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Starship Troopers

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A Starship Trooper screaming as a giant bug attacks.
Category: Subculture Status: Confirmed Year: 1997 Origin: Paul Verhoeven Region: United States
Type: Film,
Tags: paul verhoeven, robert a. heinlein, fascism, casper van dien, neil patrick harris, satire, parody, propaganda, cgi, bugs, klendathu, movie, book, sci-fi, science fiction, sf,

Additional References: IMDB, Wikipedia,
A Starship Trooper screaming as a giant bug attacks.


Starship Troopers is a 1997 science fiction film made by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, based on Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 novel of the same name. The film follows young recruits sent to space to join the military in a war against armies of enormous alien bugs. The film was not well-received when it was released, but over time, it has come to be appreciated as a satire of the original book's perspective, as well as a broader satire of military and fascist propaganda in the digital age. This deeper reading of the film has inspired several memes.


Starship Troopers was written by renowned science fiction author Robert Heinlein, and received the 1960 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Since its publication, it has been both influential in its vision of interstellar war and controversial for its glorification of war and the military.[1]

Paul Verhoeven, director of Robocop and Total Recall_, adapted the book into a film that was released on November 75h, 1997, featuring cutting-edge CGI and visual effects techniques to realize the enemy alien Bugs. Verhoeven has said that he attempted to make a film that would comment on the militaristic and fascistic themes of the book, rather than faithfully adapting it. The widespread use of screens and propaganda is an important element of this satire.[1]


Starship Troopers was a disappointment upon its initial release. Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film received 65% positive reviews, with many finding the film repetitive and criticizing the performances of the lead actors.[2] According to Verhoeven, speaking in a later interview, "We were accused by the Washington Post of being neo-Nazis […] It was tremendously disappointing. They couldn't see that all I have done is ironically create a fascist utopia."[1]

However, in the 2010s, the film received a critical reappraisal as these themes became clearer to audiences, and people drew comparisons between the film and real-life politics and media. According to an article in The New Yorker by David Roth, "the present has caught up to Verhoeven’s acid vision of the future."[3]


The film is best known online for having a framing device where a cursor is clicking between different video clips that link sections of the story using commercials, informational broadcasts, news reports and other forms of propaganda.

In addition, the film has become a source for memes in niche communities, such as the "Starship Troopers Nukeposting" Facebook group.[4]

Starship Troopers "Effective Satire" Discourse

Starship Troopers Effective Satire Discourse refers to a viral debate that took place on X / Twitter in February 2024. After X user @HariSel57511397 made a post criticizing the 1997 film Starship Troopers (which is based on a 1959 book) for "failing" as an effective parody, fans of the film shared their opinions and memes about what made the film an effective anti-fascist satire.

On February 15th, 2024, X user @HariSel57511397 posted a thread criticizing the film and saying it "failed as a parody." The thread lists various reasons for this perceived failure, including the protagonists being too handsome and the invading bugs being impossible to empathize with. The post gathered over 3,000 likes and 2,000 quote tweets (seen below).

Isaac Young @HariSel57511397 Why the first Starship Troopers movie failed as a parody, a thread: Watching the movie, it was clear the director was aiming for a campy, over-the-top depiction of the Terran Federation. Perhaps not an outright mockery, but certainly a drastic departure from the serious novel. FROM THE DIRECTOR OF TOTAL RECALL AND BASIC INSTINCT PAUL VERHOEVEN FELM STARSHIP ROOPERS Aff INCLUDES: Additional Scenes, Filmmakers' Commentary, and Behind-the-Scenes Footage. "Astonishing energy and bold, exuberant humor" -Joe Morgenstern, WALL STREET JOURNAL 5:05 PM. Feb 15, 2024 6M Views Isaac Young @HariSel57511397. Feb 15 First, let's tackle a writing pitfall that irks Leftists to this day. If you make your characters naturally handsome, fit, and well-groomed, then it becomes increasingly difficult to properly mock them. Beauty is self- evident, and all the characters in ST are good looking. 250 502 110 2.4K 194 Isaac Young @HariSel57511397. Feb 15 This extends to the overall Terran Federation as well. We see clean, beautiful streets. Life seems good for Rico in his polite high school. This is a far cry from the crime ridden and drug addicted cities we know today. Where are the homeless encampments, the ghettos? 1M 2.1K 口企 799K 口1 Isaac Young @HariSel57511397. Feb 15 THIS is not a face I can relate to, sympathize for, or even have a dialogue with. This screams at me to kill it with fire. Even IF I didn't want to kill this thing, I want to be in orbit, far away from this creature. It's horrific, and only a contrarian can argue against that. 734 1.6K 215 5.1K 162 Isaac Young @HariSel57511397. Feb 15 The only thing you can really critique about the Terran Federation is the propaganda and incompetence. But when everything is so slapstick, it fails at landing a serious point. These guys are badasses in a funny movie, not a warning about the dangers of fascism. ₁7.6M 2.7K 口企 ₁462K 口企

Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2 is a 3rd-person, co-op shooter video game developed by Arrowhead Game Studios that drew significant buzz online upon its release in February of 2024 as gameplay clips spread online. The game has widely been characterized as a clear homage to Starship Troopers, and has faced similar criticisms and discourse about its effectiveness as a satire of fascism.

I'm Doing My Part

"I'm Doing My Part!" is an exploitable image macro and GIF taken from a military recruitment commercial within the 1997 film Starship Troopers. The GIF and image are widely used as a reaction in both serious and ironic contexts to illustrate that individual actions are contributing to a larger movement, trend or cause.

It's Afraid

It's Afraid is a quote from an iconic scene in the 1997 film Starship Troopers. The quote and the scene it is from became the subject of various memes, photoshops, edits and parodies starting in 2016. It has been popularly used by right-wing online communities and has seen use in racist and bigoted memes, though not all edits are political in nature. IT'S AFRAID IP:

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External References

Tags: paul verhoeven, robert a. heinlein, fascism, casper van dien, neil patrick harris, satire, parody, propaganda, cgi, bugs, klendathu, movie, book, sci-fi, science fiction, sf,

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