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Why Neil Patrick Harris Believes Starship Troopers Has Held Up After All These Years

1997's "Starship Troopers" may appear at first to be a brain-dead science fiction blockbuster, complete with jingoistic military heroes and a triumphant ending. However, director Paul Verhoeven didn't even finish reading the Robert Heinlein source material (via Empire). Instead, Verhoeven, a Dutchman who had witnessed World War II bombings as a boy (via Britannica), made a subtle, bleak satire of totalitarian values and propaganda. His intention, as he told The Guardian, was to "make a movie about fascists who aren't aware of their fascism."

For instance, the Federation government in "Starship Troopers" is run by military veterans, who spur the teenage heroes into joining the army so they can kill — or be killed by — giant alien bugs. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) fits into a blue-eyed, blonde-haired model of the Nazis' ideal Aryan, and eventually Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris) emerges in a uniform similar to the SS. 25 years later, Neil Patrick Harris thinks "Starship Troopers" has held up, though it isn't because of the film's ideas.

Harris praised the film's incredible visual effects

In a GQ video interview where the actor went over the highlights of his career, Neil Patrick Harris clarified why he loved his role in "Starship Troopers." Harris explained that the visual effects and CGI bugs still look great several decades after the film's completion. In comparison, when he looks at CGI animation made after this one, "it looks very much like a fake entity." The actor naturally had to compliment visual artist Phil Tippett as well, who was behind the animation and design of the aliens seen in the movie.

However, while Harris had fun playing the brainy government agent in a sinister all-black uniform, he was also bummed he didn't get to be part of the greater action on set. "Everyone else got to go with Captain Dale Dye on training missions, and bond together as this group," he lamented. At least Harris wasn't on set constantly having to deal with what he called "Jake Busey's errant shots." He'd have a much meatier science fiction action role years later anyway, as the sinister Analyst in "The Matrix Resurrections."