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Re: [OT] Re: Tired of the stupid comments about SST... you will be.

From: db-ft@w... (David Brewer)
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 1999 23:27:29 GMT
Subject: Re: [OT] Re: Tired of the stupid comments about SST... you will be.

In message
<> Brian
Burger writes:
> On Sun, 7 Mar 1999, David Brewer wrote:
> > In message
<> Brian
Burger writes:
> > 
> > > The movie has silly satire pretending to be politics, military
tactics at
> > > the 'drooling moron' level of sophistication, and so many
> > > as to be laughable.  
> > I often wonder that people don't more often connect the first
> > clause in this sentence, with the second.
> > The tactics are at a "drooling moron" level... do you think the
> > (*ex-marine*) director was trying to make a point or two? This is
> > a satirical film, after all.
> Good point, actually. Still, given that the book isn't satirical, the
> movie was a _major_ departure from the book. Most people were
> something closer to the book; that's why we dislike the movie so
> much.

Ah, come on. Most people who saw the film never even heard of the
book. Sci-fi geeks like us make up a small proportion of the sci-
fi film audience.

> > > You'll be surprised at how much
> > > Verhoven got wrong. True story: Verhoven has never even read
> > > the book, and was only interested in the fairly-well-known name to
> > > his own version of the story, which contains what he claims are
> > > 'essential elements' of the book's story.
> > Not true. Verhoeven states that he read part of the book. You
> > don't, so to speak, have to eat the whole apple to know that it's
> > rotten.
> If you're going to be making a movie based on a fairly well known
> you'd think that taking the time to read the book and at least try and
> understand the author would be considered important.

Really? Did you see the Three Musketeers with Charlie Sheen and
Tim Curry? Any Dracula or Frankenstein film? Anything of P.K.
Dick? H.P. Lovecraft? etc. etc. etc. Am I right in recalling a
film of 1984 with a *happy* Hollywood ending?

I did like L.A. Confidential, but it was a shame they cut out Walt
Disney's secret psychopathic serial killer illegitamate son from
the story.

> All Mr. Verhoven
> wanted was a vehicle for his own views; SST happened to provide a
> well-known title for him, and enabled him to plagarize character names
> such.

Non-rhetorical question: what do think Verhoeven's views actually
are? I certainly can't tell from the film. The film may be
satirical, but, unlike the earlier Robocop, or Total Recall, the
society being satirised is shown to work very well; to be stable,
fair, prosperous and capable of self-defence. What more did RAH
say himself?

Verhoeven also, reportedly, thinks Hitler is very misunderstood.
He'll never get any money for the film project. Penury may force
him direct another few huge American sci-fi blockbusters.
> > One presumes that he read numerous treatments and scripts.
> Which means that it's not just Verhoven who screwed up the movie, but
> whole crop of idiots. Wonderful.

...and the kicker is, they each get paid more than everybody on
this list *combined*.

> > The point Verhoeven made time and time again in interviews is that
> > he made the film because he was interested in how this crypto-
> > fascist society of Heinlein's would be very successful at
> > repelling an external threat. The film's political message is
> > wonderfully ambiguous.
> Ambiguous? How about overblown, excessively corny, and badly done? that the book or the film you're describing?...

> > It was the producers who jumped on SST as a vehicle for a giant
> > insect sci-fi film.
> Yes, and they failed there too. SST: the movie is a lousy film on a
> of levels: It's a terrible adaptation of Heinlien's book; AND it's a
> movie just as a movie. '90210 in Space', a friend called it, and he
> right.
> If the movie had been a decent movie while still being a lousy version
> Heinlein's novel, that wouldn't have been so bad. Ditto if it'd been
> other way around. It failed at both levels, however.

Well, we'll have to disagree. It's the only filmable version of
the novel that I can imagine, and a spledid romp. Good looking
people, a fated (yet tragic) romance, lots of nameless goons get
slaughtered in several humungous gore-fests, a few laughs here and
there, CGI that wasn't crap, spaceships. Worked for me.

The romantic shennanigans are the centre of the film's story,
providing the plot's turning points and resolution, so I guess the
90210 jibe is fair... ish. I don't think 90210 character get their
brain's sucked out by insects to resolve a plot line very often
(but then I've never seen 90210, so I could be wrong).

> > > This is from "The Making of SST" which has an interview w/
> > A *very* funny book. The producers claim that they are only
> > interested in maing a faithful version of the book. They then get
> > to explain why almost all of it gets thrown out. Verhoeven at
> > least rescues the politics, IIRC he stuck in one or two of the
> > diatribes almost word-for-word from the book.
> Someone actually has the gall to claim they were making a faithful
> of the book? Merde...

Yes. I was laughing at them, not with them.

> Verhoven butchers the politics. Look, I don't agree with most of the
> politics Heinlein uses in SST (or most of the rest of his politics),
> it was presented seriously. Verhoven can't be bothered. He's only
> interested in the satirical aspects.

I don't agree. He does present the politics, and it isn't just to
say "this would be bad" or "this would be good". How dull would
that be? Satire is a *serious* way of presenting politics, it just
isn't a very *respectful* way of presenting politics.

> (I'm not sure the politics of the
> book _could_ have been presented seriously in a film. They're kind of
> and fairly involved, and Hollywierd isn't good at involved, odd,
> politics...)

A-ha. We agree on something, at last. Frankly, you could either
make SST to be laughed with, or laughed *at*.

I also get bragging rights on this point, because loooooong ago on
this list, before the film was out, I proposed a satirical SST as
the only way to do it. Validation, I love it.

> Heinlien seems to have believed most of the politics he put into the
> They're damned strange politics, and not consistent or perhaps
> but he was taking them seriously at the time AFAIK.

I'm not sure I agree. Whether RAH believed all the BS from SST is
one of those interminable debates. The book is, I think, a
reaction to the looming spectre of push-button, nuclear warfare
from which the hoi-poiloi are completely excluded. This is not a
very democratic prospect. Writing a novel emphasising this doesn't
necessarily mean that you want to disenfranchise honest tax-paying

> The book would
> probably have been more interesting and readable if he'd left the
> politics out and concentrated more on the story, but he didn't, so any
> adaptation needs to deal with the politics seriously, or actually show
> that they wouldn't work. Verhoven does neither...

Art is ambiguous. Satire isn't there to provide answers, but to
ask questions, disrepectfully.

> Enough on this. I've gone on too much, it's now way way OT. I don't
> Verhoven did a good job; you might think he did, but never the twain
> meet...

Indeed. We shall have to agree to disagree. I had to be dragged to
the cinema to see it and I am grateful to the dragger.

David Brewer

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