Note: this writeup refers to the 1997 movie version of Starship Troopers.

The overwhelming majority of viewers and even most critics failed to get the drift of this disturbing and thought-provoking satire of American popular culture in general and the science fiction genre in particular. Small wonder--the film is so on-target that it almost (but not quite) becomes the subject it is scrutinizing. Audiences unused to ambiguity in cinema, which means almost everyone these days, were often left baffled and unsatisfied.

The anti-intellectual and fascistic elements in the picture are one hundred per cent intentional. Verhoeven, who took as his inspiration the propaganda films of World War Two, both cynically provokes and ruthlessly dissects our hunger for the cinematic quick fix as provided by a rugged ubermensch with a gun who blows away everything that makes life difficult and confusing. It is very similar to the critique found in Norman Spinrad's Nazi science fiction novel The Iron Dream.

If you have a DVD player, I highly recommend watching the movie with the director and writer's commentary playing.