What the Hell Were They Thinking?!

Do you have a moment so I can share with you the saving gospel of Scientology? Academy Award nominee John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Kim Coates and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker star in Battlefield Earth.

Battlefield EarthCast of Characters:
Terl – John Travolta
Jonnie Goodboy Tyler – Barry Pepper
Ker – Forest Whitaker
Carlo – Kim Coates
Robert the Fox – Richard Tyson
Chrissy – Sabine Karsenti

Director – Roger Christian
Screenplay – Corey Mandell & J. D. Shapiro
Based on the novel Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
Producer – Elie Samaha, Jonathan D. Krane & John Travolta
Rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi action

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In the year 3000, Earth has been taken over by a race of alien beings known as Psychlos. Any humans left alive have either been enslaved or survived in primitive camps outside of the Psychlos’ control. A member of a particular tribe, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper), has gone off exploring, and soon joins forces with hunter Carlo (Kim Coates), but they are captured by the Psychlos and sent to the main slave camp.

Upon arriving, they meet Terl (John Travolta), the Psychlo security chief who was being trained to conquer galaxies before any one of us could even SPELL!!!! our name. Condemned by his superiors to stay on Earth indefinitely for an unclear incident with the “senator’s daughter”, Terl devises a plan to buy his way off by mining for gold in the radioactive areas. Since he’s unable to do it himself, due to the gas they breathe with radionuclide particles (which is why they wear those funny clothespins on their nose), he recruits Jonnie to do the job for him. Jonnie agrees, but unbeknownst to Terl, he’s planning an uprising with his fellow humans to take back their planet.

What the fuck was L. Ron Hubbard high on?

After Quentin Tarantino resurrected his dead career out of Look Who’s Talking hell with Pulp Fiction, John Travolta must’ve thought he was impenetrable. He earns an Oscar nomination for Tarantino’s hit, earns more critical praise for Get Shorty, A Civil Action and Primary Colors, so by the end of the decade his ego had grown quite large. How large, you ask? This large…

  • “Like Pulp Fiction for the year 3000″
  • “Like Star Wars… only better.”
  • “This is the Schindler’s List of science fiction.”

… Uh…

One wonders if, upon seeing this, Quentin Tarantino thought to himself, “Good Lord, I got a save this guy’s ass again?”

“This is what I want to write. This is amazing stuff.” – Quentin Tarantino (who actually was approached first to direct this film) while hugging Battlefield Earth director Roger Christian

😥

I think I just died inside.

Now, a part of me feels compelled to not beat this film senseless. One, a target like this is too easy; two, there’s nothing I can say about this bomb that hasn’t been already said thousands of times on every single “worst of” list in the world; three, God forbid I spurn the most litigious religion in the history of the uni – ah, fuck it. This movie sucks harder than Jenna Jameson.

Just a reminder – The Schindler’s List of science fiction.

Based on Hubbard’s 1,000+ page novel of the same name, Battlefield Earth sounds ugly, is performed ugly and most certainly looks ugly. Like whatever Harry Dunn dropped in the toilet ugly. Not that it could’ve anyway, but it doesn’t help that the plot makes as much sense as Bobcat Goldthwait drunk karaokeing “It’s the End of the World As We Know It”.

Ambitious, yes. But so are potheads when they get really blitzed and start debating the meaning of life and our place in the universe.

The Schindler’s List of science fiction.

What baffled me most while watching this is that this is directed by Roger Christian, the Oscar-winning ART DIRECTOR of Star Wars and Alien. Production designer Patrick Tatopoulos has worked on Independence Day, Dark City (one of the most underrated sci-fi films of the past 25 years) and I, Robot. Nothing can be can done about the script. You can polish a crappy story ’til you’re blue in the face, but you’re still left with a shiny looking turd. But how the hell could two accomplished production designers turn in one of the shittiest looking films of all-time?

Even the title shot and opening narration text looks like it was drummed up on a Windows 95 version of Corel Presentations. For God’s sakes, Star Wars could make their opening crawl look professional, and they were over two decades behind in technology.

Between the constant, vertigo-inducing use of tilted camera angles (aka, the “Dutch angle”) and slow-motion shots, the photoshopped look of the special effects, the George Clinton wannabe costume design and the vomitous tinted coloring of the scenes, it’s as if Christian brought on a bunch of drunk frat boys, shoved film equipment into their hands and said, “Let’s make a movie!”

And then, when it was all done, they whipped out the film, gathered around it in one big circle and took a collective piss on it just for good measure.

Which would explain the really ass-ugly yellow sunset shots.

Michael Bay films show more subtlety and restraint than this.

The. Schindler’s. List. Of. Science. Fiction.

Putting their talents to utter waste is Forest Whitaker, Barry Pepper and yes, even John Travolta (whose wife, Kelly Preston – long past her head-turning role in Mischief – has one bizarre scene where her crazy long tongue could put Gene Simmons to shame) who can be quite good (Saturday Night Fever, Carrie, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, etc.) when he’s not prancing around to Satan’s Alley or delivering a two hour ode to his Lord and Savior L. Ron Hubbard.

“Benjamin… Benjamin. Benjamin. Benjamin… you are glib.” – Tom Cruise

Of course, any director that can take two proven actors like Travolta (who proselytized the hell out of this film in order to get it made) and Whitaker and have them reduced to hammy versions of Shakespeare in the Park if it was being performed by the crazy, Tourette’s screaming homeless guy and his three imaginary friends you keep your kids away from at the city playground deserves to have their chair and bullhorn taken from them. Having underrated character actor Barry Pepper and his gang of wilderness men shout and holler and bellow like the aforementioned drunken frat boys’ reenactment of Braveheart is just adding insult to injury.

As idiotic as these characters are, however, I can’t imagine Daniel Day-Lewis even being able to make them work.

But I would pay quadruple the price of admission to see a movie of him method acting his way into the role of Terl.

For being a so called technologically advanced species, these Psychlos are like 20 IQ points below Arnie Grape. Terl witnesses Jonnie Goodboy Tyler shoot a Pyschlo dead, and his only reasonable response is to take the gun from Jonnie, and then hand it back to him ’cause humans are stupid and won’t know what to do. Jonnie, of course, shoots another Psychlo dead. Fool me once shame on – never mind. Then to teach Jonnie a lesson, Terl throws him into some learning chamber, which I guess is used to teach him the native language of the Psychlos. Lucky him, he ends up also becoming skilled in physics, engineering and advanced warfare as well.

Yep, Terl, you sure showed him.

The peak of these aliens’ stupidity, though, is the fact that they’re objective on Earth is to mine for gold, and in the entire 1,000 years that they’ve taken over the planet, it’s never once dawned on them to check Fort Knox, which for withstanding a millennium-long dystopian wasteland is still in tip-top shape.

But, then again, Jonnie is able to teach his band of fellow humans – all of whom apparently have skills just a notch below a retarded caveman – how to operate complex military machinery and form a unified, cohesive, lean mean fighting team within a week, so whatever.

Once again… The Schindler’s List of science fiction.

Now that I think of it, this is what Interstellar would’ve looked like if it was directed by Tommy Wiseau and not Christopher Nolan.

Praise Xenu! Our dear heavenly father, grand overlord of Teegeeack and dictator of the Galactic Confederacy for divinely inspiring this unholy abomination of a turd cloaked in the guise of a two hour long film. I guess in some odd way, you could say this film made quite an achievement in having ever single facet of it drop the ball harder and more catastrophic than the hydrogen bombs Xenu used to destroy his people. An even greater achievement is making it through this entire film, a feat that should earn anyone who does the completion of Operating Thetan Level XVIII: SUPREME BEING.

One last time… The Schindler’s List of science fiction.

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