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CG Animation Film from the Director of "Appleseed"
on August 7, 2012
"Starship Troopers: Invasion," fourth feature film of the series, is a computer animated film directed by Shinji Aramaki, a Japanese animation director, best known for "Appleseed" (2004). Three principal characters from the Starship Troopers series, Carmen Ibanez, Carl Jenkins and Johnny Rico appear, but their roles are relatively small, in the film's first half in particular.
The story goes like this. Earth Federation Force troopers led by Lieutenant Tony Daugherty (Sam Roman) are sent to Federation's outpost Fort Casey that was attacked by bugs. One of the survivors is Carl Jenkins (Justin Doran), ministry of Paranormal Warfare, who takes over the command of the Starship John A. Warden from Carmen Ibanez (Luci Christian), and leaves the bug-infested base without telling what happened.
After the mission, Johnny Rico (David Matranga) - he is General Rico now - gives a new assignment to Carmen and the trooper team on the fast attack ship Alesia. John A. Warden is missing, and they have to find the starship and Carl.
The story of the 89 minute film is fast-paced but sometimes confusing and cluttered with too many characters. The weapon designs (trooper's powered suit and Marauders) are impressive, and so are the production designs of the starships, but CG-rendered human characters leave much to be desired. The faces of the characters barely escape the so-called "uncanny valley," but still sometimes look lifeless.
The combat scenes are mostly acceptable, but don't expect intensity of Paul Verhoeven's live-action version, which remains the best of the series. The battle scenes with Arachnids get repetitious as the story goes on, and sometimes movements of bugs and humans look a bit awkward. And ... do we need a shower scene here? (The film includes nudity.)
"Starship Troopers: Invasion" is executive-produced by Casper Van Dien and Edward Neumeier, the writer of all three "Starship Trooper" films. Casper Van Dien, who played Johnny Rico in the first and third films, does not appear in this animated film, which was shot in Japan in May, 2011, using the motion capture technologies. The film's visuals are by Sola Digital Arts, Inc., a studio founded in Japan in 2010. The script is written by Flint Dille known for his animation and video game writing.
"Starship Troopers: Invasion" is an OK animation film with some nice combat scenes, undermined by the creaky storyline and occasionally ineffective visuals.