Starship Troopers (1997) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Science Fiction / Thriller
Sony || R - 129 minutes - $28.95 || August 5, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-07-30


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer(s): Robert A. Heinlein (book); Ed Neumeier (screenplay)
Cast: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris


Theatrical Release Date: November 7, 1997


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • FedNet PiP Track (BD Exclusive)
  • Recruitment Test (BD Exclusive)
  • Blu-Wizard (BD Exclusive)
  • Put Yourself in the Movie (BD Exclusive)
  • BD-Live (BD Exclusive)
  • Director and Cast Commentary
  • Director and Writer Commentary
  • Death from Above Documentary
  • The Making of Starship Troopers
  • The Spaceships from Starship Troopers
  • Bug Test Film: Don't Look Now
  • Know Your Foe
  • FX Comparison
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Storyboard Comparisons
  • Screen Tests
  • Scene Decontructions


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

The Only Good Bug is a Dead Bug.

If youíre looking to purchase the ultimate popcorn flick on Blu-ray, Starship Troopers would be the one to buy. In the future, mankind fights alien bugs because for some reason they want to kill us. It appears mankind is split into two different categories; people that are rich and can buy and do whatever they want, and normal folk that are essentially forced to join in the fight (and become a Citizen) if they want to do certain things like having a baby or becoming a politician.

Johnny (Casper Van Diem) and Carmen (Denise Richards) are high school sweethearts and when graduation comes, they must make a decision. For Carmen, her plan is to join up because her parents and brother both are Citizens and she wants to be one of them. Johnny, however, comes from a rich family and can do whatever he wants but decides to join anyway because he wants to be close to his girlfriend. Once enlisted, both ship off to do separate jobs (Johnny a simple fighter and Carmen as a pilot) and finally, after almost an hour, we get to what everyone wants to see - the huge alien fight scenes!

The only redeeming thing about this film is after the one hour mark nearly every other scene deals with the characters fighting huge aliens that look like beetles and praying mantis'. Each scene is sure to impress the casual viewer with gun fights, people getting their limbs ripped apart and bugs exploding every which way. This is the movie I want to watch, not that horrible love film they are continually trying to push down my throat.

The love triangle that plays out is one of the worst I have ever seen. Are we supposed to care that Johnny and Carmen are drifting apart? Or that Dizzy has a secret love for Johnny? No, no we don't. We want to see people getting mutilated by giant creatures and guns firing off in every direction possible. When we get to the eventual love scene between Johnny and Dizzy (Dina Meyer), itís comical at best.

Acting is so bad here that it really feels like a film that should have went directly to VHS back when it was released. According to the commentary I listened to, this acting and dialog was actually done on purpose. I understand the film pokes fun at politics, but was there a reason for all the incredibly cheesy dialogue we are forced to listen to and the stupid facial expressions that Casper Van Diem provides every five minutes?

The one thing that bugs me the most is the Blu-ray Photoshop cover art. Nowhere in the film does Carmen (Denise Richards) appear in the roughneck fatigue, yet on the cover her face has been plastered on someone else body. Next we have Johnny who is giving us some odd open mouthed grin and dizzy looks like she stuck a fork inside of an electrical outlet. Too bad they couldn't have carried over the artwork from the previous Starship Troopers Special Edition DVD.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All Special Features are presented in SD.

FedNet PiP Track (Profile 1.1/2.0 Players Only) - Much like any other PiP track, this plays alongside the movie and randomly inserts existing special features as well as new clips that help give you a better feel for how the movie was made. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Recruitment Test (Profile 1.1/2.0 Players Only; HD) - A bunch of multiple choice questions that you have to answer that pertain to the film. Picture wise, this looks great, but itís not something I would ever want to play again. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Blu-Wizard (Profile 1.1/2.0 Players Only) - A nifty feature that lets you choose exactly what special features you want to watch one after another. This is also available during movie playback as well. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Put Yourself in the Movie (Profile 2.0 Players Only) - Not available yet, apparently this features allows you to upload a picture of yourself (using a computer and special online account) and when you access this feature on the disc, allows you to insert your face into the movie. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

BD-Live (Profile 2.0 Players Only) - At the time of writing, I am unable to access the BD-Live features. The case claims for features are available via BD-Live, so it may mean more special features and not the standard trailers we are use to. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Commentary with Director and Cast - This track gives us the insights of most of the main cast (Casper Van Diem, Neil Patrick Harris and Dina Myer) where each actor gives their impression of the film and shares their experiences.

Commentary with Paul Verhoeven & Ed Neumeir - An engaging track which mostly discusses all the political viewpoints they put in the film and how everyone reacted to it. They do seem rather cocky about their decisions on how they changed it so much from the actual book.

Death from Above Documentary (31:57) - A very good look out how the script was adapted from the book and what changes were made. Easily the best feature of the disc and something any fan of Starship Troopers must watch.

Featurettes:
The Making of Starship Troopers (7:58) - A fluff piece that feels more like an extended trailer than anything else. A basic synopsis of the film and that's it.

The Spaceships from Starship Troopers (3:26) - A short look how each spaceship was crafted (from models and CGI).

Bug Test Film: Don't Look Now (1:13) - A poorly done CGI scene which is just to give an idea of how the film will look.

Know Your Foe (~18 Minutes) - Broken down into five different sections representing each bug (Warrior, Tanker, Hopper, Plasma and Brain) this gives you a little insight on how each scene was filmed and how some were even made into life size models. Pretty good feature!

FX Comparison - Broken down into nine different sections (Fednet Klendathu, Censored!, Carmen Pilots Fleet, Asteroid Grazing, Klendathu, Rico Rides Tanker Bug, Whiskey Outpost, Wreck of the Rodger Young, The Brain Bug) showcases each scene with and without any special effects being used. The FX (that we see in the film) plays in a small PiP box while the non-FX shot displays on most of the screen.

Deleted Scenes (~7 Minutes) - Five different delete scenes all of which appear to have been cut (save the last) because they were to sex-driven. One has Denise being felt up under her bra, the next scene she is in it. Nothing really that moves the film along any which way, but does go into briefly why Johnny is not forced to become a Citizen.

Also included are Storyboard Comparisons (~11 Minutes), Screen Tests (~2 Minutes) and Scene Deconstructions (~7 Minutes).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Starship Troopers is presented in 1.85:1 (AVC/MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. Right off the bat this transfer is miles above the previous Superbit (and normal DVD) editions I have watched before. Most close-up shots of the actors look razor sharp as do some of the locations we visit in the film. However, multiple times I noticed the image was incredibly soft or just plain bad. There is one scene (right after the crew gets tattoos) where they are in the spaceship ready to land on the planet and picture looks incredibly grainy and soft that to me it appeared it was a deleted scene that was branched back into the film without improving the PQ at all. Now, I know this is not the case, but it was just so bad I had to question it. Other than that, itís a decent transfer even if the CGI bugs now look a little too fake.

Sony has once again proved an English and French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that sounds amazing. Since the film is essential an action popcorn flick, the TrueHD tracks provides numerous rumbles and tumbles as the film runs. The last hour or so is non-stop action and your speakers will simply not give up.



.::OVERALL::.

Starship Troopers is a popcorn film at best and not a very good one. While I remember enjoying this years ago, now it just feels like some high budget direct to DVD flick. The Blu-ray version offers up an average at best picture and a decent TrueHD track, but it does not make up for how bad the film really is. If youíre a fan of the film, it would make a great purchase, especially at the low price Sony is offering it for. As for buying it in a box set with the other two direct to DVD/Blu-ray sequels... well, check back for my reviews on those.