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No media is more rife with political commentary than film. Since movies began they’ve had something to say, especially about the government, politics, and in today’s case the military war machine. We’re checking out two movies from the 90s that tackle these subjects in COMPLETELY different ways; Mars Attack, and Starship Troopers.
Mars Attacks came out in 1006 and was directed by Tim Burton, which should tell you all you need to know about it. Even if you don’t know the movie, you’ve probably seen the iconic alien design and their unforgettable “ack ack ACK ACK” language. It’s not as much a complete commentary about government, but it sure makes them look bad, and hungry to destroy the aliens. Of course it turns out that had they done that there wouldn’t have been a human genocide. So what is this movie really saying? Who knows with Tim Burton. But ultimately the humans win by playing some yodeling over loud speakers so make what you will of that.
Starship Troopers on the other hand was quite obviously a send up of the military industrial complex. It traffics heavily in propaganda which we see used to recruit children at young ages. Not unlike Nazi propaganda. We even see one of the characters dressed unmistakably like a member of the SS. Troopers was directed by Paul Verhoeven, which again says everything you need to know about the movie. It’s got stilted dialog and is wildly unsubtle. But it’s a lot of fun and the effects actually look great and still hold up. I mean hell, it cost $40 million more to make than Jurassic Park, the effects better look good.
On the surface, these are two fun romps in alien escapism. But both carry a bit more beneath the surface if you’re willing to dig a little. Have you seen either of these movies? If so, let us know over on Twitter! For now, buckle in for a weird look at some space satires on today’s episode of So…I’m Watching This Show!