Starship Troopers | Dragon Age: Origins, "Soldier's Peak"
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Movie review - Starship Troopers
Movie summary: Humans in a fascist, militaristic future wage war with giant alien bugs. (IMDb)
Starship Troopers feels like an appropriate movie to watch as the USA and UK have lurched heavily to the right, because you have to imagine those knuckle-draggers probably watch this film and think of it as nothing more than a brilliant action movie, watching kick-ass characters mowing down some disgusting monsters with the occasional moments of nudity to spice things up.
The thing is, this movie would probably work as a fascist recruitment tool because it does depict everyone in the fascist-based future society as being young and beautiful, there are co-ed showers where all the men and women are young and fit, before grabbing guns to go and murder your desert-based enemies because your military-led government says so - just typing that out makes it sound like a US Army recruitment video.
The problem for those people is that this movie is mocking anyone who thinks this is cool. Most of the characters are barely recognisable as human beings in terms of emotion and behaviour, with practically the entire cast playing wafer-thin idiots who think they're doing the right thing all the time. When you've got even teachers saying that violence is the greatest form of power, that should be a hint that maybe what's going isn't quite right.
I will admit that some of the acting can be a bit tough to endure, although it feels a little harsh to criticise as it's obviously mocking people who actually think and behave like this in real life, especially as director Paul Verhoeven is one of the most ardent anti-fascists you can find - he couldn't even finish the Robert A. Heinlein book it was based on and ended up dressing the officers in Starship Troopers in uniforms similar to the Nazi SS to make it clear to everyone what he was saying about such a society.
On the other hand, the uniforms don't look too great and a lot of the production design does look quite cheap and basic too - it can often feel like a budget anti-Nazi movie... until the effects come in. I was honestly amazed at how good some of the effects work looked in HD for a movie from 1997, especially the CGI work on the bugs. Yes, they're clearly not real, but the VFX team on the movie really do great work bringing them to life.
Oh, and I can't be the only one who notices the StarCraft parallels right? Humans with basic weaponry up against an apparently endless horde of insect-like aliens murdering everything in their path? All you need are another race of psychic aliens to show up and you're all set - although that would've definitely muddied the waters here and made things unnecessarily complex.
Starship Troopers is unquestionably an anti-fascist movie, with an easily-led generation of brainwashed idiots happy to dress up like Nazis and kill whoever they're asked to because it makes them feel superior. It feels right reviewing this while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is airing too - if some people won't/cant recognise the institutional racism in that show, just show them this movie. If they can't recognise the fascism on display, maybe steer clear of those people in the future...
Starship Troopers is still a great movie, even if the acting isn't exactly brilliant and the production design looking quite cheap at times - although the latter is balanced out by some of the visual effects looking surprisingly great in HD. It's anti-fascism message should be obvious to anyone, so just be wary of those who think of it as a kick-ass, "fuck yeah!" action movie, because it's really not as simple as it looks.
Game play - Dragon Age: Origins, "Warden's Peak"
A bit of DLC for Dragon Age: Origins is in store for Elissa and her companions this time out, assisting Levi Dryden in discovering more about what happened at the mysterious Soldier's Peak. I have to admit that it's a lot shorter than I remembered, mainly because I think I mixed up this and the opening sequence of Awakening in my memory - more on that expansion in the future.
There's a surprising amount of backstory and history for such a small piece of game, with flashbacks showing historical events including the Grey Wardens of the past rising up against the King of Ferelden - not something they should be doing, but having some apparent justification in general, even if the Warden-Commander, Levi's great-great-grandmother, may have done so for personal reasons.
As a result of the Warden-Commander's actions 200 years earlier, there are plenty of demons to fight as you make your way through the abandoned buildings. None of the enemies are particularly difficult in themselves - although this may due to Elissa now being ridiculously hard to hurt already - but a couple of fights are quite lengthy and you will need to manage your party through them.
There are some bigger choices to make too, one involving a possessed Warden-Commander and another dealing with the still-living Warden mage who summoned the demons in the first place, but otherwise "Soldier's Peak" ties up very nicely as a neat side-story and Levi becomes a merchant you can visit from this point on - giving you a pretty generous discount too.