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STARSHIP TROOPERS

As far as giant bug movies go, I have to admit I really liked STARSHIP TROOPERS ($30). With STARSHIP TROOPERS, director Paul Verhoeven has created a science fiction movie in the style of an old World War II movie, right down to the propaganda messages of "Why We Fight." Some individuals had problems with the plot element concerning the Earth being under fascist control in the future; this was obviously intended as satire for those who missed the point. However, if you did get the point and were still put off, remember what Alfred Hitchcock used to say, "it’s only a movie." So, grab a bucket of popcorn and switch your brain to neutral. The story is set in the distant future after mankind has mastered space travel and has begun colonizing other worlds.

One Earth colony is founded on a world inside the perimeter of space controlled by giant insects. The insects see the human incursion as an invasion. They in turn, launch an asteroid at the Earth that devastates Buenos Aires. The asteroid attack touches off a full-scale war between mankind and the insects. The central characters of the film are several young friends who enlist in various branches of the armed services before the war and then become swept up in the fighting. The cast of STARSHIP TROOPERS features a number of fresh faces and some seasoned pros. Casper Van Dien is the film’s hero, Johnny Rico. Denise Richards is Carmen Ibanez, the girl Johnny hopes to impress by joining the service. Dina Meyer is Dizzy Flores- the third side of the film’s love triangle. Dizzy follows Johnny into the infantry where she ends up fighting at his side. Neil Patrick Harris sheds his Doogie Howser image with his cold portrayal of Carl Jenkins, whose special gifts place him in military intelligence. Michael Ironside portrays Jean Rasczak, Johnny and Dizzy’s former teacher who ends up being their commanding officer after the war breaks out. Jake Busey, Clancy Brown, Seth Gilliam, Patrick Muldoon, Rue McClanahan and Marshall Bell are also featured in the cast. The film’s other set of stars are the computer generated giant insects that help define the cutting edge of the term state-of-the-art. The massive insect attacks depicted in the film are never short of amazing, making this a must own DVD for special effects fanatics.

Columbia TriStar Home Video offers STARSHIP TROOPERS on DVD in a phenomenal looking Letterboxed transfer that features the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. STARSHIP TROOPERS is presented in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and appears properly balanced. The image on the DVD reproduces at demonstration quality. Everything appears razor sharp and finely detailed. Colors have excellent saturation, without even a hint of color noise or distortion. Digital compression artifacts were virtually absent from the DVD. The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is an absolute blast. The mix uses the discrete capabilities of the format to place the view right in the middle of the action during the battle sequences. Explosions and weapon’s fire come from all sides. Bass reproduction was also excellent on the track. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround track, plus a French language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus give one access to the film’s extensive supplements, most of which are contained on the DVD’s second side. The chief supplement is an audio commentary with director Paul Verhoeven and writer Edward Neumeier. If you liked the movie, then the commentary is absolutely worth listening to, since it explains many of the story choices in the film and why or why not they turned out to be popular with audiences and critics. Other supplements include deleted scenes, a theatrical trailer, a documentary, behind-the-scenes footage and screen tests.

STARSHIP TROOPERS is a highly entertaining science fiction outing that boasts incredible special effects. The DVD looks so good it will blow you away. Absolutely recommended.

 

 
STARSHIP TROOPERS 


Starship Troopers

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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