YMMV: Starship Troopers

Works with their own YMMV pages:

The franchise in general:

  • Fanon Discontinuity: The more devoted fans of the book hate the movies. Of course, the reverse is sometimes true as well...

The Novel:

  • Crosses the Line Twice: The time bomb that announces it's a time bomb and reads off its own countdown is hilarious. Even Rico winces over it, as he's dropping it. It is described as a terror weapon. It isn't intended to kill the enemy, its purpose is to scare the shit out of them.
  • Internet Backdraft: Starship Troopers has a reputation for generating lively debate on subjects including:
    • Was Heinlein a fascist?
    • The merits and validity of the Terran Federation's political system.
    • The book versus the movie.
    • Was military service the only way to earn citizenship, or were other forms of service acceptable?
    • What Heinlein said in the book versus what he said about the book.
  • Jerkass Has a Point / Strawman Has a Point: Even readers who disagree with the book's heavy-handed political statements are likely to find the book thought-provoking based on how, exactly, they disagree. This is one reason that the book has out-lived a host of other Bug War / Space Invaders literature of that period: it may not change your opinions but it helps you decide what those opinions are.
  • Mary Suetopia: The society in the novel was also a sort of Mary Suetopia, based on Heinlein's later conservative ideals. Of course, the films subvert this into a Straw Dystopia, but not an actualized one. The book did preach a "military democracy" (a completely nonsensical contradiction in terms, given that every military throughout history has operated through a hierarchical structure and not through popular vote) that utilized corporal punishment for crimes, and capital punishment (not just for murder but other major violent crimes) even with insane persons; the given rationale for the society was that "it works," using only the fictitious evidence of the book itself, while scorning all 20th century conventions as "primitive myths" which were naturally proven wrong by "advanced scientific proofs" of Heinlein's Suetopian future-world, such as the supposed need to corporeally punish dogs in order to housebreak them (which, you will note, most dog experts agree is a terrible idea, these days).
  • Spiritual Licensee: Suffice to say every Space Marine Bug War franchise can claim a link to Starship Troopers.
    • Aliens is often considered to be the most faithful adaptation of Starship Troopers ever made, due to the various similarities. Now, on the flip side, the Space Marines of Aliens themselves were the inspiration for other Space Marines, such as the ones in the film of Starship Troopers.
    • Halo owes a lot to ST, especially with the armor and ODST's drop pods. Its spinoff game Halo 3: ODST featuring those shock troopers fighting the Drones.
    • Starcraft has plenty of references to and points of inspiration from ST as well.
    • Space Marines in powered armour fighting large bugs? Warhammer 40,000.
  • Values Dissonance: Characters discussing nuclear weapons as if those things are not abominations. Social attitudes about nukes have changed since 1958.

The Films:

  • Adaptation Displacement: For better or for worse, more people (especially young people) are familiar with the film than they are the novel.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Distilled into a single act, no less - the asteroid that destroyed Buenos Aires was claimed by the Propaganda Machine to have been launched by the aliens... but there's no evidence aside from the claim made on the news to back this up. It wouldn't be the first time a freak accident was used to inspire people to go to war.
    • Along the same lines Paul Verhoeven has commented on how based the Propaganda segments were modeled after those played in historical authoritarian regimes during wartime and also how he set up the Bugs to be clearly superior in every way to the humans opposing them. Combining the two together can imply that the Surprisingly Happy Ending portrayed in the final Propaganda cut scene is simply a case of the Government trying to hide the Awful Truth of the probable defeat.
  • Anvilicious: Paul Verhoeven knows of no other way to present a message, though for some people the message is still lost, and the movie appears to be a gung-ho sci-fi romp in which War is Awesome.
  • Awesome Moment: Amazingly enough, from the second film: Sgt. Rake's Roaring Rampage of Revenge after suffering an Orifice Invasion from a Puppeteer Parasite and shooting herself up with a ridiculous amount of adrenaline.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Cliché Storm: A force five hurricane, especially the death scenes.
  • Critical Research Failure: In arguing for why Violence Really Is the Answer, both a student and his teacher early in the film seems to be under the impression that the city of Hiroshima ceased to exist entirely after the end of World War II. Some fan theories suggest that it did.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Although Paul Verhoeven's film is partly a comedy, it is very dark comedy that suggests that humans are as animalistic as any other creature in outer space. Although the genocidal alien bugs are clearly the bad guys, the humans have become arrogant and brutal in the course of fighting them. Condemned criminals are executed on live TV, computer websites pump users full of overbearing propaganda reminiscent of World War II newsreels, schoolchildren are encouraged to gleefully stomp on helpless insects in a form of Fantastic Racism, people are denied citizenship rights if they do not serve in the military, the drill sergeant at the infantry boot camp is a bully (okay, sometimes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold) who seems to enjoy physically humiliating both male and female recruits, soldiers are punched in the face for uttering mildly rude remarks, and the protagonist is at one point stripped to the waist and receives 10 lashes across his bare back in full view of the entire camp as punishment for accidentally causing a comrade's death.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Played with. The exciting battle scenes seem to undermine Verhoeven's supposed message, but most of the soldiers still die agonizingly horrible deaths. But the trope itself is also a large part of the message, the unsavory elements of the war and its reasons are referenced by people trying to downplay or distract from those elements.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: In the DVD commentary, director Paul Verhoeven says fans wanted Carmen to die and Johnny to end up with Dizzy, proving that it isn't only fans who have preferred couples. Considering that in the original book Dizzy is male and Johnny and Carmen have at most a one-night stand together, this wouldn't have been such a bad change compared to most of the rest of the changes Verhoeven actually did make.
  • First Installment Wins: Really, the sequels were nowhere near as good as the first.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In-Universe example in the first movie: the recruitment commercial with the cute, eight year old kid in uniform saying, "I'm doing my part, too!" and everyone laughs. Cut to the last battle in the movie where Johnny and Ace command a squadron of Child Soldiers, not much older than that first kid, and it's not funny anymore...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: NFL wideout Jerome Simpson actually pulled off the Flip 6-3 hole. In the same uniform, no less!
    • While the movie adaptation is a clear satire of the original book's ideology, it's still tempting not to smirk when one understands that Neil Patrick Harris had a role in this, in spite of the novelist's batshit insane homophobic rants.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Would you like to know more?"
    • "They sucked his brains out."
    • "The [X] cannot do [Y], IF YOU DISABLE HIS HAND!"
  • Misaimed Fandom: Despite the fact that Paul Verhoeven is anti-war and anti-fascism (he came mighty close to becoming 'collateral damage' when he was a child), people will accuse him from now until judgment day of making a movie that glorifies war, fascism, and blind, jingoistic patriotism. To think Paul Verhoeven made the mistake of being too subtle.
    • This Misaimed Fandom gets an In-Universe example in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. The paranoid, racist, warmongering Homeland Security agent tells Neil Patrick Harris that Starship Troopers inspired him to get into his line of work.
    • This expands to the creators of the sequel as well, who clearly missed out the implication that the Arachnids were the real good guys who were being provoked by the xenophobic and jingoistic humans, and portrayed the humans as the lesser evil.
    • Critics lambasted the fact that the characters were flat and uninteresting. According to Paul Verhoeven, he was aiming for 90210 IN SPACE! because the entire film was a propaganda film.
    • Somehow even The Daily Show (which did movie reviews back then — one of many instances of Early Installment Weirdness) missed the satire, picking up on Neil Patrick Harris' SS-like uniform but not the fact that the audience wasn't meant to be rooting for the humans.
  • Misaimed Marketing: A toyline was released by Galoob in 1997. Yes, a toyline based on an R-rated film that has lots of blood, gore, political satire, and nudity. Funnily enough, this is exactly the kind of thing the film would satirize.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Who woulda thought Barney Stinson was a great Military Strategist that gets promoted to Colonel.
    • Hank Schrader is the commander of the Mobile Infantry boot camp.
    • Amy Smart is one of Carmen's fellow pilots.
    • Lassie works for the government's psychic program.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A lot of people were rooting for the Bugs. In the first movie this might have been the filmmakers' intention, but in the sequels the Federation were supposed to be the good guys (or at least the lesser evil) and audiences still found a bunch of giant cockroaches to be more sympathetic. If you're reading the subtext that the Federation are Villain Protagonists, it becomes Rooting For The Empire regardless of which side you're rooting for.
  • The Scrappy: Carmen, so much so that in the DVD commentary, the director recalls that after test screenings, the survey cards were filled with comments like "kill the bitch!" and "kill the slut!"
  • Sequelitis: All of them except Invasion.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Badass of the Week.com explains best:
    "Luckily, the script writers realized what they were working with and wrote some of the cheesiest, most badass dialogue in any movie ever. I don't know how they did it, but every single line in the movie is completely corny but awesome at the same time. This results in the audience getting a good laugh in the fifteen minutes of the movie when people aren't getting their arms ripped off or aliens aren't being exploded into pieces and spewing green fluid all over the place."
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The opinion of the novel's fans. There's some overlap with WTH, Casting Agency? at the directorial level, since you don't hand Vanderhoeven a novel that states that War Is Glorious and say, "Adapt this into a movie! Change whatever you like."
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: It is not necessarily a bad movie, but most of the main cast doesn't seem to realize that it is actually a parodic take on military jingoism. In fact, Michael Ironside and Clancy Brown seem to be the only people who know what kind of movie they're in. Neil Patrick Harris also definitely did; in one of the tie-in magazines, he actively states that his character was becoming this 'dark little fascist' by the time the film ends.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The script is an entirely intentional affront to Heinlein. But every single Bug is Crazy Awesomely cool.
  • Word of God: The use of Argentina was quite deliberate, since its Nazi ties are documented.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, and Neil Patrick Harris playing Argentinean high schoolers... Verhoeven aimed for a Do Not Do This Cool Thing-baiting feel with the casting, going for stupidly beautiful people who would be far more at home in a soap opera — and then not telling them the film was a satire, leaving them to play their roles deadly serious. Given the other elements of political/social commentary in the film - i.e. the blatant lies perpetuated in saying the Bugs dropped a meteor on Buenos Aires to justify the ongoing war, it's also very likely that these incredibly white teenagers with their Latin-American names were a commentary on American expansionism.

The Video Game:

The OVA:

  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Some of the Marauder designs were reused in MADOX-01, which was directed by Shinji Aramaki. Guess what happens 26 years later?
    • This OVA is produced by (in case you haven't read the main page) Sunrise. In the one Gundam movie that almost no one liked, G Saviour, the CONSENT troops reused the Mobile Infantry armor from the first movie.