Movie Review – Starship Troopers: Invasion

I have just completed, yet another, popcorn munching movie – Starship Troopers: Invasion! Something about the Starship Troopers franchise has always excited me. Perhaps because the number of movies involving archetypal characters, interstellar warfare, spaceships, soldiers and alien bug warfare is fairly limited.

At least until Ender’s Game launches in November 2013 …

Official Movie Summary: A distant Federation outpost Fort Casey comes under attack by bugs. The team on the fast attack ship Alesia is assigned to help the Starship John A. Warden stationed in Fort Casey evacuate along with the survivors and bring military intelligence safely back to Earth. Carl Jenkins, now ministry of Paranormal Warfare, takes the starship on a clandestine mission before its rendezvous with the Alesia and goes missing in the nebula. Now, the battle-hardened troopers are charged with a rescue mission that may lead to a much more sinister consequence than they ever could have imagined….

The original movie was loosely based upon the book by Robert A Heinlein lifting various characters, settings, scenes and details – but leaving all of the political messaging and thought-provoking moments behind. Since then the series has gone off to release 2 additional live action movies and 36 CGI animated TV episodes. You know that the content here has nothing to do with the books or even book themes and is strictly for fun in an ever-evolving universe. Starship Troopers: Invasion is the 4th movie in the “live action” storyline despite being full CGI. The visuals are all top notch and have the distinct Japanese 3D look-and-feel to them. The voice acting is good but the visual sync-up is off so it becomes very jarring and distracting throughout the viewing.

I enjoy archetypal characters in movies but feel that this one took this idea way to far. As stated on the official tumblr, the movie features “…a variety of characters and story elements that will harken back to the archetypes ubiquitous in your favorite Sci-Fi, War, and Action/Adventure movies. We have an old loyal lieutenant, a quiet gladiator-type hero, a not-so-smart but straight-forward meathead, a creepy unlucky guy, a grim explosives expert, a Zen religious master, a handsome womanizer, a psychic horny scout, a hot girl sniper, a tough beautiful single mom, and so on…” From the description alone you know you’re headed into bad territory if they feel that this movie is like a military version of “Big Brother” or “Jersey Shore” – putting characters in complex situations doesn’t usually create complex and interesting characters. It comes off as ill-considered and you find yourself having no interest in any of the characters in the movie. Thankfully they bring in some of the known characters from the live action films to at least give you a few people to be interested in and care about. And since this is Starship Troopers, everyone is fair game and could be killed off at anytime.

I do wish they didn’t use such fake, hyper sexualized women in the film. They stand out clearly as fan service and the nudity was pointless. The believability of the characters is also non-existent.

The action during the combat sequences and the detail on their hardware is awesome. The sound and the visuals during these moments – which comprise the majority of the movie – are worth watching. Just not for as long and as often as they come. Even the live action movies knew that the whole film didn’t need to be action but interspersed with character building. When there is no character building done – there is no tension – so all the battle sequences feel gratuitous.

Lastly, the movie does move some of the broader storyline forward – albeit at a glacial pace. As is trademark for the series, it sets itself up for additional storytelling opportunities. The war with the bugs still isn’t over…

If you want to test your blu-ray and have a great kickback night – this is a worthwhile flick for you.

Would You Like To Know More?

There are 3 live action movies and Invasion represents the 4th movie in this “series”.
Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers 2
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Starship Troopers: Invasion

The are also multiple CGI movies in the Starship Troopers: Roughnecks Chronicles:
Pluto Campaign
Hydora Campaign
Tophet Campaign
Tesca Campaign
Zephyr Campaign
Klendathu Campaign
Trackers
Homefront Campaign

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