How to look at the film

Is Starship Troopers the film really a propaganda film?

  • Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Dont know

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Okay i keep reading a lot of postings about how the film is bad and/or differs from the book. Id like to put forward a few suggestions about the first film, so that in theory all this stuff gets cleared out of the way. At the end of the day, we all want something different and theres going to be many people not happy about it one way or the other. But we can but wait till its out and let the game itself do the talking.
Ive made this a poll so i can see what people think :) enjoy

The film itself doesnt reflect the book. Ive not even read the book but have read enough on here to know it doesnt reflect the key aspect were interested in - the military.
What we have to ask is why. Now many have suggested that its because the film would require a lot of CGI, a huge budget, etc etc. All true points, but after seeing films with lots of CGI, we can guess it might have been possible.
So why didnt they? Well how about if the film wasnt made for us to watch?

Okay consider this:
You rule this society (in the book) and you have a standing army of 10,000 MI to protect all of earth and wherever else Humans have gone (e.g. port joe smith from the film). When the bugs attack and the MI get beat up, there under manned. What do you do? Why not make a propaganda film about it all and release it to everyone?

Think about it. The movie ends with the words 'They'll keep on fighting.. and they'll win!'. At that point, after going through the entire film, are you left in any doubt about the humans winning? You get shown all the new ships, and the new weapons. The fact you get shown this HUGE fleet of brand new ships and hordes of light troopers suggests that theres a big force to protect mankind - when in fact the MI are heavily depeleted.

You then make it look fun. Look at carmen flying about through the space station, and then when she takes the ship out. Or the bit where the MI are messing about (before rico and diz *ahem* its a family forum :wink: ). Join up today, its lots of fun.

Look at the self sacrifices. Not one but two, including Ricos father figure. The audience would get the idea that these men might loose everything they have; there friends, there partners, there families - but they'll fight all the same.

You see three aspects - psychic, fleet, infantry. You see more of the infantry because thats whats needed, 'more meat for the grinder' as the guy says. However Karl is shown in the infomercials because you can see that Karl is smarter then you as an audience. Perhaps people in the society who see these infomercials might watch it more closely and wonder whether there looking at a scientist or a general...

You also have port joe smith, the mormon extremeists who get slaughtered by bugs. What got me thinking is that they went against the wishes of the security council rite, so would be given protection. If you agree, then look at the shoots. The majority of the corpses are MI corpses (I dont think there armed either come to think of it - possibly collectiong resources?). Theres also the placement of the bug leg thats hanging out of the door. Maybe this is a set up? People watch this and think 'theres no way im leaving earth now' so its easier to protect humanity cause its in one place (in theory). I also think that some of the corpses look like they've been shot, although thats only my reading...

You've also got probibly the most memorable sequence from the whole film - whisky outpost. Everyone knows about whisky outpost. Yet it mimics so many last stands. Most notibly that depeicted in 'Zulu!' because for the majority survived and they were outnumbered. Whilst you cant say the MI won technically, they were quite prepared to fight to the death and as Rico says iirc 'half my men are dead'. Only half! Thats pretty good by my reckoning seeing as though the vallry ends up teeming with gribblies great and small...

I just beleive that ideas come across that appear like propaganda material rather then a book adaptation. I mean, what would happen to human society if you told it that they had no military protection, and were outnumbered by huge armour plated bugs that outnumbered them several times over and were heading there way?

Anyway im done. Let me know what you all think. It was just one of those ideas that dawned on me and made me realise. Im sure somewhere down the line there will be some form of adaptation as opposed to an interpretation, but we'll wait and see.
well I see two problems, the movies emphasis on facism, which was not intended in the book, and therefore if the movie is a book universe propaganda film, it wont make sense...

and 2. I cant suspend disbelief, the movie makes a mockery of the Heinlin universe, not that it is a bad movie, Vwerhoven admitted not to reading the book before hand- because he wanted to make his own film...

but it doesnt fit as a propaganda film because of its satire...

but it is a very good theory and Nearly, reconciles the two versions
It fits like a glove when you think about it. Why make a film to us; a film for the society is much more clever. And the acting is far too brutally wooden, even Mike Ironside, to be anything but society made.

Its great how you choose to make this point after the poll ends

*grumbles lots*
well im sorry about the poll but I only singed up yesterday on this forum, I wanted to comment so I did... thats what forums are for.
Well, viewing the movie as an 'internal' propaganda piece for the SST unverse is absurd.

They are just simply different works, with different foci, and simply have to be judged separately.

Virginia Heinlein said she believed Robert would have liked it for what it was.
If you look at the sort of humor in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, and Job, I can see it. But that doesn't mean it was a good adaptation.

You simply can't take the movie seriously.

The society in Heinlein's novel wasn't oppresive or fascist. It was widely accepted, in that world, that only people willing to hang their butt on the line for their people would get the chance to run things.

Service was a RIGHT. As quoted in the book, if a blind deaf mute in a wheelchair came in and wanted to serve, they would have to find SOMETHING for him to do(counting hairs on caterpillars is suggested)
It is not about divinding the world into to classes. It is about each individual demonstrating a fitness for a responsibility before it is granted.
And the world being wise enought to accept that notion.

Besides, the cheese factor would have made it an propaganda film for the ANTI-Federation side. The scene where the legless, eyeless recruiter tells Rico the MI 'made me the man I am today'? How would that encourage people to join?
That character, the crippled recruiter is taken from the book. But what you don't see, is later when Rico is leaving the building, he runs onto the recruiter, who has full mechanical prosthetics. When Rico is suprised, the recruiter tells him he puts on the freak show to drive home that service isn't play time, it is a real, solemn duty that should never be entered lightly.

My problem is that the movie can be interpreted as an anti-war screed.
Just enough of Heinlein's honest thought's were inserted into the movie, so that when combined with the cheese and schlock, it gave the opposite view to the one expressed in the book.
I hadn't read the book when I first saw it. I didn;t take it to be anti war, but to be an homage to over the top sci-fi, and took the world at it's face value. Thus, unlike many SST fans, I didn't hate it. But when a few days later I finally read the book, my eyes were opened to Heinlein's work.
I must say I enjoy all, the movie, the book, and the CGI. I don't think I have ever seen an interupation of a book that agreed with mine and have never seen a movie "out do" a book. Most movies don't have the time it takes. Overall I agree, the movie falls short of the book in many ways. However, I think in most cases movies say "based upon" when dealing with boths, not "presented unabrigded or unchanged." What I am trying to say is have fun with both, whether you agree with the other interpuations or not.

- Painting my buys based on the CGI and pictures of Galoobs version. Still looking/thinking about the MI.
I appologise about you having just joined, i only noticed that once id looked else where.

To guest - Im ignoring your comments because you are a guest, and probibly wont come back.

Simply works etc - NO! there not! thats the whole point of this poll and thread. I was trying to address and issue that has arrisen so many times its untrue. It is because of this blurred line that theres several camps of thought about how the game should work in order to be sucessful, which in the long term could be damaging if fractions become disenfranchised (yes it sounds extreme, but i saw it happen with 40k vets and 40k newbies. I was a veteran, I still know the difference between a chainsaw and a toothpick)
A man called Alan Coren said "Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what it is you want to hear". It could be said that the rulers in the book, whilst chosen by the people, were manipulated in there choosings; which Is another reason for the news broadcasts which interupt the film.
The armless legless man is actually a brilliant example and i think you've missed some key points. Yes at that point we laugh - were meant to (reaction shot of Johny) but when we see Mike Ironside (Whose charecter has a name i wont even begin to try and spell) the audience is in no doubt hes capable of doing his job. It gets to the point where the thing that kills him is Ricco himself rather then the bug; all the soldiers in the MI will fight to the death no matter what. If it recruits some people fantastic, if it calms the fears of an obviously terrified populace then better because with buenos aries is destroyed in the book (iirc). Humans would leave Earth in droves because its become a target. How do you maintain government/law/control/species survival if the human race is spreading across the galaxy?

Sure if you wanted to make a literal adaptation its possible but I say to you the same thing i say to people who point out mistakes in LOTR.
You'd need a time machine for the entire cast to stop them aging, make probibly 12 hours of film if you cut it fine, a CGI team that never stopped updating and working, and more money then Bill Gates (Well, maybe 500million would do it, but best to be safe and double that). Oh and hope that no one died and get Heinlein himself to work jointly on the script in order that no one can say it goes against heinleins work because it would be made by the man himself.

Literal interpretations tend not to work. Adaptations arent too bad though (Trainspotting was a short story IIRC from a collection of short stories, ill investigate soon enough)
AD wrote - "Literal interpretations tend not to work. Adaptations arent too bad though"

My point exactly. :lol:
Your theory is cute. It makes you sound like the guy who wrote ST:2.

The main problem is that there is more than 1 MI division guarding Earth.
Look your a newbie, so ill be nice this time and not rip you to shreds :evil: .

Look at september the 11th as a referance. If America had been shown to have a small military force at that point, then there would have been mass panic and probibly vigilantism as Americans try to defend themselves and shot any arab in site to keep the country safe.

The point is that if you keep humans in one place you can defend the populace. Keep them calm and sedated and you might pull off the galaxies greatest survival story. Ive been wargaming for years, since I was old enough to pick up a paint brush, so I can say i know a thing or two.
Scattering your forces to protect lots of objectives doesnt work. Protect a key one, and then use surplus troopers go on the offensive.

Another point. The space station defending earth from 'another bug meteor'. If humans feel protected they'd carry on as before and be no problem at all.
the movie is an adaptation and should be seen as such. However the theory that the movie is a propaganda film doesnt work, because the federation presented is overly facist. What type of propaganda shows off the worst problems in your society>?

Heinlins federation isnt oppressive and is democratic, the movie's is facist and democracy apparently failed. This is what cracks the idea, because you cannot reconcile these two differences.

Its a movie, and its a book, and its other stuff they are all just variations on a universe and they dont need to fit together. The only thing that matters is that we all love the movies main arachnid warrior model... thats good stuff man, and I cant wait to have a few hundred on my table!
However the theory that the movie is a propaganda film doesnt work, because the federation presented is overly facist. What type of propaganda shows off the worst problems in your society>?

I am inclined to think that Mr. Verhoeven presented us with more depth than he or most of his critics would have us believe. When SST was criticized as being pro-war (no specific war, just war in general), Verhoeven explained that he could not see how people getting ripped apart in a spray of blood and gore by monstrous killer insects would advocate war - and he had a point.

The movie represents a more sophisticated form of propaganda than simple lies, denial, and sugar-coating. Notice, for instance, that the defeat at Klendathu is openly admitted to on the Federal News. 'course, it had already been aired live, but classical propaganda á la Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or North Korea would have either denied the event altogether, or presented it as largely irrellevant. The sophistication of Federal propaganda is in presenting the truth, taking responsibility, and showing that even in adversity, the Federation is on top of things. A new boss and a new strategy. Huzzah!

For the movie as a whole, notice how the characters have flaws, but things work out anyway. Whatshername dumps poor Rico in favor of her career and runs off with the slick pilot. Rico gets a squadmate killed on the training course and would have washed out if it weren't for BA getting wiped out. General Something is reduced to a gibbering wreck at Whiskey Outpost (Fort Apache? Not sure what its called). Not the Übermenschen that would star in a Nazi propaganda film, but almost-real people, tangible enough to seem credible. The Federation understands that there is more power in selling retouched truth than blatant lies. Whatshername and Rico get together in the end, Rico takes his lashes and is thus redeemed, General Something is smushed by a crashing Hopper - a fitting end for a weakling. But how come none of our heroes suffer shellshock and other psychological trauma? After Klendathu they seem just as happy and jumpy as when they were in Boot Camp. Civilians don't need to know about PTST and the like, those are vices and virtues with which they are unfamiliar in civilian life, so no need to educate them. There is difference between lying and not telling the whole truth.

Notice also that human life has an apparently lower value to the civilian (NOT NECESSARILY citizen) masses of the Federation. For example, an Arachnid mauling a cow is censored - the torn bodies of Mormons at Port Joe Smith or MI at Klendathu are shown openly. We can assume the people of the Federation are more accustomed to violence and human sacrifice, on TV at least, quite possibly by design to steel them for Federal Service and citizenship, as well as to allow them to accept six-figure casualties in a single battle. This ties in with your comment on the Fascist elements of Federation society, relayed mostly by imagery (long leather coats and peaked caps, eagles, grey uniforms, boots) that speaks to us, the late-20th, early-21st century Western movie audience. This imagery could be perfectly normal to Federation citizens, as it was, for instance, to the Germans somewhere between 1930-1945.
you illicit very good points however they dont seem to account for the translation- the theory is that the SST movie is a propaganda film FOR the BOOK version/universe of SST.

So how does the violence in TV and etc. translate? You have not explained that for example. And how would the more facist overtones translate postively in a more democratic system of the terran federation of the book>?

The reality is that Heinlin had his view and Verhoven had his own, and two very different messages.

Heinlin was about personal responsibillity and the flaws in a democracy without merrits.

Verhoven was about knocking facism, war, propaganda, and overall having some great action.

The bad acting is bad acting, the movie is the movie, the book is the book, thats the reality, and this theory is fascinating but simply isnt true or there would be some great special feature on my SST DVD.
Ah I see :-D

I never said that the movie was necessarily built up like a propaganda movie for the book version of SST. As a matter of fact, Paul Verhoeven refused to read the book until he was well underway with the movie, insisting that he wanted to make his own thing. Verhoeven's and Heinlein's versions of SST do not have very much in common, and Mongoose is being quite brave trying to merge them - and the CGI - into one game.

But my post wasn't about that anyway :p I think the SST movie works well when seen as a propaganda movie for the movie universe, and it is quite a crafty one at that. Comparing the book and the movie or linking them by anything other than title and some plotline details doesn't quite work I'm afraid.
By great special feature what do you mean exactly? Surely you dont want an interveiw or such explaining it?

It depends on how you see democracy really. Look at America at the moment. George Bush controls the white house and senate (iirc) which basically means he can do what he wants.

Scroll back to Germany in WW2, or Ancient Rome. One man in power, the rest follow. We live in an age where the media, not weapons, are mankinds most powerful tools and if you can control the media, then you can control the world.

Of course we live in a democracy would never let the media influence our decisions what so ever...

If your told the sky is brown from birth then no matter what anyone says, you'll beleive its brown. Democracy works the same. If you tell the society it lives in a democracy, it doesnt actually have to be a democracy, merely have the designer label. You can be told that something is better because if your told (or beleive) its not wouldnt you try and change it (see george orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four)

I started this thread to settle a lot of conjecture and grumblings between what seem to be different camps of thinking on the different versions in order that more productive thinking can come from the forums.
If you are told the sky is brown from birth then you will think the color blue is actually called brown, your definition is changed. So a facist system calling itself democracy will be seen as such by its ppl, but an actual democracy would seem like something else and theyd call it something else.

Just a label doesnt work you have to lie too.

Anywho- if SST is a propaganda film for the movie universe then it certainly works out better, but I dont see the point then. The idea of it being a propaganda film for the movie universe would explain many descrepencies... but as a propaganda film for the movie-verse- it just explains bad acting.

And Bush doesnt control the senate, republicans do, and trust me, while he is a republican they do things on the whole he doesnt like.

While Bush is easily called a tyranical idiot (and I agree) the system is not being controlled by him alone....

Ancient Rome was a Republic with two COnsuls. Later Rome was a Republic with one Emperor and while his ascension was by no means democratic, citizens had rights, which in many ways is far more important than the way you choose your leaders.

Imagine if you voted for a leader in a country but you had no right to free speech outside of voting, or no right to property, yes your leaders are chosen by the people... but you have little to no legal protection.

Rome offered order and law, which is as essential to democracy as anything.

anywho back SST, i think weve had a fruitful discussion but I fail to see anything else coming from it...
You know its better if you join the boards, means people can identify you as a person rather then mr guest (theres hundreds of people called guest really)

If not, you can change the name to be something else without joining. i did for awhile
yes im very sorry about that, the post above yours and many others here are mine, apparently my computer wasnt automatically loggin me in with each visit... and at a glance i thought it was posting my name


I pretty much just look for a G and a U

Sorry about that, wont continue to happen.