Before anyone starts flogging me for even daring to dedicate an entire post to this ‘let-down’ of a sci-fi movie, my only defense is I was 13 when the movie came out. It was the age when I had yet to hold a gun in my hands, and the whole man-vs-bug theme exonerated by a little game called Starcraft was still in every geekboy’s pre-puberty-sized head.
Today I found Starship Troopers hidden in the ‘free movies’ section of Comcast‘s On Demand channel. Since I was waiting for my stomach to grumble for lunch, why not? Firstly, I couldn’t believe the last time I watched this gung-ho, kill-them-all action flick was close to 10 years ago. More importantly, I realized I understood the film better after multiple helpings, as well as its underlying themes.
Only the blind would not notice the gory violence in this film, as the bugs shred humans in all ways possible. Forget the Normandy scene in Saving Private Ryan; use this as ‘scare-ware‘ if you want to frighten out the wits of someone into going to war, or to simply demonstrate the consequences of it. And yet, as subtly brought across in the movie, sometimes war is necessary, when we have to defend that we believe to be worth our very lives. Merely primal instinct — man or bug.
But the biggest blow that struck me after two hours was how easily lives are extinguished in the fiery of war. Whole lives, built over decades, snuffed out in a split second. In the film, characters come and go; just as you’re building a relationship with them, someone gets killed and you wonder ‘what’s the point?’ Maybe that’s the whole message of the movie, and it galvanizes you to treasure those who are dearest. For a moment you’re emotionally charged with adrenaline for an intergalactic war, the next you’re plopped on your sofa in a safe world, slapped back to reality. Even if that reality is boring, at least it gives me irreplaceable time with loved ones.