In 1959, Robert A. Heinlein wrote one of the classic sci-fi stories of all time, Starship Troopers. Though popular, it only ever seemed to generate negative feedback. At the time, the book was controversial for its seemingly militaristic perspective. Many called it an endorsement of fascism, others claiming that it was guilty of both utopianism and racism. Then, in 1997, the pert Denise Richards and clothing-resistant Dina Meyers bounced onto movie screens and made everyone completely forget about all that crap, with the ultra-violent, testosterone-riddled Starship Troopers. But did you know that this wasn’t the first time that a Heinlein story was shat on by Hollywood?
I recently came across an excellent two-page article on The Space Review about the movie featured in MST episode 109, Project Moonbase. Yep, Moonbase is an adaptation of a Heinlein story. Who knew that MST did Heinlein? Not I. (I’m not particularly familiar with the episode, obviously.) Unlike the big-screen Troopers, which dumbed everything down and completely lost the original’s focus, Moonbase didn’t do nearly as much of a disservice to the source material as one might think. The article goes on to point out the film’s surprising strengths and similarities to Heinlein’s original vision, as well as its many cringe-worthy failures, particularly the way it treats gender.
It’s an interesting read for anyone with an interest in the movies that our beloved puppets hurled their poisonous barbs at. Which, to a degree, should be all of you. Give it a read. You’ve got nothing better to do. Trust me.