Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Monday, July 12, 2004  

Hollywood drives off the cliff

One of my guilty pleasures from time to time is watching bad science fiction movies. I avoid most of the direct to DVD extravaganzas, but every now and then a brand will attract me. Like Starship Troopers.

I wanted to see what they did with Heinlein. It wasn't good, but it didn't suck too bad. That was a theatrical release. The next movie, Starship Troopers 2, was a direct to video.

I watched it this weekend. Now, I wouldn't be writing this blog on this very bad movie (I fast forwarded through most of it, and didn't miss any dialogue) except that it was bad in a surprisingly novel way.

A race of bugs (literally bugs, giant spiky ants, and queen bugs, firefly bomber bugs, and a few whatnots) strike at Earth and wage relentless war on humanity. In ST2, a company of troopers led by a macho gung-ho general are overwhelmed on a distant planet. The general holds off the massive bug horde with a few soldiers while the rest of the troopers bug out (sorry, couldn't resist), retreat, to some sort of outpost to await pickup from the Space/Air Force.

They get to a kind of trashed fort where they find a captain imprisoned in a cell of some kind. It turns out he murdered his Colonel and survived the attack of the bugs, hidden as he had been in a cell.

The troopers get to repairing the fort while fighting off a massive wave of attack from the spiky giant ants. In the midst of the battle, a girl trooper releases the murderous captain based on her intuition. He saves the day, routs the enemy bugs, and starts giving orders.

Then the general shows up with three other troopers who came from nowhere to save the Pattonesque clod. Well, it turns out that the other troopers are sleepers. Humans who are bug infested (so to speak) a la Alien. They start taking over others in obnoxious ways.

While all this nonsense goes on, the murderous captain keeps making snide references to the military -- beware of officers who will only get you killed (because that's what officers do -- I kid you not. That's what he says.), and war and glory is all rah rah hoorah nonsense. He's jaded, you see.

The girl asks him why he killed his commanding officer. He hems and haws a bit and says, "Because he got a few too many troopers killed." But we admire him for fragging his colonel because he's very manly, brave, resourceful, and certain.

Eventually the last two troopers, our mutinous captain and the girl, are all that's left who are human. They go about killing the rest. In a final confrontation with the last few and the general (who's been turned by a bug implant), the captain, Dax, asks the impersonators why they want to kill humanity.

"Because we're bored. Because you humans believe that you have a personal destiny to fullfill in the universe. That's insane, and we have to stop you before you spread your insanity. That's why."

Well, Dax and girl survive to final scene. Dax kills the general and stays behind because he says, you know what they do to those who kill their officers. He dies heroicly if futilely.

In the beginning of the movie, they have a clip from propaganda commercials meant to entice young people to join the Military. It's all very over-wrought and hokey, Uncle Earth wants you to be a hero. "Hey, you didn't expect to live forever, did you?" (Actual line.)

After the girl is rescued, she's back on Earth watching a new commercial with Dax presented as saying, "Don't shed any tears for me. I live on in my glory?" Music swell, etc. etc.

Okay, let's break it down. This supposed to be a movie about the defense of Earth and all its people from an implacable foe determined to kill every single one of us; and the over-riding message of the film is that the Military are a bunch of mindless cretins who love to get soldiers killed, and then exploit their deaths as propaganda.

The hero is a mutinous soldier who kills his commander, and who preaches hatred of officers.

Hollywood has devolved to the point that even in a "C" movie about heroic actions and defenders of humanity, where everything is at stake -- the Military is evil, demented, loony, goony, corrupt, witless, and vicious.

They create a totalitarian evil, an absolute enemy bent on complete annihilation of our species, and all the writer can think to say about it is that Military people are all turds. The real enemy is not the bugs, but the Military!

Isn't that exactly what our lefty friends say about Bush and the Military now? Islam and Islamofascism isn't our foe -- Rumsfield and his evil minions (and Halliburton) is.

How is it possible for Hollywood to make a heroic movie that has no heroes in it (see Troy)? Unless it is about an anti-hero who hates authority, command, obedience, discipline, and teamwork. And who is cynical, sarcastic, depressed, critical, and an outsider.

Even comic books have turned lefty. Marvel is turning out anti-heroes who hate America. (See The Punisher.)

This is simply unprecedented in history as far as I can tell, where complete institutions of a great civilization have become --not merely effete, depraved, or corrupt -- but openly and intensely hostile to the very core values of that civilization and have the power to command so much influence and attention.

Roman Catholics often say, despite having some incredibly bad and depraved popes, none of them ever proposed or instituted complete heresies into the dogmas of the Church. They may have crapped on the altars, but they didn't pull down the sanctuaries (to coin an earthy phrase).

I would say, God Help Us. But I know he wants us to survive, while generally leaving the details of our moral battles to us.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 9:22 PM |