Monday, December 12, 2005

Episode #5 Starship Troopers and Just War Theory

In this episode I use the Paul Verhoven film Starship Troopers loosely based on the Robert Heinlien book of the same name to discuss the idea of Just War Theory.

Episode #5 (22 minutes 52 seconds)

Show Notes

Starship Troopers the film
Starship Troopers the book

War at the Standford Encylopedia of Philosphy

Extra Life Radio
Space Ship Radio

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Blogger Brian Yoder said...

One area where I think that Starship Troopers exposes an interesting subject for discussion is in how Paul Verhoven adapted the original story for the screen and how that reclects his point of view and how that differs from Heinlein's. Clearly Paul wasn't very interested in Heinlein's ideas (though a few juicy lines do slip through) even some of the more provocative and relatively original ones. Of course it's generally necessary to chuck large parts of the original material overboard because books tend to be long and movies tend to be short, but the original book in this case wasn't all that long, nor would it have been time-consuming or even expensive to have the troopers shot out of big guns, fighting alone, or fighting "skinnies" and other kinds of enemies besides the "bugs". Does this mean that the directors are shallow? That they think we are? That they are just too dim to know how to tell a good story? Perhaps it's a bit of all of the above.

I suspect that the most common (and alas, most disappointing) explanation is that the folks in Hollywood don't know what a theme is and can't carry such a thing from one medium to another because they don't really understand how to tell a story with any kind of intellectual content or consistency at all. I hope I'm wrong about that, but I doubt that I am.

Anyway, a great number of movies have been made that are only loosely based on books (the one that has to take the cake would be Lawnmower Man, which bore no resemblence to the Steven King story at all except that there was a lawnmower in both, at least briefly). Perhaps some generalizations about several such movies would be an interesting topic for a future show.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I am a regular listener of the "Escape Pod" podcast and Steve mentioned Sci Phi a week or two ago. Finally got around to checking it out, Episode #5, the first I listened to, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I'm going to be checking out the back issues while I anxiously await the next episode.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for the great podcast and keep up the good work.

1:51 PM  

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