STARSHIP TROOPERS CO-PRODUCER/SCRIBE
ED NEUMEIER: HOLLYWOOD INVESTIGATOR GOT IT RIGHT!
Letter to the Hollywood Investigator,
by Ed Neumeier, [February 9, 2003]
Dear Ms. Brickmeyer,
with great amusement and delight that we -- myself, the producer and the
director of the movie Starship Troopers -- read your
article of 24 January 2003. As we were misunderstood by most
critics, much of the public and many of our friends at the time of the
movie's release in 1997, it was gratifying to read an article by someone
who clearly understood what we were up to and in turn was able to state
it so succinctly.
movie would have such prescience about our current situation was something
we could not then foresee (although, of course, many would argue it is
easy to extrapolate such a dark vision). In fact, the subtext of
the adaptation of Robert Heinlein's rather straightforward treatise on
right and military might was inspired by three related ideas:
it was an attempt to take on the critical assertion that all action movies are inherently fascistic,
thus our shared concept of the movie that War Makes Fascists of us All.
* Second, it was a comment on the nature of media and propaganda (using as
it did forms from U.S.-made WW2 propaganda films like Why We Fight and
Action in the North Atlantic told within the context of Leni Riefenstahl's
Triumph of the Will) as a means by which public consent is manufactured.
* Third, it was a meditation on the then (1994) current wave of cultural
fascism here in the U.S., political correctness, by proposing, as you and
no one else has pointed out, a future Earth society that suffers niether
from crime, racism or sexism on the surface but succeeds at this only by
the imposition of a strict and authoritarian order.
we may have suffered when Starship Troopers was initially released because
we were not willing to underline for the audience and critics that this
was, in fact, a movie about the dangers of fascism, it was our feeling
then as it is now, that such a satirical (and, in hindsight, subtle) approach
more interesting, more honest and more thought-provoking whereas the latter
and common approach would render a movie that was little more than preaching
to the choir.
I believe that one reason Starship endures so successfully
in its afterlife, finding a growing and loyal audience along with many
re-appreciations by the critical community, is for precisely this reason.
approach is not something I recommend if your aim is to make large budget
entertainment for mass audiences; here in the U.S., the audience is not
fond of ambivalence, but more importantly, neither are the men and women
tasked with marketing such product to the world.
movie continues to succeed as a rather unique item in the canon of contemporary
corporate Hollywood film-making, one that we are certain (because of budget,
rating and content) will not be made again anytime soon, and one that makes
us consistently smile and ask one another, "How did we ever get away with
Neumeier, Co-producer and screenwriter, Starship Troopers
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