Starship Troopers: Invasion Blu-ray offers solid video and audio in this enjoyable Blu-ray release
A distant Federation outpost Fort Casey comes under attack by bugs. The team on the fast attack ship Alesia is assigned to help the Starship John A. Warden stationed in Fort Casey evacuate along with the survivors and bring military intelligence safely back to Earth. Carl Jenkins, now ministry of Paranormal Warfare, takes the starship on a clandestine mission before its rendezvous with the Alesia and goes missing in the nebula. Now, the battle-hardened troopers are charged with a rescue mission that may lead to a much more sinister consequence than they ever could have imagined....
For more about Starship Troopers: Invasion and the Starship Troopers: Invasion Blu-ray release, see Starship Troopers: Invasion Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 24, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
The world of Starship Troopers seems like a logical extension of man's unending war on bugs. He's been squishing and swatting and
them since, oh, the beginning of time, but little did he know that their distant cousins were watching from afar, waiting for the right time to strike,
ready to chew off limbs and impale torsos and suck brains and fire plasma from their rear ends. Oh yeah, it's been on for centuries, and now it's
on the screen since the brilliant 1997 satirical Sci-Fi/Horror Starship Troopers exploded into theaters, based on Robert Heinlein's
of the same name, both of which are really about everything but a war on bugs. Yet as all good things are apt to do, the series quickly lost
dropped the satire and smarts in favor of pure action against the slimy, dirty bugs, in a pair of forgettable live-action sequels and a brief animated series. Starship
Troopers: Invasion is the best sequel to the original film yet. It lacks the intelligence of Paul Verhoeven's masterpiece but does carry over the
blood and guts and bits of nudity and, oh yes, the three main characters from the original: Johnny Rico, Carmen Ibanez, and Carl Jenkins (all voiced
new actors). It's a
relatively fun little slice of entertainment from a rather unique universe, and so long as audiences understand it's largely a straight Action flick that
foregoes the deeper themes of the original story and film, there's plenty here to enjoy.
Yeah, man, it's a bug hunt!
The Federation outpost Fort Casey has been overrun by bugs. A detachment has been sent to clear out the survivors and destroy the facility and all
the bugs on it. They arrive on the starship Alesia and find themselves knee-deep in bugs right out of the gate. But before they can
mission, Scientist Carl Jenkins (voiced by Justin Doran), now Minister of Paranormal Warfare, places Casey's commanding officer, Major Henry
"Hero" Varro (voiced by David Wald), under arrest. Carl then commandeers the other starship docked at the outpost, the John A. Warden,
for use in a sensitive, highly-classified mission that might turn the tide in the war against the bugs. The Warden's Captain, Carmen Ibanez
(voiced by Luci Christian) is ordered by General Johnny Rico (voiced by David Matranga) to pilot the Alesia and track down the
Warden; the ship's gone silent, and the Federation fears the worst. However, the troopers won't leave without Hero leading the charge. He
agrees, knowing he'll either die or come face-to-face with the man who placed him into custody. Little do the soldiers know that they're headed into
a fight from which few will walk away intact and, what's more, that could tilt the balance of power in the war and in the universe for many years to
Starship Troopers: Invasion offers little in the way of main character development, the film simply plopping Rico, Carmen, and Carl into their
various positions of authority but at least doing well to capitalize on their longtime relationships and engage the audience with their roles in the war
as they once again become interconnected in the battle against the bugs. The personalities remain the same, though of note is Carl's no longer
now evolved supernatural mental capacity fully realized, capitalizing on his role as the ultimate psyop weapon. Aside from the Starship
Troopers core, the
film is populated by halfway interesting but largely forgettable troopers who amount to little more than fodder ("meat for the grinder" as the first
film would call them) for the bugs, albeit fodder with names like "Holy Man" and "Ice Blonde" and "Bugspray" and "Ratzass" and "Trig" and "Mech"
and "Hero." There are some interesting dynamics and adequate backstories, particularly for "Trig" who battles the bugs with a "homemade" .50
caliber rifle that kills the fiends with a single shot. She keeps a precise count to he number of enemies killed and wishes for her riflescope to be
buried back home if and when the bugs finally get the best of her.
Invasion smartly carries over the tone and feel of the original film, albeit within an evolved universe where the soldiers wear heavier armor
that protects them head-to-toe but doesn't seem to do much good against the bugs' sharp appendages and knack for removing limbs. Otherwise,
the world is recognizable
Troopers, particularly the massive spacecraft that play a prominent role throughout the film. The picture's as blood-soaked as any of the
movies, unafraid to digitally depict severed limbs, guts, and plenty of green insect goo. It's not as stomach-churning as the real-world phony gore so
prevalent in Starship Troopers the original, but
when the troopers march through a zero-gravity vessel and witness body parts and blood droplets floating through the air, it's as chilling and
dramatically intense as any moment in the series. It's at times like this that Invasion feels almost as much like an adventure from the
world of James Cameron's Aliens as it does Heinlein's and Verhoeven's Starship Troopers,
but it's a marriage made in geeky Sci-Fi heaven and makes the movie all more appealing on a base entertainment level.
The movie never really falters and the plot never much slows, even if Invasion is at its best when it's focused on story and drama rather
than action and violence. The shoot-em-up scenes are repetitive and, while not a drag on the story, slow things down when extended beyond their
welcome, particularly if they involve only clusters of troopers standing and shooting, sometimes running, in scenes that all seem to bleed together.
On the plus side, the story's fairly interesting with a few novel and neat twists and turns that come unexpectedly and elevate the movie beyond
standard DTV cash-in dreck, and sometimes by quite a bit. It's a disappointment that Invasion lacks the satire of the original, but audiences
interested in the martial and political future world of Starship Troopers will enjoy the movie quite a bit. The biggest downfall is the
animation. It's dreary and dull and looks like a PlayStation 3 video game cut scene -- albeit a very well-made cut scene -- extended to ninety
minutes. It's hard to sit there and not pick up the controller thinking, "OK, any minute now the game will kick back in and I'll be blasting bugs first
person shooter style."
Starship Troopers: Invasion slams onto Blu-ray with a good, not great, high definition transfer. The movie has an edgy, slightly noisy look to it.
It's somewhat dull and built on layers of gray, largely, with splashes of dim colors seen via skin tones, red blood, blue starship engines, and little odds and
ends scattered throughout. It's hardly a vibrant animated film, but the color scheme suits the world nicely. Detail is satisfactory, but sometimes
disappointing. Human faces lack complexity, but viewers will enjoy wear and tear on mech suits, faded bluing on weapon corners, and intricate gore
effects seen on dead and maimed humans and bugs alike. Blacks -- and much of the movie -- play with a slightly washed-out, overly-bright appearance.
There's scattered light banding and some evident shimmering throughout. This is far removed from the bright, intricately-detailed, massive-budget CGI
animation from Pixar, DreamWorks, or Sony, but it suffices in the recreation of a large-scale and extended video game cutscene.
Starship Troopers: Invasion blasts onto Blu-ray with a satisfying DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This is a balanced, entertaining
presentation that's not over-the-top, excessively loud, or always perfectly spaced and seamlessly immersive, but listeners should enjoy all the action
sound effects scattered throughout the film. Generally, there's a fair sense of space through the large vessels in which most of the action occurs.
Heavy mechanized footfalls and screeching bugs seem to extend well off to the sides and into the backs, nicely transforming the soundstage into the
futuristic and deadly environment. Ambient and action sound effects alike, such as large crashes and subtle beeps and alarms as heard on the bridge of a
ship, help in creating a realistic atmosphere. Gunfire is nicely pronounced, whether rolling and rattling automatic weapons or the concussing blasts from
the .50 caliber rifle. Bass is fairly potent and music enjoys good front-side spread and nice clarity. Dialogue is generally fine, clear and not often lost
under surrounding effects. It can be a bit muffled and scratchy from underneath helmets, but that's to be expected. Overall, this is an enjoyable
presentation, one that's not an Action movie extravaganza but rather a good all-around performer that should please most listeners.
Starship Troopers: Invasion contains the following bonus content:
Audio Commentary: Director Aramaki and Sony Pictures' Ishizuka share a balanced and informative commentary, covering a
wide-range of topics centered around the film and the Starship Troopers universe. They discuss the film's look and style, ties to the original
prop design, blood and guts, the new and returning characters and character development, the motion capture performances, and plenty more. Fans
will enjoy this commentary a great deal. In Japanese with optional English, Chinese Traditional, and Portuguese subtitles.
Conceptual Art Gallery (1080p): Hand-drawn images and computer renderings of people, places, and things from the movie.
Deleted Scenes (1080p, 1:36): "I Don't Like Funerals" and Marzijon Wormhole.
Gag Reel (1080p, 3:24).
The Making of Starship Troopers: Invasion (1080p, 1:19:59): A comprehensive eleven-part Documentary that examines the
process of bringing Starship Troopers: Invasion to the screen, from the original source novel and digging through the Sony archives for
Starship Troopers to putting the finishing touches on this film. Segments include Genesis, Archive, Character Design, Motion Capture,
Powersuits, Bugs, Ships, Animation, Backgrounds, Compositing, and Music. In both Japanese and English with optional English, Chinese
Traditional, and Portuguese subtitles.
Though it looks like a video game cut scene extended to ninety minutes, Starship Troopers: Invasion impresses with a good story, returning
characters, and a hodgepodge of serviceably interesting yet ultimately forgettable new ones. The movie's at its best when following the dramatic arc and
not blasting away at
wave upon wave of bugs. It's nice to see the return of Rico, Carmen, and Carl, all grown up and as well-established leaders in the Starship
Troopers world. This
would have made for a pretty sweet live-action movie on the same budget and style as the 1997 original, but for an animated adventure it's not half bad
and it's easily the best Starship Troopers since Paul Verhoeven's genre masterpiece. Sony's Blu-ray release of Starship Troopers:
Invasion earns the same grade across all categories. Everything's very good, but nothing's great. That's enough to earn this release a
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Next month, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring Starship Troopers: Invasion to Blu-ray. Building off director Paul Verhoeven's cult sci-fi classic Starship Troopers, this CG-animated adventure details the continuing struggles between the human Federation ...
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