HTF UMD REVIEW: Starship Troopers

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by David Galindo, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    [c]Starship Troopers (UMD)
    Region 1 • R • Subtitles: English, Spanish • Available Now

    [​IMG][/c]

    Sony Home Entertainment’s quality of UMDs have been rather bad up to this point. Usually the movies have no chapter selection, poor presentation, and an overall sense of half-assery.

    Starship Troopers totally changes that. Not only does this UMD have a slick presentation and a chapter selection, but the great audio and video with a $15 price sets the standard for all future UMDs, no matter which studio.


    Thoughts on the Movie

    Way back in 1997 when this movie was first released, I remember going as a 12 year old boy with my parents, not knowing this movie was a hard R (neither did they). I went in the theater a boy, and came out... well, a scared boy who was having trouble comprehending what he just saw. There’s lots and lots of gore in the movie, not to mention some gratuitous nudity, and it wouldn’t be for another couple years until I finally appreciated the film for what it was. Not that this is a masterpiece of cinema, but it is a really fun sci-fi film with some VERY interesting themes underneath the plot. More on that in a sec.

    This is a Verhoeven film, so you can expect lots of gore and some nudity of course, but that’s a given. This film has a certain charm that I cannot describe, one that allows for repeated viewing of the movie. Its set in the undetermined future and the Mobile Infantry prepare to do battle with the Klendathu planet in retaliation for sending meteors to Earth.

    Everyone (especially Michael Ironside) turns in a really great performance except for Denise Richards, who plays Carmen Ibanez. She adds absolutely nothing to the movie, and all she really does is turn around and smile at the camera before saying a few lines. I never found her convincing at all. Hell, Amy Smart only has a few scenes and is more convincing than Denise. But, it doesn’t really slow down the movie.

    I think that Total Recall (another Verhoeven film) is a bit better than Starship Troopers, only because it has a full story with a double sided ending, but Troopers has its own charm, and I love watching it.

    Now, if you’ve seen the movie, I want to point out some interesting facts taken from Verhoeven and the script writer that might change your perception of the movie (unless you already know them, of course). Those who haven’t seen the movie should move on to Video Quality.

    This future that is presented to us is the future in a world where Hitler won World War 2. Now think about that for second. Fascism has totally taken over the world. Hitler’s ideas and dreams are fully realized and lead to this timeline in the movie. Remember, these are not my assumptions but actual concepts and emotions by Verhoeven and the screenwriter. There is no actual war with the Bugs, but rather that is created to drive a society with purpose.

    There are a few instances where this is confirmed visually and with some examples of behavior. The Gestapo-like uniform the scientists wear towards the end of the film is one of the most apparent. Hitler’s idea of a human race with nothing but beautiful people is also apparent in the casting, something Verhoeven made sure of. The live executions and punishments are another, such as when the father of Rico suggests he rather, “take ten lashes in Town Square than to see you join the infantry.” If you listen closely during the co-op shower scene (which is very very very hard to do, I know), many joined to get a license to have kids, earn citizenship, etc. When you piece it all together like this, you’ll be amazed at the new perspective you can watch this movie.


    Video Quality

    No surprise here: the video quality is spot on. The black levels are not perfect, unlike Spider-man 2, but the sharpness of the film is fantastic. It’s presented in the original 1.85 ratio, which fills up the PSP screen quite well. The colors are a bit dull, but considering the landscape of canyons and dust, this is not a surprise. The explosions have much more punch, so I assume that it’s more cinematography at work rather than the transfer.

    There is a bit of film blemishes here and there, with very small spots that appear on the screen for a split second, but this was on the original DVD as well. Fine transfer overall.

    4/5
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    Audio Quality

    This is one loud movie. Thankfully, the UMD delivers with solid audio all around. While I would have liked the highs and bass to be a bit more distinct, everything sounds great. The voices are easy to hear, the explosions sound great, and the guns sound fine. There is a bit of directional audio here and there, but nothing that made me jump out of my seat.

    A Dolby Headphone option would have been a home run, but this track is still great.

    4/5
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    Extras

    Here is where I was surprised. Finally, Sony comes through with a chapter selection. Not only that, but the menu matches the movie perfectly, and I was surprised at the overall slickness of this UMD. We also get a trailer for Spider-Man 2 and Resident Evil, but I wish Sony would put trailers to some of their less known releases, such as 7 Seconds.

    I always thought Sony was extremely lazy when it came to UMDs. Sure they were $15, but no chapter selection would blow the deal for me. But now Sony has finally set the standard for UMD- a great menu, chapter selection, the works for $15. There are no extras, and it’s sad that we don’t get a commentary since there is only one audio track on the UMD, but I can overlook that.

    2.5/5
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    Overall…

    I am VERY happy with this UMD. This is exactly what UMDs should be at this price, and I am actually looking forward now to future Sony Studio UMD releases. Looks like the excuse of “no chapter selection because we had to rush them to PSP” was actually true. I am amazed.

    Sony has finally delivered.

    4/5
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  2. Doug Graham

    Doug Graham Extra

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    Very nice review. I appreciate what you're doing here, and I agree on all counts. I just got some Headbanger Earsubs and the movie sounded awesome on them. In fact, I had to turn it way down.

    So you were 12 when this came out? I was too. One of my first hard R's as well. This and Pulp Fiction. No wonder I'm so warped.

    Forgot to mention: it's scary how relevant the social commentary in this film is. It's almost prophetic.
     
  3. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I also was going to mention the Parallels to our curent times is Uncanny. This film has definately aged well I consider it a big brother to Robocop.
     
  4. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    I really need to watch Robocop. And yeah, one of my first Rs, go figure. [​IMG]
     

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