Star Wars' Phil Tippet was heavily involved in both pictures, though he served as the Director of the sequel, a made for cable movie that then went out on DVD.
The first movie was slap-stick and epic at the same time.
The soundtrack promoted "a struggle for all time," but some of the cornball lines ("He sucked his brains out!") point to the film not taking itself seriously.
Leading ladies Denise Richards and (topless) Dina Meyer added great eye candy to the already rich first film. The starship effects and the bugs were very well done.
The movie is very bloody and supplants any of the Aliens films for being the most grotesque.
Starship Troopers takes you from bootcamp to alien battle fields.
On a serious level, the bugs are distraught by human incursion into their realm as earth tries to colonize out in space. It would seem we invaded their territory. But the idea that these "animals" can hurl asteroids across the galaxy and into the earth is beyond far-fetched (though it is supposed to be).
I have paused to consider how really extraordinary the movie could have been had it taken a hardcore, very serious approach with a more intellectual drama underlying it. Instead, it is campy like Romancing the Stone played itself out, capitalizing on the Indiana Jones movies.
But actually, the second movie does get more hardcore and dramatic. Then as a result, the two films don't really seem to go well with each other.
More on movie 2 as I rewatch it.