There is something infinitely attractive in director’s Paul Verhoeven oeuvre yet this sci-fi film stands out from the rest due to its over-the-top inventiveness and an unabashed satirical narrative. STARSHIP TROOPERS stars Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards and Dina Meyer, with an always hilarious appearance of Neil Parick Harris in a black leather trench coat. The film follows the four of them since their high school senior year in an unrecognizable Americanized Buenos Aires until they join the Federation Army, the globalized military force set to fight and kill the Arachnids, an alien bug race accused of bombarding Earth with meteors from the other side of the galaxy.
Verhoeven’s space opera unfolds through a playful aesthetic that feeds from the cliches of the 90s action hero mixing with the Dutchman’s abrasive use of sexuality and violence resulting in a spectacle of the senses. In addition, the film showcases one of the most absurdly funny transitions embodied in hyper-exaggerated media advertisement that when interpolated with the ludicrous events of the plot can only generate a huge grin on our faces.
It requires a great deal of knowledge of the art form and the genre to create such a self-aware film that triumphs when it does not take itself too seriously; a testament to Verhoeven’s infamous genius. (This special 25th anniversary screening features a fine 35mm archival print rescued from destruction!)
Guest speaker: Juan Ospina is a writer and filmmaker who graduated in Film Studies at Concordia University. In the past, he has worked with the Concordia Film Festival, one of the largest student-run film festivals in North America, as a programmer and as a director. Currently, he is a regular contributor and content editor at Short Ends, a digital cinema magazine he collaboratively founded in December 2020. His interests encompass New Wave cinemas, the Gangster genre, Anime, Latin-American films and, as a rule of thumb, movies that make him cry.