Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles: The Pluto Campaign

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This collection of episodes from the TV Show of the same name, without the campaign added, starts one of the best adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s work Starship Troopers for viewing. In this adaptation the MI Marines are actually wearing power suits that protect them from the elements, shields them from radiation and keeps them alive in environments where they would not be able to otherwise. For the DVD the producers have removed all of the beginning and end credits so that you are able to watch the whole as a movie. The show was done in such a way that the episodes would run into one another and build off each other. While it is true that they each would stand on their own they are easier to understand and grasp when they are show all together as one film. They take the best parts of the Starship Troopers movie and then add in more realism and accuracy from the book. You might think that insane but to paraphrase a quote from Doc, “We are fighting giant bugs on freaking Pluto, We are all insane.”

The film starts shortly after a bug attack on Pluto by SICON. It is the attack from the bugs that brings the whole world together to focus on something other then general bickering. It was the thinking of SICON Intelligence that Pluto must be the home of the bugs and they want to make sure that they are all taken care of so that they are not a threat to Earth or any of the colonies of the Federation. They couldn’t be farther from the truth as they find out later but till they do find out they believe that killing off all the bugs on Pluto will take care of the problem once and for all. One good thing for the military came out of Operation Pest Control was that it made it cool and not just patriotic to join up for Federal Service. It gave them the troops that they needed to be able to take care of the problem that was on Pluto. That is where Roughnecks Starship Troopers Chronicles The Pluto Campaign starts, with Dizzy Flores, Johnnie Rico and Carl Jenkins reunite after graduation from high school and basic training. It is also where they find out that their old high school teacher Jean Razak is now their lieutenant.

With the Roughnecks on Pluto we see how they start to mesh and bond as a unit, becoming the elite MI unit that they are. Because of their accomplishments they are seen as a well disciplined unit that can get any job done that is given to them. They might be able to always get the job done but that is because they are driven by Razak and given leeway enough to bicker amongst themselves when it doesn’t interfere with the mission. If it does Razak steps in and sets them straight. The whole unit has a deep respect and almost love for there lieutenant they just don’t really know it as that, most think they are just scared of the guy. The truth is that those serving under Razak have the best brought out of them by the man. This show isn’t all nice and happy without character flaws, nothing could be farther from the truth. Each member of the unit has their own quirks and idiosyncrasies that make it all the more interesting.

Cpl. Richard ‘Doc’ LeCroix is a big man of color with a wit that is both dry and funny at the same time. He has some of the best one liners in the whole series and even dry will have you laughing at them and not really understanding why. He adds humor and relief from the stresses of the missions and is also the squads medic. No matter what the injury he will patch you up with skill and precision and give you some humor to go with it even if it is at your own expense.

Sgt. Francis Brutto is a taskmaster and a brute just like his name, though sometimes it sounds like they call him Brunno from time to time. He yells all his orders as if he is trying to impress the LT as he tries to motivate and bully the troopers around him. You could say he is the strong arm of the unit and takes every opportunity to prove it.

Cpl. Jeff Gossard is almost kid like in how he behaves but is quick to make sure that it doesn’t get in the way with anything that he has to do. He is the comic to Doc’s dry humor and the two are almost never apart as they are also the 2 that man the marauders that are in the squad. Marauders are mechanized power suits that also have heaver artillery added to them. They are not with the unit all the time but when they are close to base they are almost always in them and on missions that need the extra fire power.

Robert Higgins is also called Paper Boy throughout the show as he is a news reporter that has been assigned to the Roughnecks to document and film the missions for News Feeds back home and throughout the Federation. He is as clumsy as he is curious about everything going on. He is fresh out of journalist school and doesn’t even know how to use a rifle. It gets so bad at one point that Razak is going to have him reassigned but Rico steps in and at least gets the Paper Boy able to point his weapon down range and kill something now and then.

The Pluto Campaign is the very best place to start with the Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles series and will let you grow to know the characters in the way that they meet and grow with each other. Even from the beginning we see the want Johnny has for Carmen and the desire the Dizzy has for Johnny. Rico thinks of Dizzy as a sister, his words, but gets jealous when she turns her attentions to Jeff. It is almost funny how they are all so clueless about each others feelings. This really is one fun yet serious ride through Robert Heinlein’s work and one you would want to keep to watch over and over through the years.

One thing to keep in mind with the series, this really is one of the first shows to really be able to fully use CGI graphics in a truely realistic way and not just look cartoonie, no offense to Mainframe and ReBoot. You could say that Starship Troopers Chronicles is a somewhat serious adaptation of the work in a way that will be able to make it survive for a very long time to come.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆