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Letter to the Hollywood Investigator, by Ed Neumeier, [February 9, 2003]




Dear Ms. Brickmeyer,

It was with great amusement and delight that we -- myself, the producer and the director of the movie Starship Troopers -- read your article of 24 January 2003. As we were misunderstood by most critics, much of the public and many of our friends at the time of the movie's release in 1997, it was gratifying to read an article by someone who clearly understood what we were up to and in turn was able to state it so succinctly.

That the movie would have such prescience about our current situation was something we could not then foresee (although, of course, many would argue it is easy to extrapolate such a dark vision). In fact, the subtext of the adaptation of Robert Heinlein's rather straightforward treatise on right and military might was inspired by three related ideas:

* First, it was an attempt to take on the critical assertion that all action movies are inherently fascistic, thus our shared concept of the movie that War Makes Fascists of us All.

* Second, it was a comment on the nature of media and propaganda (using as it did forms from U.S.-made WW2 propaganda films like Why We Fight and Action in the North Atlantic told within the context of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will) as a means by which public consent is manufactured.

* Third, it was a meditation on the then (1994) current wave of cultural fascism here in the U.S., political correctness, by proposing, as you and no one else has pointed out, a future Earth society that suffers niether from crime, racism or sexism on the surface but succeeds at this only by the imposition of a strict and authoritarian order.





While we may have suffered when Starship Troopers was initially released because we were not willing to underline for the audience and critics that this was, in fact, a movie about the dangers of fascism, it was our feeling then as it is now, that such a satirical (and, in hindsight, subtle) approach was more interesting, more honest and more thought-provoking whereas the latter and common approach would render a movie that was little more than preaching to the choir.

I believe that one reason Starship endures so successfully in its afterlife, finding a growing and loyal audience along with many re-appreciations by the critical community, is for precisely this reason.

Such an approach is not something I recommend if your aim is to make large budget entertainment for mass audiences; here in the U.S., the audience is not fond of ambivalence, but more importantly, neither are the men and women tasked with marketing such product to the world.

Nonetheless, the movie continues to succeed as a rather unique item in the canon of contemporary corporate Hollywood film-making, one that we are certain (because of budget, rating and content) will not be made again anytime soon, and one that makes us consistently smile and ask one another, "How did we ever get away with that?"

    -- Ed Neumeier, Co-producer and screenwriter, Starship Troopers


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