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Alien bugs are sending asteroids to pummel Earth. Earth is fighting back by bugging the bugs on the bug planet. We are introduced to the four glistening stars who are mere babes, fresh out of school. There is the perma-grin girl who trains to be a pilot. She is going out with the Ken-doll, who disappoints his parents by joining the military instead of furthering his education. Then, there’s the spunky, red-haired girl who is after the Ken doll. Lastly, there is the Geek, who has superior intelligence and is able to plant thoughts into animal’s heads.

The sparkling group becomes separated, except for the Ken-doll and the red-head. They go to training camp together. Quickly, the Ken-doll climbs up the military ladder and leads the team at the bug planet. Meanwhile, the perma-grin girl becomes a crackerjack pilot, breaks up with the Ken-doll, and later hears news of his death and is sad . The Geek is whisked off to super secret intelligence training and we don’t see him for a while.

These bugs are viscous, creepy, and bloodthirsty. The bug’s military organization mirrors the human’s, with the fighters doing hand-to-hand combat, while the brains are tucked away strategizing. Things get very gory, as you can imagine.

Personal computers in this movie are to die for. Everyone has their own little computer stationed at their army bunk, with high resolution cameras recording letters automatically etched onto little mini discs. Telephone callers are projected onto wide screen TVs and people on extensions come up in automatic split screens. TV/News has evolved into a meld between television and the internet. It presents headlines to you and asks you if you want to know more, a cursor is shown clicking on things. Privacy is out the window; school grades, personal letters and telecommunications are out in the open for everyone to see and jeer at. At school, the stars send each other little multimedia packs over a networked classroom computer system. They each get what looks like a drawing tablet that writes directly onto a screen. Very cool! Damn kids, they just use it to send silly cartoons to each other! Ship navigation and medicine borrows heavily from Sci Fi classics such as Star Wars and Star Trek. Bubble tanks, the Federation, and WARP technology.

In the Starship Trooper world, high intelligence is valued more than brute strength and good looks. Yet the stars of the film are the brute force variety and they’re darn good-looking too. The Geek is charming and quirky in the beginning of the movie, but he evolves into a slightly sinister character.

Starship Troopers reminded me of those computer games that have video clips thrown in at different levels, you feel like reaching for your joystick to shoot at the training figures and maneuver the huge, lethargic ship out of the dock, and you want to help beat up those bugs too! The movie seems to try to integrate interactivity into a non-interactive medium. Sometimes the plot was predictable, but the special effects were excellent. Every student and fan of 3D animation should see this film. Now can someone tell me if those Barbie-doll smooth actors were computer generated or not?

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