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What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like? 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
Having just suffered through the CG movie "Starship Troopers: Invasion," I found myself asking, What would a good movie of ST contain? How would you describe a successful rendition?

Let's stay away from mundane physical artifacts, please. People commented on the first movie that they were disappointed that it didn't have power suits. Invasion was made by a Japanese director who was obsessed with power suits. If that's all that ST means to you, then that movie should be perfect. Start from how the movie should make you feel.


Sun May 19, 2013 6:33 am
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
I don't think ST is filmable as is. Period. It would have to begin with a storyboarding session in which the genuine, core story is ferreted out of the matrix of gadgets (suits), BEMs and 1957 political outrage. The novel has to be be recognized as an unfinished work whose core story sits at a tangent to all the superficial elements.

Rebuild the framework, then hang the clever window dressing over it. Yes, that's all very sweeping and general, but I think any other approach, trying to take the as-is material too seriously and respectfully, is doomed from the first step.

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Sun May 19, 2013 7:39 am
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
Well that's what I'm getting at. What is the "genuine, core story?"


Sun May 19, 2013 8:25 am
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
I want to know, too, what the core story is. Other than the chapter epigraphs, all we have to go on when reading ST is Johnnie the narrator, and he himself is paper-thin by comparison to (for example) Kip Russell, the narrator of Heinlein's previous novel. The story he tells boils down to: "Here are the reasons I learned for wanting to defend humanity in case of alien attack, rebelling against Dad in the process. Whoops, they attacked Earth. Hi, Dad! Oh, and by the way, we have a scientifically verifiable theory of morals!" Is there indeed an unspoken story behind the narration?


Sun May 19, 2013 10:22 am
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
Yes, I think the core story of ST is actually missing from the novel. It's the sandcast form that shapes the rest of the tale, but it's not there.


Sun May 19, 2013 5:02 pm
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
I read it as a paen to military service. Not glorifying war, but the people who put themselves in harm's way for the rest of us. Heinlein was smitten with tales of heroism. Add in the best shot at giving a proof of why that service is the highest form of sacrifice and consciousness and you've got a start.

But not enough, because - absent the scientific argument - numerous movies have trod the same path of lauding heroism. There's more there; I think it's a frosting of Stevenson's "Gladly do I live and gladly do I die, and I lay me down with a will," which was another favorite trope of Heinlein's. And it saved him the trouble of quoting John 15:13.

Jim, I have no idea what sort of Zen argument you're making. A story has a story. It's like you're arguing that the nutrition content of some dish is defined by what ingredients were left out.


Sun May 19, 2013 5:14 pm
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
PeterScott wrote:
It's like you're arguing that the nutrition content of some dish is defined by what ingredients were left out.

Literary homeopathy?

The core story for me included the pros and cons of hives vs. individuals (allegory of the Cold War), duty and honor and one way a society could reflect its esteem for those (grant voting citizenship only to those who displayed those traits), and Heinlein's primary vehicle for exploring the details of military combat between armies/navies (an important focus of his life for years, though he was never actually *in* combat). The hand-to-hand subset of combat was explored to great effect in Glory Road, the book that inspired me to join the fencing team at Rice.

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Mon May 20, 2013 8:12 am
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
JamesGifford wrote:
I don't think ST is filmable as is. Period. It would have to begin with a storyboarding session in which the genuine, core story is ferreted out of the matrix of gadgets (suits), BEMs and 1957 political outrage. The novel has to be be recognized as an unfinished work whose core story sits at a tangent to all the superficial elements.

Rebuild the framework, then hang the clever window dressing over it. Yes, that's all very sweeping and general, but I think any other approach, trying to take the as-is material too seriously and respectfully, is doomed from the first step.


I have to agree wholeheartedly with Jim's take above. ST is one of my favorite RAH books [a category inversely proportional to the time since last reread period ;) ] but I have to admit that as written it is really unfilmable. Therefore, starting with Veorhoaxer's version I have successfully avoided seeing any ST film effort.

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Mon May 20, 2013 2:30 pm
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
That's not far from what I mean, Peter. ST is a story where the Christmas tree existed only in Heinlein's mind, and what was published was all the ornaments and trimming. You'd need to reconstruct the tree before anything meaningful could be done with all the shiny parts.


Mon May 20, 2013 3:17 pm
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Post Re: What would a real Starship Troopers movie look like?
So, in the spirit of enlightening discussion, what is the Christmas tree?


Mon May 20, 2013 6:06 pm
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