DVD Review: Starship Troopers - Invasion / Cert: 15 / Director: Shinki Aramaki / Screenplay: Flint Dille / Starring: (Voices) Luci Christian, David Matranga, Justin Doran / Release Date: 27th August
When it comes to CGI movies, it is incredibly difficult to view one without feeling like you are watching a cut scene in between levels in the latest computer game. Before the reboot of Starship Troopers occurs, this latest entry into the existing canon sometimes falls into that very trap. However, there are redeeming moments of pure grandeur that wouldn’t look out of place in a real blockbuster, or even the original 1997 movie.
When an outpost by the name of Fort Casey is destroyed and the surviving grunts from a previous rescue team are picked up, the crew of the Alesia evacuate along with the addition of Captain Carmen Ibanez, whose ship, the John A Warden, has been commandeered by the Minister of Paranormal Warfare, Carl Jenkins, for a secret mission. On their way to some rest and relaxation, they are called by General Johnny Rico (who is now looking a bit Solid Snake) and asked to intervene as the Warden has gone dark, shutting down and going silent.
When they reach the ship, they find that the crew have been massacred and Jenkins has secured himself in a cell so that whatever is aboard cannot get to him. As soon as they boot the engines up, they realise that a Queen is in control and there are lots of bugs ready to kill the new arrivals. It suddenly becomes a fight for survival and against time as they discover that the Queen intends to take the ship to Earth and invade.
Considering Casper Van Dien acts as an executive producer, it is perhaps surprising that he hasn’t lent his voice to Rico’s character, and the original figures of Jenkins and Ibanez are also voiced by others, rather than Neil Patrick Harris or Denise Richards respectively. As stated above, there are some scenes and shots that look beautifully epic, but the only problem is they are few and far between. Shorn of Verhoeven’s humour and social commentary, what we are left with is a general bug-hunt, where the characters involved mostly hide behind faceless helmets. This leaves us with little to no development before they inevitably find themselves eviscerated by a swarm of bugs in any number of battles throughout the running time. There are moments of female nudity that seem a little out of place here, and although this is one time that CGI blood doesn’t look like a nasty effect added in post-production, considering the fact that the process is supposed to provide layers to otherwise flat animation, the whole production just comes across as a little bit one dimensional and will remind you of playing Gears of War.
It’s a fun way to spend nearly 90 minutes as another branch to the franchise – especially with the power suits, Marauder Mk II and some solid animation work – just don’t expect to be blown away like you were 15 years ago.