Starship Troopers- Triple DVD Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-05-08, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Starship Troopers- Triple DVD Review

"Would you like to know more?"


Here's a triple shot- plus one. All three movies, plus Roughnecks.

YouTube - Starship Troopers - Trailer




Actors: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris
Directors: Paul Verhoeven
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: R
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
Run Time: 130 minutes



Starship Troopers is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. The Screenplay was written by Edward Neumeier, who also wrote the screenplay for Robocop. It could be argued that Neumeier paved the way for our modern day reality TV shows that seem to thrive today. The tongue in cheek segways scattered throughout the movie smack 'reality TV'.

It is really tough to deny that Starship Troopers borrowed heavily from Space Above and Beyond, a TV series that ended a year earlier. Whereas Space went for the drama and character development, Starship Troopers went for the action and camp.

The first movie starts out with a quartet of friends in highschool. The battle with the 'bugs' has been going on for awhile, and earth has turned into a fascist type of life, where enlisting guarantees citizenship, as well as the privilege to vote, among other things.
YouTube - Starship Troopers Rico and Carmen

Casper Van Dien plays Johnny Rico, star sports Capitan and somewhat a spoiled rich kid. He wants to enlist against the wishes of his parents so he can 'earn his way' before his parents give him a cushy life. Denise Richards plays Carmen Ibanez, Rico's upper-class girlfriend and also a bit of a brat in her first starring role. Rounding out the quartet is Dina Meyer as Dizzy Flores, and Neil Patrick Harris as Colonel Carl Jenkins.


They swear a pack to always remain friends, and then after graduation the four go their own ways, each enlisting in different branches of the service. Like any other movie of this kind, we know what's coming. After an accident in boot camp that ends in the lives of fellow recruits, Rico decides to resign in disgrace when the 'bugs' escalate things and attack Earth. Rico's home town is destroyed and he gets a reprieve and re-enters the service.

The movie often feels like a live action video game, but the FX are actually quite good for such a campy movie. Don't be drawn in by the light hearted tone, this definitely isn't one for the kids to watch. Blood, guts, violence, and casual nudity run rampant throughout. Still, for adults it is a fun romp and never gets too heavy.


Once the battle gets to the bugs, it's non-stop action. If it weren't for the campy 'TV' spots, it could be viewed as grotesque and violence for the sake of violence. Rico proves himself in combat, and in the end gets the girl, although not the one he originally set out after.

Much of the plot is predictable, but it is still fun to watch. The video is very clear and sharp, and the Bluray version should prove to be even more of a treat. The FX look good and even after ten years they hold their own.

Sounds is adequate, nothing better or worse than other movies of this genre. The surround channels are active, but not overly so. Overall the bass an surround channels weren't anything to write home about.

Like any franchise, the first is usually the best and that is no exception here.

What makes Starship Troopers worth watching is the satire and the smart way they handle it. It is part spoof, and part a message of current politics.





Clancy Brown (best known as the Kurgan from Highlander) turns is a scene chewing performance as Career Sergeant Zim, Drill Instructor for the new recruits. Also among the list of more famous cast members is Michael Ironside as the crusty but tough as nails Lieutenant Jean Rasczak. Both men eat scenes like candy, and add a bit of class to the camp.





The special features are fair and have some good sequences showing how they created a scene from story board to live action, and then the CGI and final shot.



_________________________________________________

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
Our war's going better than ever, but we need heroes! We need you!
Service Guarantees citizenship...
Would you like to know more?



Actors: Billy Brown (II), Richard Burgi, Kelly Carlson, Cy Carter, Tim Conlon
Directors: Phil Tippett
Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
Language: English, French
Subtitles: English, French
Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
PLEASE NOTE: Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players.
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: R
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
Run Time: 92 minutes

YouTube - Starship Troopers - Shed No Tears For Me


What can I say? This is just a bad movie. Although the first movie in this franchise was full of camp and clichés, it was done intentionally that way and done for fun. Hero of the Federation simply tries too hard and just plain isn't fun.

Before I get into the plot and transfer, one thing that really makes this disc odd is in the special features they state this was one of the first movies to actually be shot totally in HD but for some strange reason they actually 'dumbed' it down and decreased the final resolution! Normally I'd say hopefully they kept a master copy in HD but since this is a horrid flick as is I wouldn't even think about buying it in HD. Actually, I doubt I'd even want it if it was free and in HD! I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about this one.

Even the music is corny. The worse thing about the storyline is it is way to predictable. Here's probably the biggest tip off of what to expect... this one was a direct to video release, nuff said?

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation marks the directorial debut of Phil Tippett, a visual effects wiz responsible for films like Jurassic Park and the first three Star Wars films. With credentials like that even being a direct to video release had some promise.

The cast is comprised of primarily unknowns, and even the couple of faces that look familiar are still actors I doubt anyone could recall by name.





Ed Lauter, now with a shaved head and looking like a stunt double for Captain Piccard was the closest to a familiar face. (Yes he actually was in an episode of STNG and no not as Piccard's long lost also follicly challenged brother!) The acting is forced and reminiscent of a bad network TV movie trying to feel like a big screen flick. They try to do character development but the first 52 minutes of this 92 minute movie is pretty much battling the bugs. That’s when the ‘plot’ starts to unfold, but unfortunately the director was so heavy handed with his foreshadowing that most will already figure out what is going to happen. At no time did I feel any connection with any of the characters, nor did it bother me when they meet their predictable demise.

The film is clearly shot on a sound stage, as the black backgrounds and constant use of extreme close-ups are obvious attempts to hide the lack of scope.


The Video Presention is in 1.78:1 anamorphic wide screen, Starship Troopers 2 is a tough movie to grade because there are video effects everywhere making it hard to get a clear impression of the movie. The movie was shot with a high definition camera but many sequences, particularly outside scenes are full of grain and noise because they actually lowered the resolution for the final cut. However during a close up shot of an actor it looks pretty good. This is especially true in the final five minutes, which take place on Earth and the picture is pristine. In the good scenes, mostly shot indoors, the images are very crisp and clear. Color levels are good and skin tones are accurate. The blood isn't too good but that's due to poor effects and down grading the resolution.

Audio- If there is any redeeming quality of this disc then it would be the sound. You get an English DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and French Dolby 2.0. The DTS track is really something. It's loud and aggressive, often overly aggressive. There is some very good dynamic range, and lots of surround effects. One thing I noticed was even during the heavy battle scenes where there were non-stop explosions and during machine gun fire the dialog was still very easy to hear and understand.

The Dolby track is adequate, but not quite as strong as the DTS sound, which is okay but still nothing spectacular.

Extras and the commentary track with producer Jon Davidson, writer Ed Numeier, and director Phil Tippett is interesting for those that like to listen to commentaries. Tippett seems to put all the blame on the studio, suggesting they constantly undercut him in mid-production. At least Davidson was honest and admitted they thought they had a good idea but it didn't turn out they way they envisioned it.

There is a 30-minute making of feature- Inside The Federation, that's actually quite good, and it's in widescreen to boot. It features interviews with Tippett who complains some more and begins to sound like Han Solo from the original Star Wars movies that he worked on (The “It’s not my fault!” line comes to mind).

The movie only took 26 days to shoot, which is an aggressive schedule in anyone’s book. The feature discusses how the FX were accomplished on such a tight budget and short schedule, and that is kind of interesting to watch.

Probably the most interesting part of the featurette is the ‘Green Screen to Silver Screen’ which shows three effect shots from concept to final film version. I did find this part very interesting.

I rate this at

_________________________________________________

StarShip Trooper's 3: Marauder
“He’s dark, he’s handsome, he’s psychic! He’s General Omar Anoke, the Sky Marshal everyone loves!

Would you like to know more?”
(Did I mention he signs too?!)


YouTube - Good Time To Die
Folks, I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to! This music video is actually in the movie if you can believe that!

Actors: Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Marnette Patterson, Cokey Falkow, Boris Kodjoe
Directors: Edward Neumeier
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
PLEASE NOTE: Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click here.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating:
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
Run Time: 105 minutes


YouTube - Starship Troopers 3: Marauder Trailer

Before I get into this review I have to say that I don’t have any issues with sequels, even bad ones, but SHT3 went too far in my opinion. I’m not talking about the blood and gore, and not even about the gratuitous nudity, or the parody and references to our current war and politics… Where this movie is extremely offensive is the portrayal of Christians. If they had some sort of message, it was completely lost in the way they depict religion and people with a Christian belief.

I bought this because I have the other movies and it completed the set, but it was a blind buy and I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew about this overtone. It was totally unnecessary and as I mentioned many will find it extremely offensive.


Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Yes the bugs are back, and so is Johnny Rico. Casper Van Dien reprises his role after two other failed attempts to make a franchise out of the quirky but fun and amusing original StarShip Troopers.


Col. Johnny Rico returns, this time in command of a small base on a farm planet that gets attacked by the bugs. With him this time around is Jolene Blalock, best known as everyone’s favorite Vulcan supermodel from Star Trek: Enterprise.

After being accused of being a traitor, Rico is covertly assigned to lead his team on a secret mission to rescue a small crew of troopers stranded on the remote planet of OM-1.



The bugs are back, and as promised they are the same old evil creatures, but with some twists, and not necessarily for the good as far as entertainment. This time around the Troopers will have to battle the biggest brain bug of them all. Natch since this is after all a sequel and all sequels must out do the previous movies.

This story is set many years into the future where all of mankind is at war with bugs, Johnny Rico has fought them before, and he has been called in again.
This time he is to head a mission called Marauder, which will use the latest bug zapping technology to rescue Sky Marshall Anoke (Stephen Hogan) and Captain Lola Beck (Jolene Blalock) among others from a shipwreck on OM-1.

The Federation has been cracking down on terrorists who are the anti-war and religious protesters. If this isn’t a parody and message about our current war situation I don’t know what would be. Earth has become a fascist run society where the military rules and has the last say in everything. People are arrested and hung for their crimes, which are nothing more than protesting in what we would consider Freedom of Speech, and Johnny almost shares their fate when he tries to break up a bar room brawl and ends up ‘bruising’ the ego of his long time friend and now General, Dix Hauser, and is thus called a ‘traitor’.

I have to mention that in all the movies there has been someone named Dax or Dix, and is Hauser a coy inside joke to Doogie Howser’s Neil Patrick Harris who played Col. Carl Jenkins in the first movie?
Like the other movies, there is more than its share of combat action, campy reality TV, nudity, and yes, blood guts and gore.

Filmed in South Africa, the planet scenes are very good, evoking a strange place which is ruled by arachnids, with gorgeous sand dunes and towering mountains in the background.
The sound in some parts of this film is over the top and can even be distracting. Inside the metal bunkers, voices reverberate to give authenticity to the large metallic surroundings. It’s a cool effect, except you can’t understand a word anyone is saying.

Other than an often weak center channel and dialog, the rest of the surround and bass is fine.





Jolene Blalock looks terrific, and is certainly great eye candy although she has a bit too much collagen in the lips… but she tries to make the most of her role, and gives a decent performance in a movie that’s just another bad sequel.

Also, the Marauder team was fun to watch, and I wished there was more of their mission and less of the big bug brain story, and they definitely could have left out all of the religious negative commentary. I 'think' they actually had a religious message, but honestly I'm not quite sure what.

There are tons of special features included, but sometimes I have to wonder and ask if adding special features really makes up for a bad flick?









Starship Troopers 3 is presented on single disc in widescreen format. The playing time is 106 minutes and it is available with English and French audio, English, French and Spanish subtitles. Special Features include 2 commentaries, one by the film maker, the other with director/writer Ed Neumeier and cast members Casper Van Dien and Jolene Blalock.

There is a featurette called Evolution: The Bugs of Starship Troopers 3 Marauder, another featurette Enlist Marauder’s Mobile Infantry, and the extended version of the music video “It’s a Good Day to Die” with singing Sky Marshall Anoke. This DVD is rated R for language, violence and some nudity.

This is by no means a big budget flick like the first one was but it definitely had more cash behind it then the 2nd one had.

I rate this at , it’s better than SHT2 but doesn’t come even close to capturing the fun and uniqueness of the first movie.

Overall here is my assessment:

The first movie is unique, different and fun. If you liked Robocop you'll like the first movie. If not, skip them all. As far as the rest, if you like SciFi at its best, spend the $20 for the complete series of Space Above and Beyond, after all these movies are nothing more than just a parody of that excellent TV series and for big screen productions (well the first at least) Space is far better across the board.

This was a long review, so Rough Necks will be in another post.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"If all else fails, spin the cat."- Grzboken
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-06-08, 01:24 AM
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Re: Starship Troopers- Triple Review

"It is really tough to deny that Starship Troopers borrowed heavily from Space Above and Beyond, a TV series that ended a year earlier."

Not really, cause it sure didn't borrow much from Heinlein's Starship Troopers , well, I suppose it did but not really anything of any substance. It's been many, many years since I read the book but when I first saw this film I was amazed,...or maybe aghast. This is one film I'd really love to see remade.

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-06-08, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Starship Troopers- Triple Review

I have to admit I didn't read the book, but I know what you mean about how the movies are often nothing like the novel. Look at I Robot, I did read that book and the movie was nothing like it.

Starship Troopers, the first one anyway was at least a fun romp. Although I woudn't personally say it's the best Sci-Fi flick I have seen, but it wasn't the worse either. The sequels though really went down hill, and were even offensive.

Sometimes a review is positive and generates an interest in others to want to watch the movie. In this case I'd recommend skipping the sequels.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

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post #4 of 6 Old 10-06-08, 02:49 PM
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Re: Starship Troopers- Triple Review

I knew there was some reason I never rented and watched parts 2 and 3.

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post #5 of 6 Old 10-06-08, 04:16 PM
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Re: Starship Troopers- Triple Review

Is been a long time that I watched the movie ...I don't recall if I ever watched part 2 and 3 too

Is not the greatest Sci-Fi movie ... but I like it

Could it be possible that we'll have to enlist too???
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-06-08, 06:21 PM
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Re: Starship Troopers- Triple Review

And I agree, it was not that bad of a popcorn flick. I did not watch the sequels either but, I did enjoy your review.

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