(Comment by Donnelly Black)
First, ignore the book, we know Paul Verhoeven didn't even read it - think about what's in the movie.
Quote: "The world in the movie needs compulsory military service to stave off bug invasion."
First, the bugs aren't invading. The humans are invading THEIR planet(s). No bug is seen anywhere close to human-occupied planets, such as Earth. Klendathu is a bug world. Planet P has only a small human outpost. The bugs are not a threat unless the humans trespass on their planets.
Second, the world in the movie needs extreme militarism to maintain the atmosphere of fear that fascism needs. Military service is not compulsory anywhere in the movie; the kids join up of their own accord after the destruction of Buenos Aires.
Quote: "The bugs ARE an innarguable threat that MUST be confronted with military action."
Not true. Back to the destruction of Buenos Aires by a meteor, for example. The *government* *news* *report* (but they wouldn't lie, would they?) in the movie SAYS the asteroid was launched at Earth by the bugs. But when we see the bugs for real, there's no indication that they are even capable of this - they're animals - they're barely sentient and aren't even close to sapient. That one of the plasma bugs takes out a starship above the planet is *an accident*, mainly caused by the clustering of the ships - they were bound to hit something.
"The people of earth seem to be responding pretty reasonably to the threat and their willingness to submit to the state never really backfires."
No and no, for the reasons above. Someone upthread hit it right on: ST the movie is WW2 from the Nazi viewpoint. Note the addition of the federal government - not in the book. Note the information given about reasons is from that goverment. The bugs are the scapegoat for the society's militarism and the culture that engenders - they are not a threat - they're closer to the witch in Monty Python & The Holy Grail.
Hence, satire. And consequently a big practical joke on the audience. Listen, audience! It can be summed up by your perception of what's going on in the final scene.
What the audience sees: after a massive unprovoked attack on the humans, and after their valiant battle with the enemy on their turf, a high-ranking government officer, with psychic powers, mentally connects with and declares victory over the captured and quaking mastermind of an evil invading alien race, who just recently sucked the brains (war intelligence) out of a human. The war continues, and will keep on until all the bugs are exterminated! Stay the course!
What ACTUALLY is shown: after a natural disaster, the humans blame some subhuman alien beings they have already been conditioned to hate, then invade their unprotected planet and after a battle involving tactical nukes against chitin, a leather-costumed dickhead who got lucky in some guessing games declares victory over a big insect. And the war continues - to kill more and more humans and bugs. For some reason.
And you bought it, audience!
Doogie's making shit up! He doesn't have psychic powers, because there's no such thing *even in the movie*, but you, audience, thought there was, just like Rico and the other soldiers! The Brain Bug isn't a leader or mastermind, but you, audience, thought it was, even though there's nothing to suggest that. It's just an insect queen (FFS it even looks like a giant vagina). And "It's afraid!"? Like the rest of the bugs, it barely knows it's alive. The meteor was just random chance, Earth had no defences, but instead of blaming the goverment that should have put defences up or warned people to evacuate, the humans blamed it on the bugs - so you, audience, were duped along with the inhabitants of Earth, and thought it WAS the bugs that did it instead of thinking "that makes no sense"...! The bugs weren't attacking the outpost because they hate you and want to invade Earth, they were driving out intruders - you'd do exactly the same, but you blame *them* for it?!
Textbook satire - it's even better than RoboCop in that regard - written and directed by the same two people, fer cry-eye. If you bought RoboCop as a satire, then this one follows as an exercise for the reader. I mean, viewer.