The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 89 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Chinese (Mandarin Simplified & Traditional), Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
Directed by: Shinji Aramaki
Music by: Tetsuya Takahaski
Written by: Flint Dille
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 28, 2012
The troopers of two starships have joined forces to terminate a massive bug attack at a federation outpost. Before the mission can be completed and the survivors evacuated, one ship abruptly departs and goes inexplicably dark. The remaining battle-hardened troopers race to the rescue, only to discover that the threat from the bugs is about to hit home. With the latest in CGI technology, this film from executive Producer Casper Van Dien and Director Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed) features the return of fan favorite characters Johnny Rico, Captain Ibanez and Carl Jenkins.
A distant Federation outpost Fort Casey comes under attack by bugs. The team on the fast attack ship Alesia is assigned to help the Starship John A. Warden stationed in Fort Casey evacuate along with the survivors and bring military intelligence safely back to Earth. Carl Jenkins, now ministry of Paranormal Warfare, takes the starship on a clandestine mission before its rendezvous with the Alesia and goes missing in the nebula. Now, the battle-hardened troopers are charged with a rescue mission that may lead to a much more sinister consequence than they ever could have imagined...
My introduction to Starship Troopers was on DVD in 1998. I remember reading a review of the DVD and thought it looked like a film that would feature good audio and video quality. It has been a guilty pleasure of mine ever since. The film is based on the book by Robert A. Heinlein. I have not read it but from what I understand the book and film are quite different. Regardless I think that the movie is fine in its own right. It isn’t great cinema but its lots of fun. Director Paul Verhoeven used satire to make historical, military and societal references that were pointed but not deleteriously preachy. For me the film holds up well under repeat viewings. Two sequels followed neither of which came anywhere close to the original so I didn’t hold out much hope when Starship Troopers: Invasion showed up on my doorstep.
This film uses performance (motion) capture along with its CG animation. The plot isn’t very deep and the characters aren’t especially well drawn however having the three main characters in Johnny, Carmen, and Carl from the original story along made that slightly less of an issue. Invasion eschews melodrama and defining moments in favor of getting right down to the action. The narrative quickly sets the stage via a small core cast and a few locations before jumping into the bloodletting. I can’t say that I found it to be a completely involving film but it kept me interested and I did find it to be more rewarding than the previous two films. I think that fans of the original film (as well as the franchise) may appreciate Starship Troopers: Invasion more than the average sci-fi film buff but there may just be enough here to action junkies from nodding off too.
The rating is for violence, language and nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Starship Troopers: Invasion comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.
Looking at the animated style used in this film reminded me very much of Final Fantasy, the spirits within. Characters are drawn similarly and the application of color is much the same although I found colors here to be less satisfying tonally. Images are fairly detailed with smooth but discernible texture and appreciable depth. The color palette isn’t diverse and sticks primarily to darker tones with neutral grays and blacks. Blacks are more like dark gray which leaves much of the film lacking visual punch. Contrast is elevated which boosts bright scenes but not at the expense of robbing them of white detail and visibly gradational grays. This presentation is free from compression related anomalies however I did notice minor banding and light aliasing/moiré here and there. It’s not overtly distracting but won’t be missed by keen eyed viewers. Quite frankly I was surprised to find it in a CG presentation like this.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio surround mix fares better and makes for a decent listening experience. Dialogue is a bit forward sounding with clear intonation that occasionally bordered on sibilant. Robust dynamics coupled with the frequent surround use helps to generate a busy sound field that contains a host of sound effects. Front and rear soundstage integration is very good which enhances directional correlation. I expected to experience more of an aggressive low end with a film like this. While there are instances where bass response has appreciable solidity it never reaches room engaging levels. Be that as it may I would say that the presentation as a whole shines more often than not.
- Filmmaker commentary
- Concept art gallery - Slideshow
- (HD) 2 deleted scenes
- (HD) Gag reel – 3 minutes
- (HD) The making of Starship Troopers – Invasion (11 segments totaling 78 minutes):
- Character design
- Motion capture
- Power suits
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Starship Troopers: Invasion is the fourth installment in the Starship Troopers film franchise. It’s a CG sci-fi action adventure that puts the most positive spin on the concept since the original film which is still by far the best. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures featuring lackluster high definition video, gratifying lossless surround sound and a complimentary supplemental package. If you’re a fan of the series/subject material or are simply curious it’s worth a rental.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package