(US); 2000; Rated PG-13; 121 Minutes
John Travolta: Terl
Barry Pepper: Jonnie Goodboy Tyler
Forest Whitaker: Ker
Kim Coates: Carlo
Sabine Karsenti: Chrissie
Richard Tyson: Robert the Fox
Produced by Jonathan D. Krane, Elie Samaha, Andrew Stevens
and John Travolta; Directed by Roger Christian; Screenwritten
by Corey Mandell and J. D. Shapiro; based on the novel by
L. Ron Hubbard
by DAVID KEYES
Earth,” opens with a conviction that 1000 years of Earth’s
existence has been commanded by a race of aliens called
the Psychlos, who support dreadlocks and look like they
could be futuristic members of ZZ Top. The big mystery behind
all of this is not “how” or “when,” but “why”—why would
aliens that are described (more accurately, fabricated)
as databases of intellect want the human race under control?
What have we ever done to them? Better yet, why do filmmakers
continuously encourage stories like these, where the questions
never cease and gradually grow larger?
but such misgivings are only a taste of the disaster that
is “Battlefield Earth.” There are bad movies, really bad
movies, and movies so rotten that calling them bad would
be an understatement. There is no denying that this film
falls in the latter category: it’s an ugly, idiotic, pretentious
and dreary little film that, if anyone cares, has been anticipated
by many because of its name value. Based on the novel by
L. Ron Hubbard, who is famous for his school of scientology,
this production has been circling the rumor mill for years,
in anticipation of the millions of readers who proudly call
it one of the greatest science fiction stories ever made
(a friend even says it’s the “Lord Of The Rings” of sci-fi).
When trailers debuted a few months ago, the sight of John
Travolta supporting dreads and a blue skin-tone sparked
immediate interest. Neither them nor those who hadn’t seen
the teasers, though, could have possibly imagined the end
result being the worst summer blockbuster since “Speed 2:
is Terl, a member of the elite Psychlos alien race who has
been appointed to head of security at the alien base on
Earth. The year is 3000 (ever notice how futuristic films
take place at the dawn of new millenniums or centuries?),
and Terl is generally unhappy with his position. But he
cannot do anything about it because orders come from Home
Base. When a human prisoner is brought in after being captured
in nearby mountainous terrain (the poor unfortunate man
here is played by Barry Pepper), Terl is inspired, I guess,
to occupy his time by stealing all sorts of gold for himself.
Branching from this premise are several equally-stupid subplots
that, at one point or another, will have audience members
staring on in utter discomfort and anger.
is shown here as a shadow of emptiness and ill-fated dreams,
and not just in the visual sense. Buildings from the great
metropolises on Earth’s landscape stand in decay, with piles
of rubble encompassing their foundations. The idea of seeing
earth in this condition surely is interesting, but with
“Battlefield Earth,” images are too muddy, dark, and swiftly
photographed to appreciate. It’s as if someone in the visual
effects department said, “let’s take the darkest scenes
from ‘Armageddon’ and just add remnants of buildings here
and there to cover up any similarities.”
more to the flaws than that, though. But to conserve possibly
valuable time, I shall describe its other inadequacies without
any hesitation. The story is bloated and inane and lacks
tremendous details. The characters are as complex as a tube
sock. The cinematography is overly swift and indistinct.
And the conversational tone is like listening to Howard
Stern on helium, with each member of the Psychlos speaking
in this irritable voice that has the same effect as scraping
fingernails across a chalkboard. This only adds to our frustration,
though, from them referring to us humans as “man-animals.”
Exactly what is the significance of the “man-animals” label,
anyway? I scribbled a couple of possibilities down on a
pad of paper, but the mind went blank without much thought.
Sitting through this endless pile of crap, I can guarantee
my mind wasn’t the first thing to give out, either.
is no problem with sci-fi pictures in which humans are the
target of a takeover by creatures unknown to the world.
But there are some really really bad ones like this out
there, and they should be targets in shooting galleries.
Like “Independence Day” and “Mars Attacks,” “Battlefield
Earth” bathes in a pool of utter ridiculousness and cheesy
visual styles, then stands up expecting everyone to admire
it. At least with the other films, something actually happened
in the two-hour running time.
David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.