Did Starship Troopers accurately predict the modern world?
By Joe Harker
Good old Starship Troopers. It's a classic satire that also helps demonstrate why you shouldn't expect a director who lived under Nazi occupation to faithfully adapt a book with fascist themes.
Director Paul Verhoeven only got a few chapters in before deciding he didn't like it, so he decided to make it a satire instead. Some scenes are copies of Nazi progaganda films while the costumes and dialogue are based off Nazi uniforms and propaganda slogans. It remains an excellent and entertaining satire on fascism, but few thought that 20 years later it might have been considered accurate.
That's what some believe, with Interview Magazine speaking to Verhoeven and finding out that the director believes the United States is closer to it than many believe. He said: "I would say in a general way, there is the fear at the moment and some clarity - at least, there are indications in the direction - that democracy in the United States is very much distressed.
"There is a feeling that the Republican Party is moving in a direction you would say is anti-democratic. If you want to be more sharp, you could even say a fascist direction."
Many critics did not initially pick up on the satirical nature of the film, with it being poorly reviewed by most. However, time has turned it into a genuine cult classic and now people are praising it for being ahead of its time. It takes the "us vs them" tenet of fascism and makes "them" a race of bugs trying to wipe out humanity, while quietly suggesting that the entire war was actually our fault and that the humans are the ones who started the conflict. The war never seems to have an end, instead fueling a military industrial complex and creating older generations with horrific injuries who believe it was all worth it despite evidence to the contrary.
The original film ended up creating a Nazi like government and portraying it through the eyes of high school teenagers just about to graduate. They all join up with the military as a person cannot be a citizen without having served and are sent across the galaxy to fight a species that is most likely just defending its own territory and only attacked the humans in retaliation. Verhoeven says the trick was getting the audience on the side of the characters slowly sliding into fascism. He said: "We wanted to tell a really wonderful adventure story about these young boys and girls fighting bugs.
"But still we wanted to show that these people are really in their heart, without knowing it, on their way to fascism."
There is a remake in the works that is closer to the original novel, where the intention is to create a more patriotic movie rather than mocking and poking holes in the concept. Verhoeven believes the remake will be much more suitable to Trump's Presidency, decrying it as a "fascistic and militaristic" take just like the original novel. He is no fan of the remake, but believes that the modern world is closer to the original novel than many would think.