Battlefield Earth

"Terrible"

Battlefield Earth Review


There are two things the American film industry should avoid at all costs. One is letting an ambitious actor convert one of his or her favorite novels into a feature film. Two is never greenlight a sci-fi film starring John Travolta. To wit, we present the disaster that is Battlefield Earth.

A science-fiction opus starring the Barbarino of the Actors Guild, Battlefield Earth should be shown only at maximum-security prisons when a prisoner is tossed in solitary for bad behavior. Sci-fi is always a tricky beast: Tight script, a good director, an ensemble cast of decent actors, and the ability to suspend even the most difficult of disbeliefs. Battlefield Earth fails at achieving even one of these attributes.

Here's the "plot." The year is 3000. Mankind has been become an endangered species thanks to the conquest of a race of aliens called the Psychlos (sounds like either the latest clown act from Cirque de Soleil or a white rap group). A small band of humans dwell in radioactive caves located in the Rockies in fear of the "demons" who dwell in the cities below. The Psychlos are strip-mining the Earth for its resources and Terl, played by Travolta, is the head of security for the mining/slave base located in Denver.

A young rogue named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, played with dramatic flair by Barry Pepper, ventures from the safety of the caves into the city to uncover the truth about the "demons." He is promptly captured and taken to the alien base. After several attempts at escape, Johnnie is placed in the middle of an underhanded subplot of Terl's, involving circumventing gold from an exposed vein in the Rockies to his own end. Jonnie, assumed leader of the mining slave group, then manages to attain all Psychlo and human intelligence through a learning machine Terl forces him to use. Then the story just runs along until Jonnie teaches the rest of the humans the basics of trigonometry, the Bill of Rights, how to use a machine gun, and how to fly a Harrier jet. The whole mess concludes with a big, loud, obnoxious gun-and-plane battle that had me praying for the end credits.

Roger Christian, the director of this lumbering beast, must have rented Dune, Blade Runner, Planet of the Apes, Independence Day, Stargate, Beastmaster, the Airwolf episodes, the "V" miniseries, The Matrix, and The Omega Man... and decided to steal every scene he could for Battlefield Earth. Christian even shoots every scene in a weird Dutch angle titled left or right for every frame of the movie! And every scene in the movie ends with a middle wipe -- really.

The Psychlos reminded me of a cross between Jamaican basketball players with bad teeth and bloated hands and Klingon extras working the Star Trek convention circuit. Travolta's acting hasn't been this bad since The Experts or maybe Perfect. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler evolves into William Wallace with lines like "You can have your freedom if you fight!" Then there's the script: The film just never convinces you that the plight of Jonnie in teaching his fellow humans to fight and "take back the planet" would be a difficult task to achieve. Why? Because Terl provides all the necessary tools to incite a revolt -- for no particular reason beside the fact that "humans are stupid."

Terel may be right, you know. Humans made this movie.

All hail the codpiece of John Travolta!



Battlefield Earth

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th May 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $21.4M

Budget: $44M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros., Morgan Creek Productions, Franchise Pictures, JTP Films, Battlefield Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 3%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 139

IMDB: 2.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Jonathan D. Krane, ,

Starring: as Terl, as Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, as Ker, as Carlo, as Chrissy, Christian Tessier as Mickey, Sylvain Landry as Sammy, as Parson Staffer, as Robert the Fox, Christopher Freeman as Processing Clerk, Shaun Austin-Olsen as Planetship, Tim Post as Assistant Planetship / Psychlo Guard, as Bartender, Michel Perron as Rock

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.