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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> July 1998 >> Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
2 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
July 1998
IMDB Name:
Starship Troopers (1997)
Paul Verhoeven
action, sci-fi
MPAA Rating:
R for graphic sci-fi violence and gore, and for some language and nudity.

Mistaken Identity

When I first saw previews for Starship Troopers hit the screen, I thought I was seeing previews for Ender's Game, the pending translation of one of my favorite books of all time. The details matched closely, right down to the basic nature of the enemy. I'm sure I could've been more wrong, but I'd have to work to come up with how.

Promising Start

From the beginning, the movie wowed me with spiffy set design and a funny pseudo-hypertext system that substitutes for a regular news broadcast. The characters were cardboard, as expected, but that didn't make them awful. The standard teenage plots were being played out by some eye candy, and that didn't seem so bad. I thought the choice of Neil Patrick Harris as an arrogant telepath was on the strange side, but I was willing to play along as long as they used him well.

It was about when the invasions were being shown that things started to fall apart. The strategies used were laughably bad. It's impossible to imagine anybody who'd ever thought about combat being this brain-dead. Worse, we have to watch action scenes with a really mysterious enemy, but little energy is devoted to understanding that enemy. We see scientists demonstrating the amount of ammunition it takes to knock a bug down, but no explanation for how these bugs got as tough as they are.

The biggest disappointment had to be the ending. The action sequence which would be the obvious climax of a flick with so much action in the last hour is handled off-screen by a minor character. It's not explained, and it's only a minor victory in the war, but it seems to be cast as the emotional climax. Sad.

Eye Candy

As I mentioned above, the movie does have a lot to offer the eyes. The bugs are rendered in marvelous detail in the moments that they aren't moving so fast that they blur. The biggest complaint is that they blur an awful lot.


There was very little chance that I'd enjoy this movie too much. I hate bugs. I really hate bugs. I had a feeling that I would have nightmares after seeing it, and I did. The bugs are given plenty of screen time, and they're quite scary. The damage they do is graphically presented, and boy is it creepy! I congratulate those who can enjoy this kind of thing, but it's not for me!

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Copyright 1998-2002 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.