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PAUL VERHOEVEN, MEDIA MANIPULATION, AND HYPER-REALITY

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Date Issued:
2011
Abstract/Description:
Dutch director Paul Verhoeven is a polarizing figure. Although many of his American made films have received considerable praise and financial success, he has been lambasted on countless occasions for his gratuitous use of sex, violence, and contentious symbolism - 1995s Showgirls was overwhelmingly dubbed the worst film of all time and 1997s Starship Troopers earned him a reputation as a fascist. Regardless of the controversy surrounding him, his science fiction films are a move beyond the conventions of the big blockbuster science fiction films of the 1980s (E.T. and the Star Wars trilogy are prime examples), revealing a deeper exploration of both sociopolitical issues and the human condition. Much like the novels of Philip K. Dick (and Verhoeven's 1990 film Total Recall - an adaptation of a Dick short story), Verhoeven's science fiction work explores worlds where paranoia is a constant and determining whether an individual maintains any liberty is regularly questionable. In this thesis I am basically exploring issues regarding power. Although I barely bring up the term power in it, I feel it is central. Power is an ambiguous term; are we discussing physical power, state power, objective power, subjective power, or any of the other possible manifestations of the word? The original Anglo-French version of power means to be able,asking whether it is possible for one to do something. In relation to Verhoeven's science fiction work each demonstrates the limitations placed upon an individual's autonomy, asking are the protagonists capable of independent agency or rather just environmental constructs reflecting the myriad influences surrounding them. Does the individual really matter in the post-modern world, brimming with countless signs and signifiers? My main objective in this writing is to demonstrate how this happens in Verhoeven's films, exploring his central themes and subtext and doing what science fiction does: hold a mirror up to the contemporary world and critique it, asking whether our species' current trajectory is beneficial or hazardous.
Title: PAUL VERHOEVEN, MEDIA MANIPULATION, AND HYPER-REALITY.
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Name(s): Malchiodi, Emmanuel, Author
Janz, Bruce, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2011
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Dutch director Paul Verhoeven is a polarizing figure. Although many of his American made films have received considerable praise and financial success, he has been lambasted on countless occasions for his gratuitous use of sex, violence, and contentious symbolism - 1995s Showgirls was overwhelmingly dubbed the worst film of all time and 1997s Starship Troopers earned him a reputation as a fascist. Regardless of the controversy surrounding him, his science fiction films are a move beyond the conventions of the big blockbuster science fiction films of the 1980s (E.T. and the Star Wars trilogy are prime examples), revealing a deeper exploration of both sociopolitical issues and the human condition. Much like the novels of Philip K. Dick (and Verhoeven's 1990 film Total Recall - an adaptation of a Dick short story), Verhoeven's science fiction work explores worlds where paranoia is a constant and determining whether an individual maintains any liberty is regularly questionable. In this thesis I am basically exploring issues regarding power. Although I barely bring up the term power in it, I feel it is central. Power is an ambiguous term; are we discussing physical power, state power, objective power, subjective power, or any of the other possible manifestations of the word? The original Anglo-French version of power means to be able,asking whether it is possible for one to do something. In relation to Verhoeven's science fiction work each demonstrates the limitations placed upon an individual's autonomy, asking are the protagonists capable of independent agency or rather just environmental constructs reflecting the myriad influences surrounding them. Does the individual really matter in the post-modern world, brimming with countless signs and signifiers? My main objective in this writing is to demonstrate how this happens in Verhoeven's films, exploring his central themes and subtext and doing what science fiction does: hold a mirror up to the contemporary world and critique it, asking whether our species' current trajectory is beneficial or hazardous.
Identifier: CFH0003844 (IID), ucf:44697 (fedora)
Note(s): 2011-05-01
B.A.
Arts and Humanities, Other
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Paul Verhoeven
Neil Postman
Michel Foucault
Hyper-Reality
Media Manipulation
Robocop
Total Recall
Starship Troopers
Noam Chomsky
autonomy
liberty
freedom
Showgirls
Basic Instinct
Ricky Gervais
Bill Hicks
Videodrome
David Cronenberg
television
news
Technopoly
Amusing Ourselves to Death
Discipline and Punish
Manufacturing Consent
Simulacrum and Simulation
War Porn
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Peter Weller
Nancy Allen
Ronny Cox
Michael Ironside
Casper Van Dien
Denise Richards
Roger Ebert
ED-209
OCP
Federal Network
Arachnids
The Southern Agrarians
John Carpenter
Isaac Asimov
Robert Heinlein
Philip K. Dick
Marshall McLuhan
Michael Moore
Roger and Me
Slavoj Zizek
Violence
The Medium is the Message
We Can Remember it For You Wholesale
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFH0003844
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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