Hollywood Reporter brings news that Sony is about to release a brand-new animated film in the Starship Troopers universe.
The original live-action movie from 1997 was a wild and surprisingly subversive adaptation of the classic Robert Heinlein novel. It followed the exploits of Rasczak’s Roughnecks, a mobile infantry unit thrust into war against an alien species of giant insects.
The movie was followed by a CG-animated series. The series was a different beast than the film, but much beloved by its fans. Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles ran from 1999-2000 and has become a cult classic.
Other than also being CG-animated, the new feature throws all that out and continues straight on from the original film. It’s called Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars, and stars Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer reprising their roles as Rico and Dizzy. It’s even written by Ed Neumeier, who wrote the Starship Troopers screenplay.
It’s disappointing on one level. Roughnecks was a great show that expanded the Starship Troopers universe in its own way. It also pioneered serialized storylines in animated TV shows. It was one of the first shows to separate its episodes into discrete story arcs. The Roughnecks traveled to Pluto for 5 episodes, then Hydora for 5 episodes, and so on. Watching them out of order just doesn’t work.
That makes for great TV, as any fan of Game of Thrones knows. Animated shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars Rebels owe a lot to Roughnecks for proving the concept could work for a younger audience, as well.
On the other hand, the movie had its own charm. It carried much more of a political message than Roughnecks. The film was more a parody of the novel than a straight adaptation, and pointed out just how messed up Heinlein’s “ideal society” really was.
2017 is a great time to reopen the discussion of fascism in the name of national security.
Lines like “Service Guarantees Citizenship” and Neil Patrick Harris’ gleeful exclamation of “It’s afraid!” when interrogating the alien leader are more relevant today than ever.
The art and storyline are promising from what little they’ve shown. The new older, more grizzled, more battle-scarred Rico looks great. The fact that he’s wearing the power armor from the novels, rather than the “budget-friendly” infantry suits from the movie, should bring a smile to any sci-fi fan’s face.
And they’re ignoring the completely terrible live-action sequels. Thankfully.
Traitor of Mars screens in 500 theaters across the country on August 21, and will move to digital streaming services afterwards.