Starship Troopers ★★★★½

Melrose Place Goes to War

Really, these are Classic Hollywood "young people" rhythms and tones—which, considering its being situated in a fascistic, authoritarian society shaped by images and propaganda and violence, makes this so much more sophisticated than "satire of action films." (One thing that really leaps out watching this time is the absence of a "good side" fighting something emerging or entrenched—everything is well past fucked and everyone is inevitably conditioned to be a part in it staying that way).

The way the young recruits understand and relate to service in this war juxtaposed against the utter oblivion they enter actually cuts through the thorough dark humor on the surface and really stings. These are people who don't know they're going off to die going off to die, with a gust of romantic, low-stakes wind at their backs in the form of classical cinema narrative conventions that aren't just present in the form of the film but in the reality of their experience.

I'm old enough to remember the initial reception to this film from the professionals and I'm here to tell you they whiffed, and they whiffed hard. This film was taken entirely as it existed on its surface and derided as brainless action; in their defense, movies pitching this same basic genre but with an entirely straight face were like Marvel movies back then, so you'd be forgiven for going on auto-pilot I guess.

Still, it isn't really subtle. The thing that reveals itself on further viewings is the depth.