Could 'Total Recall's' Failure Kill the New 'Starship Troopers' Reboot?

November 14, 2012
Source: The Playlist

Starship Troopers

Another day, another remake. Late last year it was reported that Starship Troopers was possibly getting a reboot/remake, thanks to (most likely) the buzz from the recent animated sequel and a general interest in Paul Verhoeven's classic sci-fi work. At the time, Len Wiseman's Total Recall remake was tracking well, it had a lot of good early buzz, but in the end it fared poorly at the box office. The film only earned a measly $58 million this summer and now word from the man himself, Mr. Verhoeven, is that this might've killed off the Starship Troopers remake, too. Good riddance? Or aw shucks? At least Paul Verhoeven is speaking out.

The update and quote comes directly from Paul Verhoeven, the mastermind behind some of the best sci-fi films from the 80's/90's like RoboCop, Starship Troopers and Total Recall. The Playlist interviewed him recently and spoke briefly about the remakes/reboots of all of his sci-fi movies (even though they're adapted from original novels). Here's the pertinent quote from him mentioning Starship Troopers being in trouble:

"I don't know if they're going to do 'Starship Troopers' after the failure of 'Total Recall,'" Verhoeven told us. "Yes, they bought the rights, we know that, but I really thought they made a mistake when they did the remake by making it so serious. I'm not so sure [that approach] will work for ['Starship Troopers'] either. I think all of these films are accepted because they don't take themselves so seriously. There's a lightness, you believe it, but we also know it's not true." Co-signed, Mr. Verhoeven.

I'll tell you what the problem is. His name is Neal Moritz - the producer with the rights for these reboots. This guy needs to stop producing movies that aren't Fast and the Furious. I don't care about his history, Moritz is honestly the guy behind why these kind of remakes/reboots turn out so bad. But because has has such a big name in Hollywood (and money), he can scoop up the rights to anything he wants. I never even saw the 2012 Total Recall because I hate Len Wiseman, the director, and I knew the moment he was signed on it would turn out awful. No marketing, nothing they could do, not even two hot actresses could save it from disaster. Maybe Verhoeven should help get this in the hands of someone who will do a good job with it.

Speaking of more sequels/reboots, Verhoeven comments on those too, explaining why he doesn't do them:

"No, no, I was never going to be involved. There was always a plan to do a sequel at Orion, and it never came to anything [for me -- RoboCop 2 was made, in 1990, with Irvin Kershner directing]. As you know, I'm not a big fan of sequels because I've never done them. I've always escaped them narrowly. I think you better not do them. But sometimes there's so much pressure and so much that they offer you – these actors and this and that, a much bigger budget – but I've always been able to avoid the temptation."

I'm glad we finally get to hear something from Paul Verhoeven, because I really miss him. I recently posted a link to the violent RoboCop ED-209 clip with a tweet message saying "I miss 80's/90's Paul Verhoeven. This is one reason why." No one made movies like he did, and it really seems no one ever can make them like he did. Even when they try, even when they throw over $120 million at it. Honestly, you know who would make a great Starship Troopers remake/reboot? Christopher Nolan. Or David Fincher. Or Neill Blomkamp. But they're probably going to hire someone like Len Wiseman who will, once again, turn out a piece of trash that can't come close to touching what Verhoeven delivered in 1997. They can certainly try, but it won't do well.

I'm a huge fan of the original Starship Troopers, and was nervously looking forward to seeing them try and put together a reboot. I'm still worried and was hoping for the best, but this puts a damper on the situation. Maybe it is good riddance. If they can't do it right, then why do it at all? Seems like Paul Verhoeven agrees.

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Total Recali was a failure? Man I seen it with about 8 different people and we all loved it, and I think we know what good movies are... I am shocked. My wife even thought it was kick-ass.

Chris McDermid on Nov 14, 2012


Think it meant box office wise, personally I thought it was shit.

Cody W on Nov 14, 2012


I thought it looked nice but the dialogue and acting felt weak as in every Len Wiseman movie I've seen

syntaxterror on Nov 14, 2012


I loved Total Recall!

Armitage on Nov 28, 2012


Noooooooooooooo! I want another STARSHIP TROOPERS but I want Verhoeven to come back.

Nick Bosworth on Nov 14, 2012


Fuck Verhoeven and his stupid-ass comedy 'stylings". they had as much to do with Heinlein's novel as "My little Pony" does. What was the point of calling it "Starship Troopers?" They could just as well have called it "some cobbled-together haha bullshit by a cynical old Dutchman- LOOSELY BASED ON THE BOOK by Robert Heinlein."

winstongrant on Jul 11, 2013


good riddance

xtheory on Nov 14, 2012


The problem is that it seems alot of directors out there are making movies with the studios kind of pushing in their face saying "here's a script, a bunch of actors and here's some money to do it" without any thought of creative expression and breathing life into their vision. Verhoeven had vision and a wit to his movies which is why they were always such fun to watch. Sure, they were over the top action blockbusters but they brought you into their world. I'd like to think it was the innocence of the 80s and 90s that helped that out but, it probably has more to do with how Hollywood projects their sales targets than actual movie making. This is why we've seen such a surge of independent directors become such a big focus in the more recent years (thanks to the internet as well). Some moviegoers are demanding more than a bunch of money thrown into SFX or 3D gimmicks. Some of us want a story. Some of us want some kind of effort into creating movie magic and suspending disbelief. On side note, I don't think that either Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, or Neill Blomkamp would be a wise choice for a remake of Starship Troopers. Too serious. We need someone with a bit of tongue-in-cheek wit. Ideas?

syntaxterror on Nov 14, 2012


John Carpenter.

grimjob on Nov 14, 2012


If only he was still doing anything good to make me believe in him again. Gimme the John Carpenter of the 80s... or the Sam Raimi of the 80s

syntaxterror on Nov 14, 2012


True. Did you see The Ward? Awful. I was so disappointed.

grimjob on Nov 15, 2012


I think I tried watching the first bit but couldn't get through it. We need another They Live type of movie out of him

syntaxterror on Nov 15, 2012


Good post.

castingcouch on Nov 15, 2012


"Too serious" is JUST what's needed here. the book wasn't funny--and it WORKED. BLOMKAMP FTW. You want comedy, watch the Daily Show.

Winston Grant on Nov 29, 2012


The book was a facist screed. Its important to take the living piss out of morally repugnant stuff like that. Now Joe Haldeman's 'Forever war' - thats something you take seriously.

Patrick Swan on Jun 12, 2013


Baloney. The Earth is attacked by GIANT GODDAMNED BUGS with BRAINS.(all of humanity's worst nightmare..) WE HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM. That's what the book is about. I'm a huge Joe Haldeman fan ,as well--and I get the whole "fighting an endless war across the universe until it gets meaningless"-thousand -year- stare--thing.. Fighting giant bugs that have our extermination as their main goal would UNITE humanity in a way that an endless war with no end in sight would not. A malevolent enemy that opened up with the annihilation of a major city without warning calls for states designed to deal with an external enemy. Fascism? no, more like" Get your shit together,or we will all be EXTERMINATED." that would cut through a lot of bullshit.

winstongrant on Jul 11, 2013


Noooo! I want another Starship Troopers too! The new animated movie is nice btw! Hope he changes his mind! Still havent seen Total Recall but I expect the best though.

Tricky™ on Nov 14, 2012


we can't have another Starship Troopers without Verhoeven, it's pointless.

Lincoln Smith on Nov 14, 2012


No, it's far from pointless; the point would be to have someone who's actually read and understand the source material make a good movie rather than try and re-create the mess that we already have.

Charley Cartee on Apr 16, 2013


He read, understood and REJECTED the source material and made a film to take the piss out of it and the nascent fascist american foreign policy that it fantasises about.

Patrick Swan on Jun 12, 2013


and the message is... if you don't like them, vote with your feet and your wallets. the fewer remakes / reboots you pay to see, the fewer they will make. or they could use the original material as a jumping off point and start with a new title and the legend 'based on the film / original screenplay...' and then craft something with some genuinely new elements. it's a better reason to remake something than improved cgi. plus it treats your audience with a degree of intelligence. Starship Troopers? whatever you think of the film, it's a touchstone in the genre, now. with films like that, or RoboCop, or Total Recall, the brand is already so well known, you're on a hiding to nothing before you even start.

son_et_lumiere on Nov 14, 2012


"and the message is... if you don't like them, vote with your feet and your wallets. the fewer remakes / reboots you pay to see, the fewer they will make." Simple message--I just wish people will figure that out instead of whining away on message boards.

Scopedog on Nov 15, 2012


Dear Paul Verhoeven, Please sign and return my limited edition Alamo Drafthouse Robocop print that I mailed you over a year ago to have signed. Sincerely, Matt

Matt Peloquin on Nov 14, 2012


Hey everybody, Verhoeven didn't invent Starship Troopers, in fact he completely bastardized the very serious investigation into the possible merits of militiristic facism for us as an entire race created by Robert Heinlein, arguably the most brilliant mind scifi has ever seen. This needs a deadly serious take to make people question their views on something almost universally reviled. Pair it with an adaptaion of Stranger in a Strange Land and you'd have an excelent pair of films questioning polar opposite political opinions in ways more brilliant than ever before, which is exactly what Heinlein would have wanted. Not a big action cheesefest like what Verhoeven gave us.

Alexander Nicholas Calvo on Nov 14, 2012


I don't think anyone said Verhoeven "invented" Starship Troopers... but he surely interpreted the story into his own and did something different. I honestly haven't read any Heinlein (though I'm about to start reading some) but I'm certain there's a multitude of his untouched stories just screaming to be adapted. On a side note, I'm reading some stuff by John Scalzi (who some say is the new Heinlein) and think his stories would be easily marketed in some great features.

syntaxterror on Nov 14, 2012


"On a side note, I'm reading some stuff by John Scalzi (who some say is the new Heinlein) and think his stories would be easily marketed in some great features." I still have to give Scalzi a look--did you check out his latest, REDSHIRTS?--but I've heard nothing but good things about him. As for adapting more of Heinlein's works....well, why not turn to animation? Less money, and one can go wild without a massive SFX budget (and let's be honest--you're going to need a lot of CG in most cases). The Japanese studio Sunrise adapted ST back in 1988, and there was an animated mini-series for RED the recent ST film was CGI (but done well, in my opinion).

Scopedog on Nov 15, 2012


agreed. I think if you're going to use CGI to begin with, it should be completely animated. Look at John Carter and how disconnected the CGI and everything looked together. Granted the movie fell short in so many other ways but it could've been more cohesive given that idea. Scifi just lends itself to over the top creative visuals and animation is something that, unfortunately, is still looked at as something for the kiddies.

syntaxterror on Nov 15, 2012


"Scifi just lends itself to over the top creative visuals and animation is something that, unfortunately, is still looked at as something for the kiddies." No disagreement there. One thing I've always loved about anime has been the great SF titles that have been done in that medium, such as AKIRA, GHOST IN THE SHELL, and WINGS OF HONNEAMISE. There are many more, both for film and TV, and some of them stand shoulder to shoulder with the best live action SF, in my view. And I did like JOHN CARTER (don't shoot!!), but your point about that it should have been an animated film does have history behind it--one of the earliest attempts to make a film version of APOM was Bob Clampett's animation project back in the 1930s.

Scopedog on Nov 16, 2012


He didn't interpret it. He made his own movie without reading the source material and repeatedly missed the point. About the only thing they share is the title.

Charley Cartee on Apr 16, 2013


You missed the point. JUst because you've read a book, doesnt mean you agree with its message., In fact you might hate it and want to lampoon it and expose it for what it is.

Patrick Swan on Jun 12, 2013


coulda been worse, think of how hollow ST would have been if michael bay directed it.

Christopher Philip Cinquegrano on Nov 15, 2012

32, he didn't "invent" ST....but what you said is pretty much exactly what I heard from a lot of people back in '97 when the film was released. Many were put off by the satiric elements of the film (and you are right--the book was deadly serious, as was the 1988 anime adaptation). For me, it seemed that the film started getting a better rep after the Iraq invasion in '03. You made some good points, even though I like the film myself (and the film version of THE PUPPET MASTERS.) I still like the film, because it did get people to read the book, and watching it now, it is very interesting to see how the propaganda element mirror our modern media. But if there was to be a remake that was more serious in tone....well, I'm all for that. The book's still going to be around.

Scopedog on Nov 15, 2012


"the possible merits of militiristic facism"

Patrick Swan on Jun 12, 2013


Sony Studios has no bankable franchises and stars left in their slate except for Spidey which needs to go back to Marvel.

Stokdyk on Nov 14, 2012


Starship Troopers on bluray looks 10x better than most films today, a remake would be a poorly CGI'd snoozefest

Dearsleazy on Nov 15, 2012


remake the FPS game...then we'll talk......

Jericho on Nov 15, 2012


The first Starship troopers was awesome. The effects and everything were all great and on point, and it wasn't even made that long ago. I can see remakin some 70's and early 80's movies and even then thats stretchin it. Has this world become that uncreative now we have to rip off other movies over and over like a bad rap album. Talkin to you P-Diddy. That guys ripped off every 80's song ever made.

Christopher Philip Cinquegrano on Nov 15, 2012


Heinlein has written so many great books, why not turn one of those into a movie?

David Banner on Nov 15, 2012


Good idea, but where do we start? I thought THE PUPPET MASTERS was good, but underrated. I guess it would have to depend on many factors, such as the screenplay, director, budget, studios.... And let's face it, you'll always have the crowd that will complain about the adaptation. Can't please everybody.

Scopedog on Nov 15, 2012


Good news. They need to stop remaking those great movies. You can't make them better. Verhoeven's amusing excess is sorely missed in Hollywood today. Everything is so cookie-cutter and sterile. The creative process revolves solely around quadrants and brands and other marketing crap. Movies are suffering for it.

castingcouch on Nov 15, 2012


If they remake StarShip Troopers I will seriously blow something or someone up... Please don't ruin my favorite movie of all time *I know I know, How is this my favorite movie of all time? Through all the bad acting, to the amazing CGI, to the story... There is just something about StarShip Troopers that I love, and cherish,if Hollywood ruins that for me, I will go crazy. Fuck Hollywood and their dumbass remakes, Come up with original Ideas. Originality is lost these days, the last Original film I saw was Cabin In The Woods, and they came out of left field for me. See those are the movies I like, something that is nothing like you expect it to be. Get on a new level Hollywood...

Antonio on Nov 16, 2012


Its not bad acting when your direction to the actors is "Act like stupid brainless morons". Because they are meant to be depicting a fascist society that has eliminated individual thought and raised generations of willing fools on a diet of propaganda and simplified ideas about life.

Patrick Swan on Jun 12, 2013


lowest common denominator; verhoeven's visions are simplified. he is afraid to task his audience- I guess his audience doesn't want to work THAT hard...

William E. Jones on Feb 10, 2013


Verhoeven does not even like Robert Heinlein and his mover is a mockery of the book glad that jackass is not on this project.

Jan Huss on Mar 2, 2013


His Movie IS a mockery of the book. That was the intention. Heinlein was a out and out fascist, who wanted to limit the vote, expand nuclear testing and hated liberal democracy. ST is a paean to militarism. It is a repugnant book with an immoral message; the bugs are Russian people, the MI are noble heroic Americans. Verhoeven is Dutch and lived through the fascist nightmare of WW2. Millions died because of fascism and rampant militarism. Whereever fascism rears its ugly head, whether through propaganda such as on Fox News or in arts & literature by people like Leni Riefenstahl or Robert Heinlein - I'm glad people like Paul Verhoeven are there to expose its nihilistic, dehumanising influence.

Patrick Swan on Jun 12, 2013


Seriously? I just finished watching Total Recall (the remake) and I thought it was pretty brilliant. Maybe for the average movie-goer it doesn't work if it's not corny, but for a real sci-fi fan or someone that enjoys movies with that Bladerunner'ish feel, I thought it was pretty fantastic. It was a thrill a minute throughout the whole thing, and they payed homage to the original in several clever ways. You really should watch a film before you diss it...seriously. Kinda crappy that you're bagging it but you didn't even take the time to watch it.

AAX on Jun 12, 2013


The new Total Recall was garbage. Any updates on the Starship reboot?

Trevor Mnemonic on Nov 17, 2013

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