September 15th, 2003

Eye of the Dragon

Cinemiscellaney Part I

quelonzia and I happened to catch Aliens on one of the cable movie channels yesterday. We hadn't seen it in years, and I, for one, had forgotten most of the beginning. In fact, I'd forgotten a lot of the beginning. A quick glance at The Internet Movie Database entry revealed why I remembered so little:
not only was this airing uncut, it was the Special Edition, with additional footage that neither of us had seen before. It added a lot of depth to a movie that was already a masterwork in its own right.

Another trivia tidbit from IMDb:
The preparation for the actors playing Colonial Marines included two weeks' training with the S.A.S. (Special Air Service, Britain's elite anti-terrorist force) and reading Robert Heinlein's novel "Starship Troopers".

Pity the preparation for the writer and director of the movie "Starship Troopers" didn't include the latter.

Whatever they did, they did it right. The Marines in that movie have just the right degree of gung-ho esprit de corps without turning into parodies. Aside from a couple of Really Bad Decisions on the part of the Green Lieutenant, the tactics they used looked believable and pragmatic. You don't see a lot of that in horror/monster/SF movies, most of which, in Blish's immortal observation, rely on "problems which would be solved instantly if all of the characters were not idiots." It's refreshing to see a group of capable, competent people fatally overwhelmed by a threat, even after doing almost everything right -- especially after two years of watching the crew of Enterprise bumble around the cosmos unscathed.

I found myself wondering what a James Cameron-directed version of Starship Troopers would look like. Sigh!
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