We really hope the war ends soon. For one, we want our troops home and safe, as soon as possible. But, as an on-the-side benefit, we'd really like to put an end to those damn war movies that keep coming out. From dramas like Lions For Lambs and The Hurt Locker, to gritty documentaries like Restrepo and No End In Sight, to savagely critical works like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Starship Troopers, it seems like more and more sandy and depressing war movies are taking over our cine-
Yes, Starship Troopers. The campy anti-war satire about a race from a distant, desert land, who out of nowhere strikes a civilian target in a way we didn't think was possible, leading to heavy-handed patriotic propaganda, and a headlong rush into a war with a poorly thought-out strategy that results in a quagmire. You don't have to agree with the message to get that it's clearly a satirical send-up of the War on Terror. If anything, it's too on-the-nose.
What's that, you say? The movie was made in 1997, four years before 9/11? Hmmm. That is a problem. We mean, we're not saying Paul Verhoeven traveled forward in time and then traveled back to film a commentary on a future war (because that would be an absolutely HORRIBLE waste of time travel), but... well, yeah, maybe we're saying he did that. Look how they line up:
In The Film:
The movie follows Johnny Rico, a dumb jock from a weirdly Aryan-looking Buenos Aires of the future, as he signs up for the Mobile Infantry to protect the human race from the Arachnids, hive-minded, insectoid aliens. The war Johnny is training for is purely theoretical for the first 50 minutes of the film and then, suddenly, war is declared. What's the trigger? An asteroid strike on Johnny's home city of Bueno Aires, which destroys the city and kills over eight and a half million people. This, for the humans, is an absolute shock to the system, a blow made all the more devastating by the fact that the Arachnids don't have a colony within fifty thousand light years of Earth.
In space terms, that's this much.
That they shot an asteroid from halfway across the galaxy and managed to hit, not only another planet, but the planet they actually aimed at, is not just impressive, its goddamned miraculous. Especially considering that the Arachnids don't seem to have much knowledge of math and interstellar travel -- their species spreads to other planets by shooting their spores into space and hoping for the best. In fact it's so amazing that it's either a plot hole or a surprisingly subtle plot point- there's a theory among Starship Troopers fans that the attack was either a random collision that the government used as an excuse for war, or a deliberate attack by the government on its own people to justify attacking the bugs.
Either way, humanity promptly loses its shit and declares war on all bugs everywhere.
"Well this seems easy enough."
In Real Life:
You can see right away how the plot mimics real events. Before 9/11, the threat of Islamic terror was lingering out there, but wasn't immediate -- just like the bugs in the movie. Then there's an attack on a civilian target that comes as just as much a shock to the system, as it demonstrated a capability no one thought the terrorists had. The US promptly lost its shit and declared war on the very notion of terrorism, entering into an armed conflict against an abstract concept like only America can.
"And after we beat Terrorism, we're gonna beat Drugs! Then we're going to take on Sadness!"
There are some crucial differences between the movie and real life. For one thing, plus, in war time here on Real Earth, Denise Richards is probably the last person we'd call for support, (assuming the war was not being fought by boners).
"We need at least six more boners to the frontline. Richards, get out there!"
Also, 9/11 was obviously not some random coincidence or inside job. Sure, in a shitty movie, fans will wildly speculate all the time and talk about how the government attacked Buenos Aires on purpose and blamed the bugs, but no one in real life would look at 9/11 and whip up a bunch of crazy, nonsensical, conspiracy theories about "what really happened, right?