May 25, 2015

Starship Troopers: The Movie's Better

This weekend, I watched a movie where I had read the book first - and I was disappointed in it, where it dealt differently with some situations, and totally changed the ending. It was the movie adapted from the French novel known as “Blue is the Warmest Colour” in English. I think I had a right to be mad, as changing the source material may broaden your potential audience at the expense of people who liked the original stuff.

I have no compunction complaining about that. With  the book for Starship Troopers, I didn’t like it, but I didn’t like it because it diverged so much from the movie. I knew that the movie from the 90s wasn’t true to the source, but it was a fun postmodern romp. The book here is this boring procedural thing told in the first person that really doesn’t have much tension. A good bit of it is the sort of soldiers in training thing that could be really well done like in “Full Metal Jacket” or in the books of James Jones. It’s weird, since the plot of the book is that they are fighting a war against aliens who have wiped out an city on Earth. I think that maybe the first person view is a distraction, because I never gained any sympathy for Rico but it limits what can be told about the whole situation of the war.

The strange thing is that the action sequences are more just narrated in a way that is matter-of-fact except for the opening chapter. The book starts in the middle of things and then flashes back. That opening chapter is a good hook, but the rest of the book doesn’t live up to the promise that part introduces. It’s a shame, too. The movie was so good, and there are very few instances where the book isn’t better than the movie. This is one of those times.