“Come on, you apes! You wanta live forever?”
Unknown platoon sergeant, 19181
“[…] Starship Troopers was more me reflecting on American politics – to a certain degree, domestic American politics. There’s a lot of parallels with what happened after September 11, of course – not just in the obvious ways of shooting rockets in tunnels, at the Taliban, or the ‘Arachnids’ in the movie – but also in the function of propaganda and spinning. In some ways, it’s a pleasure that it all became true, but on the other hand, there's not much pleasure that it came true.”
”It has become clear, in these last decades of decadence, decline, towering institutional violence, and rampant bad taste, that American life is stuck somewhere inside the Paul Verhoeven cinematic universe.”
”In Starship Troopers, the Western and science fiction genres find a new generic partner: melodrama or, more specifically, nighttime TV soap melodrama in the tradition of Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000) and Melrose Place (1992-1999). The love interests of the main characters develop in pure soap-style, not only in the cliché, card-board cut-out acting styles but also the plot. […] They embody the ideal, depthless human, the Los Angeles plastic surgery aesthetic, that has been popularized by soaps and shows like Baywatch. Perfect bodies, flawless faces, perfect big white teeth and big fake smiles (so wonderfully mastered by Richards).
[…] In prediciting future outcomes, Verhoeven also retraces the myth of America’s frontier past. We are presented with Western allusions that include John Wayne-style dialogue (‘saddle up!’ and ‘come on you apes. Do you wanna live forever?’); the desert backdrop of Klendathu (that recalls the iconic wilderness expanses of Western landscapes such as Momument valley); and dances and music, complete with toe-tapping fiddle music that plays to tune of ‘I wish I were in Dixie’, harking back to movies such as John Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949).”
- 1. Beginning of Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 novel Starship Troopers
- 2. Margaret Barton-Fumo, Paul Verhoeven: Interviews (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2016).
- 3. David Roth, How “Starship Troopers” Aligns with Our Moment of American Defeat, The New Yorker, July 6 2020.
- 4. Angela Ndalianis, Science Fiction Experiences (New Academia Publishing, LLC, 2011).[/fn