This weekend saw the release of mega-star Tom Cruise’s latest science fiction actioner, Edge of Tomorrow. From the box office numbers, not nearly as many of you went to see is as should have since it only managed third place (though it did top $100 million worldwide, so there’s hope). We here at GFR are in total agreement that it is one of the best movies of the summer, a fantastic mix of action, dark humor, invading aliens, and Tom Cruise dying in a many, many ways. Before you read on, you should step away from your computer and go watch this movie. Maybe buy an extra ticket while you’re at it, just to tell Hollywood that they need to keep making movies like this. Doug Liman’s film is one that wears its influences on its sleeve. As you watch, you notice a variety of scenes and elements that definitely call to mind other notable genre movies. In that spirit, we’ve put together a list of movies to watch, or most likely re-watch, after you see Edge of Tomorrow repeatedly.
First Total Recall, then RoboCop, and now Starship Troopers. Why can’t Hollywood leave Paul Verhoeven alone? While the RoboCop remake isn’t due in theaters until February, Hollywood is starting to work on another remake of a classic Paul Verhoeven science fiction film. This time it’s Starship Troopers. Love it or hate it, the Starship Troopers remake is likely to be the next PG-13 version of a classic rated-R sci-fi film. Or will it?
According to one of the remake’s writers, Zack Stentz, the remake will be closer to the Robert A. Heinlein’s original novel than Paul Verhoeven’s film. Zack Stentz had a long Twitter exchange with film blogger Scott Weinberg about the project, where he described the new approach to the film remake. Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers film took a satirical approach to source material, but Stentz says to expect a more faithful adaptation this time around.
If you’re not a die-hard cinephile, you might know know what “the Criterion Collection” is. The high-end Blu-ray and DVD publisher releases “important classic and contemporary films.” A quick survey of their new and coming soon listings include titles like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, and Richard Linklater’s Slacker. Being a high-falutin’ line as they are, they don’t have nearly as many science fiction films represented as they should. Artist Peter Stults decided to remedy that.
Okay, so he can’t actually make Criterion give fancy-schmancy new releases to flicks like The Matrix and Starship Troopers…but he can ape the visual style of Criterion’s cover art to show what those hypothetical Blu-rays might look like. For instance, check out this classy image that could adorn a Donnie Darko Criterion version. Like many Criterion releases, it’s evocative and symbolic, latching on to important visual elements from the film, in this case the pages from Roberta Sparrow’s The Philosophy of Time Travel.
To tweak a quote from the late Douglas Adams, science fiction is big. Really big. When the potential span of your subject matter encompasses the entirety of space, time, and existence, it makes sense that science fiction often goes big. Giant robots. Giant starships. Giant monsters. But with all that enormity running amok across the genre, how’s a guy to keep track of precisely how big any of it is? Why, with the handy-dandy chart below, created by DeviantArtist lexinator117 and dubbed “Size Comparison of EVERYTHING.” Well, perhaps not “EVERYTHING,” but still enough things to be entertaining.
You can go see the full, ginormous image here, or you can the chart out in chunks below (via Popsci), along with our occasional commentary. You can also click each of the images below for larger versions. It’s also worth noting that Popsci’s editing seems to have left a few of the subjects trimmed out, but you can see the full-size image for where they fit in.
From smallest to largest (with a few exceptions noted), we’ve got:
Let’s all take a trip back to 1997, a time when the name Casper Van Dien didn’t automatically elicit flurries of chuckles or confused stares. This was the year that Paul Verhoeven released Starship Troopers, the masterful adaptation of Robert Heinlein‘s satirical and controversial novel of the same name. 16 years later, the trio behind Rifftrax (former Mystery Science Theater 3000 alums Michael Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy) are bringing their views on Starship Troopers to a theater near you for a live, one-night-only event. You would be a total Van Dien if you decide not to sit this one out.
Rifftrax Live: Starship Troopers takes their humorous commentary to the Belcourt Theater in Nashville, but will be telecast to theaters across the country on Thursday, August 15, presumably so they don’t have to compete with Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Kick-Ass 2 the next night. And while this sounds like something of a niche affair, it’s actually playing in a plethora of cities, so even us small town folks won’t have to drive very far.
Director Paul Verhoeven has certainly had his share of success in the science fiction genre. His sci-fi films such as RoboCop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers have made him a cult icon, and his films ushered in a new era of science fiction movies in the late 1980s. Considering how popular his SF flicks have been, they’re also ripe for the Hollywood remake machine. We’ve already seen one in the abysmal Total Recall remake from director Len Wiseman, and we’re slated to get another one next year with Jose Padilha’s remake of Verhoeven’s 1987 classic RoboCop. Needless to say, Verhoeven is not a fan of this trend.
In an interview with the Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan, the Dutch director opens up about Hollywood’s remakes of his early films. Wiseman’s Total Recall also adapted Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” but the two directors’ approaches couldn’t be more different. Verhoeven succeeded in making a sci-fi classic largely by not taking the source material too seriously. Verhoeven says:
It’s too serious. They took themselves very seriously and didn’t realize that the big story is also strange. And impossible, of course. But, I felt that it was strange. I felt the movie, in some way, should not take itself too seriously. In fact, ultimately, the casting of Arnold — he was already cast before I was there. So I had to take Arnold. I liked the script already, but Arnold was playing the main part. So, take it or leave it. I said I wanted to do it with Harrison Ford, like in Blade Runner. But I might have made a mistake because Blade Runner is also very serious.