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Author Topic: The Movie Thread Reloaded  (Read 55313 times)

Bedrockbrendan

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #525 on: May 28, 2021, 08:11:56 PM »
The godawful adaptation of Starship Troopers has always been irritating to me, because the CG-animated series was even better and closer to the source material.

Heinlein, IMO, holds to the view of the 'constrained vs unconstrained' (as per Thomas Sowell). Short form, humans are fallible, mortal, and prone to fuckery; so we should build our institutions in such a way that if we DO get a bad egg in there, we can limit the damage they do. This is the 'constrained' viewpoint. In SST, there's a hard gate to any form of elected office or the franchise: tangible service to said government. Think of it as 'skin in the game'. It's not perfect, but it acts as a filter for petty time-servers and sociopaths.
Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles was closer in the sense that it didn't hate its source material, but it's only very loosely similar to the source material. It essentially takes place in the same setting as the novel, but the plot is completely new. Which I think is for the better, because the novel can get pretty boring.

Too bad the show is so difficult to get ahold of now. It's not available on streaming and the DVDs are OOP.

What made the movie interesting to me was that it hated the source material. It felt like a conversation with the book. I thought the book was great. It is one of my favorites. But I also thought the movie was equally good. Politically I probably am closer to the movie (and Verhoeven in general) but with movies and books, if they make a compelling case for their point of view, and do it in an entertaining way, I am pretty open minded. With Starship Troopers the book, I found he made a compelling case for his position even if I ultimately disagree with it, and there were some moments where the text was just captivating to read. Also I like that they are so different from one another, people who go to the book because of the movie (which today is probably the most common path) will have quite a surprise. This was my experience. I saw the movie when it came out, and I had a conversation with my friend Bill about it, and he mentioned the book. But he described it as not being satyrical at all (and I just assumed he missed the satire, because it didn't occur to me the movie and book would have contrary messages). When I sat down to read the book for the first time, I actually found it thrilling that it was so different from the movie. And that it had a substantive way of presenting its position.

Also I think that the movie went over many peoples' heads, which I always found surprising, is a mark in its favor. It seems on the nose, but obviously it wasn't on the nose enough for a lot of people.

Bedrockbrendan

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #526 on: May 28, 2021, 08:21:25 PM »
Sometimes they make these movies by slapping the name of one IP on the script for another simply to retain the IP and cut losses on scripts bought.
That's what happened with Starship Troopers. They took an unrelated script and slapped the name on it.

It's really frustrating because the movie is supposedly a satire/parody of the book but utterly fails in every way.

Namely, Johnny is Filipino. Sure, he grew up in Brazil but ethnically his family is Filipino. He speaks Tagalog!

The book is also very progressive for the time in terms of representing racial diversity, women, and persons with disabilities in the military. If Heinlein had written it now, then I suspect he'd include brief references to marines being LGBT+ or autistic.

We don't get a lot of insight into how the Terran Federation is actually run. It's extremely vague and comes across as extremely cynical about human nature in spots (e.g. a teacher dismissing the Declaration of Independence as idealistic nonsense, when ironically nowadays only far leftists think that), but it's definitely not obviously fascist as detractors claim (or dystopian, or utopian, either). It's basically Heinlein saying "I think human nature sucks, I'm angry about that, I'm not sure my fictional government can fix the problems."

I don't know how you could make a genuine satire of the book given that it doesn't provide much material to work with. Maybe depict the Federation as some kind of neutropia/uchronia where it's both militaristic and socialist? I bet that would make heads explode on both sides of the political isle. A society that is both socialist and respects the armed forces couldn't possibly exist, could it?

My understanding, and it could be wrong, is the screen writer was a fan of the book. But Verhoeven couldn't get past the militarism and what he felt was a fascist message. I think it is probably better he never finished the book, because the movie surely would have turned out very different in its details and what we got on the screen works (it is a kind of weird political satire that feels like beverly hills 90210 fascism in space-----which makes sense given it was made by the guy who did Robocop as his interpretation of American Jesus). Obviously there is a lot more nuance in the book, which is one of the things that make it such a compelling read.

Heinlein was progressive in a lot of ways (in ways that coincide with a lot of Verhoeven's progressivism oddly enough). But I don't think that was the issue Verhoeven had with the book. His issue was the militarism.

Also I don't think it is a parody of the book. I think what happened was Verhoeven signed on to do a film based on the book, but when he started reading it, just had an instinctual dislike of the message. And so he made a movie that was a parody of militaristic fascism. Whether the book itself has a fascist message, I think is somewhat debatable. I see it more as a militaristic message. But I've met plenty of smart science fiction fans (including a history professor who was no political reactionary) who felt it had fascist undertones. Honestly I would need to give it a thorough reading again to really weigh in as it has been about 7 years since I last read it (which for me is enough time to forget crucial details). But I remember feeling like it wasn't fascist, as much as it was written by someone who had familiarity or background with military matters and was presenting a pro-military point of view (but it is possible I am forgetting some key detail about the government in the book).

Ratman_tf

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #527 on: May 28, 2021, 09:15:30 PM »
Also I think that the movie went over many peoples' heads, which I always found surprising, is a mark in its favor. It seems on the nose, but obviously it wasn't on the nose enough for a lot of people.

That aspect makes me uneasy. While watching the movie, I felt like Verhoeven was sitting on my chest with a bullhorn in my face screaming "FASCISM IS BAD!" for two hours. I can't imagine anyone missing that message unless they were in a coma.
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Ghostmaker

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #528 on: May 29, 2021, 12:24:07 AM »
Also I think that the movie went over many peoples' heads, which I always found surprising, is a mark in its favor. It seems on the nose, but obviously it wasn't on the nose enough for a lot of people.

That aspect makes me uneasy. While watching the movie, I felt like Verhoeven was sitting on my chest with a bullhorn in my face screaming "FASCISM IS BAD!" for two hours. I can't imagine anyone missing that message unless they were in a coma.
It was like Verhoeven just couldn't bring himself to actually -portray- the book, much less read it.

There's so much busted in the SST film it's hard to know where to start. The tactics and gear are wrong -- in the book, troopers wear powered armor and certainly do not use stupid WW1/WW2 era tactics. Training is strictly segregated by gender (that whole coed shower scene was absurd) to the point where in the book there's a joke made about one recruit insisting he saw a girl and nobody believes him.  Speaking of training, the live-fire ranges with no way to block stray shots? Really? They combine the characters of Rasczak and DuBois, which is just strange. And they don't even give Carmen a short haircut (in the book she shaves her head because long hair is a pain to manage in zero-g).

The kindest thing I can say is that it might've gotten people interested in reading Heinlein's work. But nowadays especially, I don't want Hollyweird anywhere near my favorite authors. They fuck it up more often than not.

Zelen

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #529 on: May 29, 2021, 02:06:43 AM »
That aspect makes me uneasy. While watching the movie, I felt like Verhoeven was sitting on my chest with a bullhorn in my face screaming "FASCISM IS BAD!" for two hours. I can't imagine anyone missing that message unless they were in a coma.

That's what the director wants to beat you over the head with, but the movie itself shows a bunch of heroic, good-looking people bravely putting it all on the line to save the human race.

Sorry Paul, I'm not going to root against the continuation of the human species. Anyone who does is evil.

Pat

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #530 on: May 29, 2021, 09:37:38 AM »
There's so much busted in the SST film it's hard to know where to start. The tactics and gear are wrong -- in the book, troopers wear powered armor and certainly do not use stupid WW1/WW2 era tactics.
I was always disappointed that we never got to see the Marauder suits on screen. In the movie, the fights are massed close combat, with the mobile infantry almost shoulder to shoulder, wearing what looks like cheap plastic armor that doesn't seem to do anything, and running around like ordinary people with exposed faces. It's tight, close, personal, and human scale. They frequently faces hordes of enemies, but they're treated as cheap and disposable.

In the fbookilm, they wear massive suits that makes them look like giant metal gorillas, with jets they can use to bounce across the battlefield, while spraying massive amounts of firepower, including strings of baby nukes. They're widely distributed, the distances covered are vast, they have enough firepower to take out cities, and they have sensor arrays that make modern fighters look blind.

Bedrockbrendan

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #531 on: May 29, 2021, 10:57:14 AM »
Also I think that the movie went over many peoples' heads, which I always found surprising, is a mark in its favor. It seems on the nose, but obviously it wasn't on the nose enough for a lot of people.

That aspect makes me uneasy. While watching the movie, I felt like Verhoeven was sitting on my chest with a bullhorn in my face screaming "FASCISM IS BAD!" for two hours. I can't imagine anyone missing that message unless they were in a coma.

I thought it was too obvious to miss too when I first saw it in the theater, but I kept running into people who thought it was a film promoting fascism.

Omega

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #532 on: May 29, 2021, 12:38:44 PM »
The kindest thing I can say is that it might've gotten people interested in reading Heinlein's work. But nowadays especially, I don't want Hollyweird anywhere near my favorite authors. They fuck it up more often than not.

I think it just got more people to believe the books are fascist indoctrination pamphlets and avoided it. I hated the movie and Kat detested it.

As for modern adaptions. Expect more and expect hollowood to rape as many characters as they can. Because no one can just tinker with stuff anymore for tinkerings sake. No. They have to make it into another agenda platform.

Omega

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #533 on: May 29, 2021, 12:44:42 PM »
In the fbookilm, they wear massive suits that makes them look like giant metal gorillas, with jets they can use to bounce across the battlefield, while spraying massive amounts of firepower, including strings of baby nukes. They're widely distributed, the distances covered are vast, they have enough firepower to take out cities, and they have sensor arrays that make modern fighters look blind.

The anime series adaption plays to the book alot better than the movies. It still takes alot of liberties with things.

oggsmash

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #534 on: June 02, 2021, 03:23:34 PM »
  When a director who probably feels Dirty Harry is a fascist makes a movie trying to portray a government body as fascist he fails badly IMO.   I think Paul wanted to make that message, "Fascism is BAD!!"  But he also showed a government that tells the public pretty much the whole story all the time.  That is not, IMO ever a real portrayal at all of a totalitarian fascist government (again the only type of fascist there is).  He does portray the military as complete fucktards though, since they are attacking huge monsters with small arms that are largely ineffective.  In the book they used the proper gear for the fight.

Ratman_tf

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #535 on: June 03, 2021, 03:59:18 AM »
  When a director who probably feels Dirty Harry is a fascist makes a movie trying to portray a government body as fascist he fails badly IMO.   I think Paul wanted to make that message, "Fascism is BAD!!"  But he also showed a government that tells the public pretty much the whole story all the time.  That is not, IMO ever a real portrayal at all of a totalitarian fascist government (again the only type of fascist there is).  He does portray the military as complete fucktards though, since they are attacking huge monsters with small arms that are largely ineffective.  In the book they used the proper gear for the fight.

The part in training where Zim intenionally breaks a recruit's arm when sparring, and later throws a knife and intentionally impales a recruit's hand shows to me that Verhoeven was/is in the childish mindset that the military is bad because they're too mean, and so he crafted a strawman that directly contradicts the book, in which Zim accidentally breaks a recruit's arm when sparring and apologizes.
The difference between those scenes encapsulates my issues with the film as an adaptation.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 04:03:27 AM by Ratman_tf »
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oggsmash

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #536 on: June 03, 2021, 07:48:26 AM »
  When a director who probably feels Dirty Harry is a fascist makes a movie trying to portray a government body as fascist he fails badly IMO.   I think Paul wanted to make that message, "Fascism is BAD!!"  But he also showed a government that tells the public pretty much the whole story all the time.  That is not, IMO ever a real portrayal at all of a totalitarian fascist government (again the only type of fascist there is).  He does portray the military as complete fucktards though, since they are attacking huge monsters with small arms that are largely ineffective.  In the book they used the proper gear for the fight.

The part in training where Zim intenionally breaks a recruit's arm when sparring, and later throws a knife and intentionally impales a recruit's hand shows to me that Verhoeven was/is in the childish mindset that the military is bad because they're too mean, and so he crafted a strawman that directly contradicts the book, in which Zim accidentally breaks a recruit's arm when sparring and apologizes.
The difference between those scenes encapsulates my issues with the film as an adaptation.

  I agree, leaving out the recruit (I dont remember his name, just that he was the son of a Judo/martial arts master) who actually beat Zim in a few goes during sparring and Zim takes it with a grin, pat on the back and a willingness to go again and encourages recruits to learn from it, also shows us why writers who have NEVER BEEN IN THE MILITARY should get some sort of professional advice.   Reminds me of the high school football trope....2nd string quarterback who is almost always some artistic romantic type has to take over the team mid season and is an "outsider" and wants to give long rousing speeches (that football players wouldnt get) or create intricate plays on the field in a huddle.   That does not happen in HS, at least not in top end programs.  Football players are like athletic drones, you wind them up and they do as programmed.   There is no re writing the program in real time. 

Ghostmaker

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #537 on: June 03, 2021, 09:42:24 AM »
  When a director who probably feels Dirty Harry is a fascist makes a movie trying to portray a government body as fascist he fails badly IMO.   I think Paul wanted to make that message, "Fascism is BAD!!"  But he also showed a government that tells the public pretty much the whole story all the time.  That is not, IMO ever a real portrayal at all of a totalitarian fascist government (again the only type of fascist there is).  He does portray the military as complete fucktards though, since they are attacking huge monsters with small arms that are largely ineffective.  In the book they used the proper gear for the fight.

The part in training where Zim intenionally breaks a recruit's arm when sparring, and later throws a knife and intentionally impales a recruit's hand shows to me that Verhoeven was/is in the childish mindset that the military is bad because they're too mean, and so he crafted a strawman that directly contradicts the book, in which Zim accidentally breaks a recruit's arm when sparring and apologizes.
The difference between those scenes encapsulates my issues with the film as an adaptation.

  I agree, leaving out the recruit (I dont remember his name, just that he was the son of a Judo/martial arts master) who actually beat Zim in a few goes during sparring and Zim takes it with a grin, pat on the back and a willingness to go again and encourages recruits to learn from it, also shows us why writers who have NEVER BEEN IN THE MILITARY should get some sort of professional advice.   Reminds me of the high school football trope....2nd string quarterback who is almost always some artistic romantic type has to take over the team mid season and is an "outsider" and wants to give long rousing speeches (that football players wouldnt get) or create intricate plays on the field in a huddle.   That does not happen in HS, at least not in top end programs.  Football players are like athletic drones, you wind them up and they do as programmed.   There is no re writing the program in real time.
I've heard the bit with Shujumi (I believe that was the recruit's name you're looking for) is based on some actual training doctrines. A recruit who possesses skills at that level may be tapped to assist in training. He still has to comport himself as a recruit and possesses no actual rank, but he is allowed to work with other recruits with the blessing of the instructors. Rare, but not unheard of.

But yeah. The film depiction of Zim is like a bad parody of R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket. Verhoeven is a hack.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #538 on: June 04, 2021, 03:00:41 PM »
There's also no shortage of chuckleheads who get their opinion of the book from detractors and wikipedia summaries without actually reading it. I talked to one who thought Heinlein was an "asshole" and a "fascist" because he didn't recount SST before he died. This idiot thinks SST is a bad evil book because it supposedly promotes capital punishment.

There is one scene where a convicted rapist serial killer is executed, but it's such a minor element that you could cut it entirely and lose nothing of value.

I don't support corporal punishment or capital punishment because they're abuse. Full stop. No studies have shown them to have any efficacy and there's plenty of examples of innocent people being executed or corporal punishment increasing likelihood of antisocial behavior. I'm not going to demonize people who think it does work, because there's no shortage of hypocritical leftist fascists who claim to oppose capital punishment but openly support imprisonment, rape, and outright extrajudicial murder of people (particularly women) who don't agree with them.

If you tweaked the execution scene so that the criminal was a lesbian being executed for refusing to have sex with a transwoman, then the twitterati would be praising the book as "stunning" and brave" (and "antiracist" for featuring a Filipino protagonist). I'm not going to take advice on SST from those sick fucks.

oggsmash

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Re: The Movie Thread Reloaded
« Reply #539 on: June 04, 2021, 06:22:31 PM »
  I can buy that capital punishment as carried out in the USA is usually unfair, can not be undone, and does not deter the crimes it is there for.  It is also hideously expensive.   That said, if I caught a person who killed, or say, sexually assaulted my wife or kids, I would have no issue torturing them to death for a few days.