June 28, 2012

Puzzling as it may seem, a reboot of Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi classic, Starship Troopers, is apparently in development. It’s going to be an entirely different affair, though, with the violence stripped down to render a more austere vision of Robert Heinlein’s patriotic text, rather than the bug-bursting gorefest that Verhoeven chose to carry his sly satire. Producer Toby Jaffe told Empire, “the more expensive a film is, the harder it is now to make it that violent. With [Total] Recall in particular, we made a conscious choice to keep it tonally closer to something like Minority Report. It gives the studio, and us as producers, the opportunity to reintroduce it in a new way.”

Most likely, the real answer is that the studio is only willing to invest so much money in a movie that didn’t exactly blow away box-office records when it came out the first time. But think of what’s being lost! As one intrepid blogger once wrote about the violence in the original movie, “this lack of empathy feels intentional on Verhoeven’s part, so as to emphasize how individual action and feeling are ultimately irrelevant in the grander context of war, no matter how ugly that seems to our humanist sensibilities.” It’s hard to imagine how a movie about bug war will make us feel closer to America, but movies have produced stranger reactions; inexplicably, I was moved to make a donation to Planned Parenthood after seeing Prometheus. No timetable is announced for the new Troopers, which means it could just float away into the ether like nothing ever happened.

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