Sunday, July 31, 2011

Starship Troopers -- book vs. movie

I'm looking through some old English notes (because I'm just that nerdy) and I came across a brief essay -- probably written as part of an exam, because it's handwritten but also has a comment from my professor on it (he liked my second paragraph) -- about the differences between Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and the movie by the same name.

I've done only minor editing.

SPOILERS

The book and the movie are very different. Sometimes the difference is as simple as the same situation being handled differently, such as when someone asks why it is necessary to learn to throw a dagger. But there are also differences which are not so simple, such as the complete absence in the movie of the suits which are the major of the M.I. in the book.

Violence is treated differently in the movie and book. In the book it is a tool: for example, when Johnnie needs to straighten out with Ace who is in charge. But it comes across as thoughtless in the movie. For example, when Zim pins a man's hand to a wall with a dagger in response to the innocent question of why they need to learn to use a dagger. This question was also asked int he book, and there Zim simply sat everyone down and explained it to them.

This last example also illustrates teaching methods. No where in the movie does Zim simply explain anything: it's always taught with violence. Violence is also used in the book, such as when Hendrick breaks a freeze, but it is not seen as the only way to teach as it seems to be in the movie.

The very reason for why the M.I. fight is different. In the book it is because everyone does their part, and "The M.I. take care of their own -- no matter what" (110). In the first chapter, they even risk missing the rendezvous with the ship to retrieve an injured M.I. So, they fight for each other's sake. But in the book it is purely out of hate for hte bugs. The friendship is there and they do work together, but their reason for fighting is pure blind hate.

There is also the difference of science. In the book advanced technology plays an important role, such as the suit. Nearly a whole chapter is dedicated to explaining the abilities of the suit and how it works. The movie is not so concerned with technology, and there is a complete absense of hte suits which are so essential to the M.I. in the book. Of course, advanced technology is present in the movie; two examples ar ethe space ships and the tattooing machine. But unlike the technology in the book, not much attention are paid to tehse.

The book comes across as much more sensible than the book. It shows that there is a job to be done, and glorifies it. The movie shows the M.I. as senseless and unthinking, turning it into a satire.

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