Starship Troopers -- book vs movie

The movie 'Starship Troopers' was hilarious IMO -- social satire and action film. It had the humor of looking at itself not as a flat 'space combat' film, but as more of a genre-challenging film.

The standout fact for me was that the humans are just as vicious as the bugs in this film ... if not more. And the director pointed this out by the Nazi uniforms and the sheer disregard for alien life.

Now that I've read the book, I give HUGE PROPS to the screenwriters on this film! 90% of the film they came up with except for a few names, humans fighting space bugs, and the concept of a space army.

Now to Heinlein's book 'Starship Troopers', which I just finished today.

a) premise is intriguing -- what would it be like to be space 'Militia'
b) story has a few good language gimmicks, like "on the bounce" and "cap troopers" which I had no idea what he meant until 1/2 way thru -- as intended
c) horrible characterization
d) some military 'worship' and exhoneration of the virtues of being beaten into order and hierarchy
e) all before computers, so the scifi tech is all the more old-school (but reminds me of what Bush wants the military to be like)
f) father /son relationship is ... CRAZY

Anyway, that's about it. I can't recommend this book, because there's not much in it other than a framework for something that could be a good story.

For a sci-fi junkie like myself, Starship Troopers the book doesn't cut it at all. The movie, on the other hand, is a solid viewing for any sci fi fan!


Esdras said...

Really are you joking?

Andy said...

You do realize the book won a HUGO award, right?

I can't believe you actually read the book if that's all there is to your review.

R·E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R·E said...

Esdras & Andy, no, I'm not joking. Yes I read the book (last year, actually -- 2008).

And that's great it won a Hugo award. No doubt, for it's time, it was a visionary piece.

I don't often agree with critics, nor does that bother me much -- except when I see a movie or read a book that has great reviews & I disagree (like Pulp Fiction).

For me, the campy cheesy qualities of the feature film (and it's anti-military undertone & tongue-in-cheek shots at fascist societies) formed a stronger, more powerful piece than the book.

Glad there is not complete agreement on my viewpoint. :)

James said...

You are high. Starship troopers the book was incredible. In case you didn't notice, it wasn't about the war at all. The book was about the society of the Terran Federation. It was Robert Heinlein's vehicle to describe how he believed society should be run. The war was just an item used to exemplify how efficient a well organized military can be, especially when it is spread to government. I really can't see how you can even stomach the movie after reading such a masterpiece. I may disagree with a lot of Robert Heinlein's beliefs about society but he sure had me questioning my own. For me, there is nothing better a book can do but make me question myself.

Don Ford said...

Heinlein's purpose was not to promote his ideal of the perfect society. He painted a plausible society as background for the book. He had a contract to write a story targeted at the young adult market. He wrote a coming of age story in a futuristic setting that that explored universal truths which would have been familiar in the time of the Romans. Five decades later the book is still on the reading list of the US Navel Academy and USMC

Hooshjames said...

Are you serious??? Are you actually some 16 year old kid from San Jose who's dad still wears a beard and has solar panels on the roof? What in the world is a military-hating feminist doing even pretending to have read Starship Troopers? The movie "adaptation" was the most bizarre, off-balance, lost-in-the-sauce piece of crap I've ever had to sit through. And you dismiss the novel's HUGO award because it's and older novel??? Have you ever written a real critique??? Good God!

R·E said...

@ Hooshjames -- nope on all counts. Movie had artistic merit, sorry you didn't see that. Very different from book, no doubt.
What's a military-hating feminist doing reviewing a book? I didn't know there were rules about that, but I'm not am military hater. I don't like the abuse of the military, which is a relevant topic.
Thanks for your comment.