Starship Troopers (1997)
129 minutes, USA
Somewhere in a far sci-fi future, the earth is in war with Arachnids, giant insect-like aliens with the nickname Bugs. From their planet Klendathu the Bugs attack the earth with meteorites from across the other side of the galaxy.
At a high school, the pupils are recruited to fight and save the earth. Educated with violence glorification, they all aspire to attend the federal service.
Carmen (Denise Richards) has both the beauty and the brains and is accepted to join the prestigious Air Force. Her high school lover Johnny (Casper van Dien) is less qualified than her. In an attempt to become a highly ranked citizen he joins the Mobile Infantry. But after a fatal injury in his team during a special operation, Johnny is blamed and later fired from the Infantry. Meanwhile, Carmen prefers her career as a pilot above her relationship with Johnny.
When a striking attack by the Bugs destroys his hometown, Johnny is willing to continue fighting. Eventually he is promoted to the special Military Intelligence unit Roughnecks to not only destroy, but also understand the Bug and where its intelligence comes from.
Though negatively received and very aberrant from the novel (Verhoeven thought it was boring and very right-wing), Starship Troopers is full of liberal, progressive symbolism and is deeply misunderstood by the audience.
Etienne Auge is a Principal Lecturer in the department of Media and Communication at Erasmus University. He received his doctorate from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris after his Masters in film studies from the Sorbonne Paris III. His areas of research are: Propaganda, public relations, public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, film studies, the Middle East, and Science Fiction.
At Roffa Mon Amour, he talks about how many films are intended for a purpose, but understood differently by audiences as well as experts. He will discuss the ability of cinema to send a message, and sometimes to have the wrong address. Starship Troopers (1997) is screened as an example of that phenomenon.