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Why Starship Troopers Needs To Be Remade

Starship Troopers

This Classic Film Deserves Another Chance

The original 1997 film Starship Troopers,  starring Casper Van Dien, Dina Myers, and Denise Richards, followed Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) and friends who enlist in the military for the United Citizen Federation to stop an alien, bug-like species known as the Arachnids. It was based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein. The movie was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who is well known for using themes of satire, and this film is no exception. The movie satirizes themes such as fascism and authoritarian governance. Although the original movie wasn’t initially successful, it did gain a cult following over the years, leading to four direct-to-DVD sequels, two of which were fully CG animated. There haven’t been any reports of continuing the franchise, but despite that, this film should be remade. 

The Original Film’s Eye-Opening Themes are still Relevant Now

The original film delves into satirizing more authoritative governments with people in this world having to enlist in the military in order to become a citizen. One character in the movie, Katrina (Blake Lindsley), even says she wants to get into politics, but a person has to be a citizen in order to do that. A remake has the opportunity to delve even deeper into these concepts of why the people in this world are signing up and just how its government operates, especially since they explain in the movie it’s a United World Government. There is an irony in that although the film satirizes these ideas, the original novel was seen more as a glorification of militarism. Paul Verhoeven himself hated the novel and had someone read cliff notes of it to him as he couldn’t even finish reading it. A remake could take more aspects of the novel while at the same time borrowing elements from the original film. 

Starship Troopers’ Framing Device Still Holds Up 

The ‘97 movie was framed as a propaganda film similar to the ones in the 1940s during World War II but updated in a futuristic sense. This included news segments with people arguing with each other over what to do, PSAs encouraging people to “do your part,” even showing a kid in a military uniform proclaiming, “I’m doing my part,” and having journalists explain the war and the Arachnids, but only in vague details saying that they attacked Earth and Earth fought back. All these elements can work perfectly in a remake. A remake could poke fun at modern media pundits and propaganda media, especially with how they frame everything to fit a certain narrative. Plus, with it being framed as a propaganda film, it wouldn’t need to worry about explaining character motivations or the history of the war. It just needs to explain enough to get audiences to understand the world and what the main characters are up against. 

Starship Troopers

A Remake Could Tackle Other Issues in the World

The original Starship Troopers doesn’t explain much about the history of the Arachnids other than that they supposedly attacked Earth. Everyone in the film simply refers to them as bugs. Rico, the film’s protagonist, at one point, says, “kill them all,” after an asteroid the Arachnids launched kills everyone in his hometown, including his parents. There is also a scene early on showing a group of children stomping a bunch of bugs with their teacher cheering them on. The bugs weren’t even Arachnids; they were just normal bugs that didn’t appear to be harming anyone. The film has an underlying message about xenophobia that a remake could really highlight. Maybe even delve into colonization. It can serve as a unique way to reflect the world’s history of these acts, similar to how the recent Barbie (2023) film touched upon patriarchy. 

Going forward

In the end, there are several aspects a remake could have. A franchise, a standalone film, or maybe even a TV series that goes more in-depth with these concepts than a film could. There are so many options it can explore so long it has the right people attached. Whatever happens, it’ll sure be interesting to see.

Stream the original Starship Troopers on Netflix today. 

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers (1997) Official Sony Pictures Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.