It seems like remaking Paul Verhoeven is the latest craze. The past few years has seen two of his most iconic science fiction movies get the remake treatment and now a third one is on the way. Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures revealed on Twitter that there might be a new version of “Starship Troopers” coming. While the remakes of both “Total Recall” and “RoboCop” did little to add anything new to the previous versions, a new “Starship Troopers” movie could actually be very different from the film that Verhoeven made so many years ago.
“Starship Troopers” was originally a novel written by Robert Heinlein in 1959. Verhoeven’s movie was a black satire about war, military domination and propaganda. It was about how unnecessary and gratuitous it can be. Verhoeven accomplished this by showing the wars with as much blood and gore as he could, as soldiers battle giant alien bugs. However, the novel was completely different. Heinlein wrote a book that was almost all propaganda, without a tongue in the cheek at all. The book is almost a complete selling of how awesome it is to be a soldier and how important wars are. A new movie based on the original source material could look completely different from the original movie, or they could just have humans fighting giant bugs again.
The original “Total Recall” movie was based on a story by Philip K. Dick about a future where travel to Mars is realistic and a community already lives there. There is also a machine where, when attached to it, false memories are placed in your mind and you can virtually live through any adventure, love story or thriller you can imagine. However, when Arnold Schwarzeneggr’s character is attacked in the middle of his session, he goes on the run for his life, never knowing if it is real or the false memories implanted in his brain.
The remake of “Total Recall” came 22 years later with Colin Farrell in the role that Arnold played before. In this movie, Mars is no longer used and instead there is a giant elevator that sends people through the center the earth to the other side of the planet. The rich and powerful live in the U.K. while the poor live in Australia. Other than that, the rest of the movie plays out the same as the original.
Made in 1987, Verhoeven’s “RoboCop” was another satire, this one attacking capitalism and authoritarianism, all disguised as a movie about a half-man and half-robot police officer killing bad guys. While the action is gory and gratuitous, the underlying themes help this movie stand tall above other gore-fests from the era. The new “RoboCop,” made in 2014, chooses to ignore a lot of those police state themes and instead focuses on what it must be like for the police officer to realize he is more machine than human anymore. However, when all is said and done, it is still a movie about a robot cop killing the bad guys.