One of the first things most people think about when it comes to 1997’s Starship Troopers is its over-the-top violence. Yet, if such gore is a hallmark of the film – which spawned a pair of direct-to-video sequels and an animated TV series – then fans will surely be disappointed with the latest development regarding the forthcoming reboot.
Producer Toby Jaffe – who is also producing this summer’s Total Recall remake – told Empire that the Starship Troopers remake will feature less of the original film’s signature violence. Not surprisingly, the decision was largely a financial one.
According to Jaffe:
“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.”
Paul Verhoeven’s original film – in addition to its extreme battle scenes between humans and giant, bloodthirsty bugs – is renowned for its satirical take on war and the politics inherent in waging it. However, Jaffe said the new version will stick a little closer to the source material, Robert Heinlein’s 1959 novel.
“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…”
Fifteen years have passed since Verhoeven’s film, and Jaffe mentioned that advances in visual effects will likely make it easier to bring some of the more futuristic elements of Heinlein’s novel, such as the armored battle suits, to life.
The producers’ decision to tone down the violence seems to signal that the new Starship Troopers will aim for a PG-13 rating, something of a double-edged sword when it comes to established franchises. While tamer violence can attract a broader audience, it risks alienating the existing fanbase. Both Terminator: Salvation and Live Free or Die Hard attempted to do this, with the former suffering a steep decline in box office receipts as a result.
With Total Recall set for a PG-13 reboot and Starship Troopers likely going down the same route, all eyes will surely be on the upcoming Robocop remake, which is reportedly going to retain its gritty tone. All three were originally directed by Verhoeven, and it will be interesting to see how the new versions fare with both existing fans and fresh viewers.
Are you interested in a toned-down Starship Troopers that sticks closer to Heinlein’s novel? Let us know in the comments.
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