As is his wont with films of this kind, Anthony Lane's review
of "Clash of the Titans" is highly entertaining. But I could hardly let stand a
gratuitous swipe he takes at one of the great sci-fi films of the 90s, Paul
Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers" (1997), which he dismisses as
"thrillingly brainless." Hardly. It was one of the brainiest films of the
Literally so, in a certain sense, since the enemy insects are led by
giant tick-like nasties dwelling in caves on a desert planet that are basically
enormous telepathic cerebrums with vestigial limbs and vagina-ey faces
tended by doodle-buggy
minions. Which brings me to Bin Laden and the film's uncanny prescience when it
comes to the War against Terror.
What does this sound like? An alien, fanatic culture strikes a
terrorist blow against a major city (ie: hurling an asteroid at Buenos Aires). The government
responds by sending the Marines to the
aliens' hostile world where they soon find themselves in over their heads. But
tactics change, namely the good guys start employing special interrogation
techniques (ie:, psi-ops) and ultimately the tables are turned. Or, as the
film's last scene can be interpreted, we become as bad as they are,
It's all there - four years before 9-11.
And don't get me started on RoboCop (1987), one of the best
sci-fi movies of that decade
(rivaling "The Terminator"). Especially since you'll get a chance to hear
Verhoeven talk about it himself when he attends a special screening of the film
at the Brattle Theatre
on Monday. He's in town promoting, believe it or not, a book he wrote called
"Jesus of Nazareth," and come to think of it "RoboCop" (1987 --accept no remake! ) is full of
messianic motifs and themes: a cop dies for us,
is resurrected as a cyborg
killing machine and proceeds to waste the bad guys.
Sounds just like the
Gospels. Plus, it's another prescient look at our times, in this case the
fate of our capitalist, corporate society.