Movie 91 Battlefield Earth (2001)

Scene from Battlefield Earth, showing (left to...

The Lighthouse Family let themselves go.

Battlefield Earth (novel)

This man started a religion! Terrfiying!

Now I knew from the off I wasn’t going to like this one. Despite a slightly nerdy exterior and an undeniably nerdy interior, I have a

real loathing for Sci-Fi. That’s not to say I can’t appreciate a masterpiece like Ridley Scott’s Alien, because I can. I just can’t stand those movies that have no real plot or purpose but decide it will be ok because it’s set in space. Sadly, Battlefield Earth falls into this category. The only Sci-Fi I have ever had time for are those that mock the genre. I love Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs and grew up addicted to Red Dwarf (remember when I told  you I was nerdy) and all this movie did was re-ignite my passion for shit sci-fi sets and mockery. The difference being Red Dwarf didn’t cost $44million in production.

Normally, we can pick out one or two performers that add some redeeming quality but this really is a one-upmanship of shittery. The lead female Sabine Karsenti is truly terrible and must’ve done some serious ‘work’ on the casting couch to land this part. Bearing in mind john Travolta was producer on it, we can assume it was something neither of them enjoyed. So, to the big man himself. John bloody Travolta. It really is a testament to the man that he can star in this terribly written abortion and then dedicate his life following a religion started by the man who penned the novel it is based on. In this story, the Psychlos from the planet Psychlo have all but wiped out the human race and are now using Earth to drain its resources before returning. In fairness, that is isn’t a great deal different from Scientology. Unlike Scientology though, spending $44 million won’t get you higher up the movie chain.

So, to a few weird points that stand out for me. Despite it being the year 3000, for some reason human kind and psychlo kind alike have regressed to speaking in some form of Chaucerian English. As many in Hollywood do, Travolta uses some bizarre well spoken English accent to try and portray evil, despite the fact he is from an alien planet. I can only presume there is a Buckinghamshire there too. I eagerly await the fly on the wall documentary Made In Psychlos where Travolta and his hoards open sweet shops and argue over some tentacle clad hottie called Binky.  Next up, Travolta’s right hand man Forest Whitaker. Yes, the very same Forest Whitaker. An unbelievably talented actor who sadly made a bit of a boo boo. Rumour has it that Whitaker’s eyes were perfectly level until the premiere of this film, where his body tried to shut them down in a defence mechanism. As for his performance, no one has yet explained to me quite why the black aliens on Psychlo are so stereotypically sassy as they can be on Earth. It doesn’t seem logical to me that black Psychlos are more likely to say “get yo’ ass on up here” than the white Psychlos but what do I know because that’s exactly what they do?

It is sadly yet another terrible apocalypse film with enslaved humans fighting back and despite being about 50 years later than Planet of the Apes, it comes nowhere near it in terms of plot, performance or weirdly special effects and it doesn’t give itself a fighting chance because it gets so many minor details wrong. For instance, if you’re casting a film where mankind are killing each other for food then don’t cast a fat bloke! It instantly reeks of poor decision making. You wouldn’t cast John Candy in Schindler’s List so with $44 million to spend why make these stupid mistakes here?

The Razzies awarded it worst film of the decade and to be honest they really do have a case. It’s no Troll 2.

Craig

@CraigHazell

Welcome back rat brains!!! (I hope that came across with all the venom that Travolta delivered it with!)
Ok. Unlike High Noon at Mega Mountain, Battlefield Earth is FULLY deserving of its place on this list. Terrible. Just truly terrible. There are literally no redeeming features in this film. The plot is ridiculous and exactly what you would expect from the inventor of
Scientology. BASICALLY, Earth has been ruled for the last 1,000 years by a race of aliens known as the Psychlos.
They came and defeated Earth in no time at all and because they need heavy metals for their planet they enslaved
mankind (or man animals and we have become known by the year 3000) while they nick our shit and teleport it back to
their home planet using a giant transporter. Shit goes down, obviously. The plot honestly isn’t worth much more of an explanation that that.

Now, if you’re going to spend $44million on a movie you’d think you could afford an editor that doesn’t insist on using a variation of a wipe cut at the end of every scene and under-saturated special effects that don’t look like they’ve been lifted straight from 90’s kids favorite ‘Knightmare’. I guess the main difference between the two is that people watched Knightmare. Oh, and that Knightmare wasn’t completely unwatchable. Craig will tell you, this was by far the hardest of the list for me to get through. It was just so unbelievably boring and then when it finally finished I had the double whammy of realising I needed to sit down and write about this tripe!

The movie can however boast magnificent fake laughing, animal cruelty, a complete over-use of slow-mo and lots of weird grunting. Don’t just take my word for it:

As we’ve mentioned a few times, this cost $44million to make and to date has grossed just under $30million and as it falls into the ‘so bad it’s bad’ category rather than the ‘so bad it’s good’ one I can’t see it gaining an unlikely cult status any time soon and making that up with DVD sales. The cast in the main seem to have been able to just take this one on the chin and move on with their careers. The same can’t be said for the writers who have never worked since, despite J.D. Shapiro’s crafty attempt to fool people into thinking he wasn’t the ‘Battlefield Earth guy’ by dropping the initials and replacing it with his proper name. Obviously the writer of the original book has been busy brainwashing closeted celebrities and refusing pain treatment on his crazy planet in the afterlife.

The next one on the list stars Vanilla Ice so it HAS to be more entertaining…..right?

Andy

@TheAndyGibbins

2 thoughts on “Movie 91 Battlefield Earth (2001)

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