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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12
Cast
John Travolta
Barry Pepper
Forest Whitaker
Richard Tyson
Kelly Preston.
Directors
Roger Christian.
Screenwriters
Corey Mandell
JD Shapiro.
Running Time
121 minutes

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Battlefield Earth
Epic sci-fi bunkum with John Travolta.


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Plot
In the year 3000, a human slave rises up against the alien oppressors who have colonised a post-apocalyptic earth.


Review
Given the relationship between the star and the original Earth author, L. Ron Hubbard of barmy pseudo-religion Scientology fame, Battlefield Earth bares more than a passing whiff of a dubious vanity project. After all, Travolta's been trying to get the screen version of the mammoth novel off the ground for a decade. What has finally emerged is a peculiar paradox, science-fiction that feels old-fashioned, its nominal alien overlords must die set-up and B-movie ideas outmoded by the onrush of Matrixs and Phantom Menaces.

Shot in a murky twilight, possibly to hide the sloppy fusion of CGI and modelwork, we are in a familiar desolate futurescape (3000) of crumbling ruins and isolated tribes. The Psychlos - really daft lanky, dreadlocked Tefal heads with rank complexions and hefty codpieces - are a sinister, genocidal race of manipulators and sadists, exploiting Earth for mineral assets, principally gold. Travolta's Terl is a maniacal security chief with a greedy personal agenda (to get off this forsaken world as rich as possible). Pitted against him is Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Saving Private Ryan's Barry Pepper), a wild human refusing to submit to alien thraldom, who through Terl's misguided subterfuge gets mind-zapped with Psychlo know-how and plots an uprising of the backward Earthlings. And that's about it.

Director Roger Christian, once a set decorator on Star Wars, keeps getting confused as to which film he's ripping off, fudging his way through various slices of Blade Runner, The Matrix, Planet Of The Apes and even TV's long, lamented invasion hit, V. His wannabe cool, foggy noirish look is at odds with all the comic-book broadness and the action, especially the nuke-the-baddies crescendo, and it's edited with such crashing fury that most of it is plain incomprehensible.

Bizarrely, the film that actually springs to mind, upon looking at Travolta's plump, rubbery claws and preposterous giant forehead, is Carry On Screaming. Which just about says it all; there is nothing in Battlefield Earth you can take seriously. While the producer/star certainly tries his darnedest to give it some flavour, playing Terl with the same raspy-cool badness he threw into Face/Off, the script remains ropey no matter how much relish it's given. It's also shot through with floppy logic: the Psychlos' non-comprehension at human cunning, even though the former defeated "civilised" man, or post-apocalyptic cavemen learning to fly a secret store of Harriers in ten minutes flat.

With the exception of Trek's comical nastiness, none of the other characters even register. Barry Pepper has nothing to work with in Tyler, so he hulks about moodily as if trying to get the whole thing over without being noticed. Forest Whitaker, lost in Psychlo prosthetic, as Trek's fumbling evil sidekick, Ker, is given nothing more than the occasional cackle, while Richard Tyson, Kelly Preston and Kim Coates do no more than turn up. As for Scientology... to be fair, there isn't anything sinister going on here, with nary a blipvert or allusion to be found. The sensible option would be to distance themselves from such irksome rubbish entirely.


Verdict
A disaster of epic proportions.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Battlefield Earth
Empire Star Rating

RE: Battlefield Earth

SHIT! ... More

Posted by moviebuff73 at 10:10, 06 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Two Stars Is Way Two Generious!

lefield Earth (2000) Now this film wanted to be epic, it really tried, Travolta put millions of his own fortune into it and pushed people into helping him create it. These type of catastrophic alien invasion films were all the rage around this time after the success of 'Independence Day'. The films title alone sounds epic, a thundering statement...IELD EARTH!unds like the ultimate sci-fi action film, so what's wrong with it?. First and foremost it looks like, and for all intense and purp... More

Posted by Phubbs at 02:05, 31 March 2013 | Report This Post


Two Stars Is Way Two Generious!

The Director was either trying to deliberately make this movie as terrible as possible, or he was trying to make it as hilarious as possible! I think he chose the latter, but he failed! This movie is more terrible than funny! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SebMModerns at 18:48, 31 August 2012 | Report This Post


Please don't lock me in the media room mummy...

....What did we as a species do to deserve such man jam? This movie is so bad it's not even funny. Seriously, Scientology is scary, but the fact that it's asscociated with this gubbins is scarier. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 12:27, 08 January 2008 | Report This Post


TWO STARS FROM EMPIRE!?!?!?!?!?!

You have a chuckle or what? I tell ya what, Ian Nathan wants his fuckin head checked, this film is not even worthy of 1 star! I watched 'Outlaws' yesterday, which got 1 star in Empire, and that movie pisses all over 'Battlefield Earth'! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 13:23, 11 July 2007 | Report This Post


wtf was this film about???!!!

Wow, what an experience! As I sat watching this movie, I could feel myself slowly being brainwashed as I gazed in awe at the possibilities scientology has to offer.......not. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by starkiller at 22:17, 29 May 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Battlefield Earth

painful to watch ... More

Posted by Orbital at 18:49, 26 April 2007 | Report This Post


As bad as the book

I read the book many years ago whilst travelling. It was so poor that I as I read each chapter I tore it out and binned it so that no other poor so-and-so would have to suffer through reading it. The plot, the characters and the "finale" are all poorly conceived. Normally films don't live up to the book they are based on, but here they have managed finally to make a film that is exactly the same quality as the book ! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by atitudeadjuster at 14:11, 01 November 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Battlefield Earth

Fucking Dung. ... More

Posted by theram05 at 15:07, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Battlefield Earth

A contender for the worst film ever made. Sent Travolta's career back towards the gutter - with good reason. If there were  -stars then i'd be using them to rate this fetid lump of maggot infested filth of a film. It really is that bad. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WilliamMunny at 15:03, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Battlefield Earth

You're both just jealous you didn't think up this turkey. I reckon it was just an excuse for the Scientoligists to launder their cash.......  ... More

Posted by damn im good! at 14:53, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Battlefield Earth

Hilariously bad. Thats really all there is to say about it. There was nothing redeeming, except perhaps the fact that it was so bad that it was funny. ... More

Posted by theGruppe at 00:35, 28 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Battlefield Earth

One of the worst movies I´ve ever had the misfortune of watching. Utter ridiculous script by Tom Cruise´s best friend,L. Ron Hubbard and quite possibly the worst designed alien race ever. John Travolta looks like a complete cretin with his huge belly and horrible dreadlocks and delivers easily the worst performance of his career. Mega bomb. The single star rating is because I actually took some enjoyment thrashing this one with my friends. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kazuya at 00:11, 26 October 2006 | Report This Post


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