, i.e., they convinced me that what they were experiencing was real.
  19. It is an unfortunate fact of war that 19-year olds do most of the actual fighting and dying. Towards the end of WWII both sides began drafting older men (Germany pulled its 15-year olds in as well) due to the shortage of young men.
  20. The not-so-good students get to spend much time making up for it, no doubt at some cost to their self-esteem.
  21. It would seem that many reviewers complaining of such portrayals managed to reach adulthood in America without attending high school. Either that or they were too busy being popular to notice anyone else.
  22. The film's character Carmen Ibenez is the high school's top math student. To fly spaceships (or jets at the current time in history), Carmen's assignment, the military can only afford to train those who show tremendous potential at an early age. Much to the chagrin of the New York Times' Janet Maslin, the portrayal of a gifted, excited flight student is realistic, and it's not easy, Janet.
  23. Starship Troopers is not for "kids." Although I've heard none too few critics of "censorship" come back stating that the worst that could happen were a child to see something is that he'll ask questions. There is nothing wrong with a child's questions, it's the answers he's given that cause all the trouble.
  24. A favorite theme of Heinlein's.
  25. Heinlein's characters usually possess a high level of maturity for their age, which would not be unusual under a government that stresses high academic achievement and duty. It also looked like the future society had fixed the dysfunctional family problems perceived as plaguing the USA (if you read the papers...).
  26. The Science Fiction Writers of America created this honor. It's their version of a lifetime achievement Oscar.
  27. Not "perfect," though. That distinction is reserved for Gattaca.
  28. I'd really like to see the sf work of Edgar Rice Burroughs (i.e., John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus), E.E. Smith (despite what Harlan "don't you DARE film any story I've written" Ellison thinks!), A.E. van Vogt, Isaac Asimov (yeah, where are the filmed versions of his work? Yes, I know Fantastic Voyage was his, but the screen version of Nightfall was disappointing), Larry Niven, C.S. Lewis, Clifford Simek, Harry Harrison, James Blish (he did plenty more than Star Trek), etc., etc., etc., Etc., ETC! Starship Troopers should be the thin end of the wedge in hopes of a science fiction film renaissance.

    Copyright © 1997 David Lee Beowulf