Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 by Germain Lussier
Disemboweled bodies, gaping wounds and dripping blood are just a few trademarks in a Paul Verhoeven action movie, especially Starship Troopers, RoboCop and Total Recall. Violence is part of their charm and with all three films currently at different stages of being remade, the question of the universal appeal of excessive violence has been raised.
Total Recall comes out in a few weeks; RoboCop goes into production soon; and Starship Troopers is still being developed. In an interview with Empire Magazine, producer Toby Jaffe said that the remake of Starship Troopers will be less satirical, less violent, more patriotic and generally more in line with Robert Heinlein’s novel than was Verhoeven’s take. Read more after the jump.
The more expensive a film is, the harder it is now to make it that violent. With Recall in particular, we made a conscious choice to keep it tonally closer to something like Minority Report. It gives the studio, and us as producers, the opportunity to reintroduce it in a new way.
Verhoeven took [Robert Heinlein's 1959 novel] from one extreme and made it almost comical, whereas our job is to be a little more faithful to the book, and ground it a little more…. Verhoeven made his movie a critique of fascism whereas Heinlein was writing from the perspective of someone who had served in World War II. Y’know, one man’s fascism is another man’s patriotism…
One of the things Verhoeven wanted to do, but couldn’t, was include the jump suits from the novel. Even with the massive budget and huge special effects of his movie, in the late ’90s it was too expensive to put that tech on screen. That’s not the case anymore. More from Jaffe:
Working in a visual effects renaissance as we are, we have the ability to do so much more now. We can do the Jump Suits [armoured exoskeletons from Heinlein's novel], for example, which I don’t think they could have done before.
From an immediate financial standpoint, making a film less violent for a PG-13 rating makes sense. Less restrictions means a bigger potential in-theater audience. But producers have to look at the big picture. If Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers didn’t have its violence and non-traditional subtext, it probably wouldn’t stand the test of time in the way it does. The film surely sustained its popularity precisely because it was an unflinching, R-rated film.
Do you think a PG-13 Starship Troopers will be as effective as the original?