Friday, December 6, 2013

Starship Troopers

Starship troopers is a funny take on the militaristic tendencies of modern civilizations, specifically the United States.  A race of giant alien bugs hurled an asteroid at earth and destroyed Brazil in the process.  This causes the military of earth, who apparently are all white and speak english, to retaliate in the most violent and over the top way possible.  As one character says in an implied recruitment ad, "The only good bug is a dead bug."  This mindset is shared by all the soldiers as they fill the alien with a ridiculous amount of bullets.  What is interesting about the movie is that, despite taking place in the future and having spaceships with (probably) giant cannons, the foot soldiers have the tactics and strategies of revolutionary and civil war eras.  They don't take cover and aim, but instead run straight at the enemy, shoot recklessly, and then retreat.  This makes it hard to feel bad when one, or dozens, of them are impaled by the aliens.  Even though the characters have stories and emotions, their complete incompetence contributes to the viewer's lack of sympathy.  Also, based on the aliens ugly, spider like figure, and the fact that they kill by impaling people with their legs, the audience is clearly not supposed to feel bad for them.  In one scene, the group of marines are holed up in a base being overrun by hordes of aliens in what is a scenario similar to the Alamo.  This, and numerous scenes from the training camp part, enforces the notion that these soldiers are expendable.  This is something that has been discussed frequently in the last few decades, with people beginning to question the reason for and value of going to war.  Many people believe that our soldiers are expendable in the eyes of the people in power who stand to profit from wars.  This idea is central in Starship Troopers, as unquenchable bloodlust is favored over discipline and strategy.  Although the soldier's run and gun tactics might just be a way to amp up the absurdity of the movie, it at least unintentionally makes the statement that throwing people into a war without a clear strategy or reason is not a good thing.

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