Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (Roger Christian) 2000
Production Budget: $73 million
Worldwide Gross: $29 million
“A film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies!” Roger Ebert
The sad thing is, I saw this movie opening weekend. I was young, naive, and completely ignorant to what Scientology was. I saw a sci fi movie with John Travolta and I thought it might be fun. I was wrong; so very wrong. Travolta had wanted to make this movie for over 20 years and play the lead role of Johnny Stud Muffin Johnson. Sorry, the actual character name is Jonnie Goodboy Tyler. However he could never get the movie made because his career sank fast after Staying Alive. In the early 90’s he had a comeback with Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty, and maybe the studios thought they could cash in on this wave of popularity. So with Travolta being a producer of the movie, the studio moved ahead with the first in a proposed trilogy of Battlefield movies. That’s right, there could have been a trilogy.
The plot is a mess. The Psychlos come to Earth, beat the humans in about 10 minutes. They are here for gold; the rarest and most valuable metal of all. I’ve always had a beef with this. Gold is really only valuable to us and that’s because we like how it looks. Its only practical use is that of quality wiring. But I don’t think the Psychlos conquered the Earth for good wiring. Anyway, our young Jonnie (played by Barry Pepper since Travolta was too old and fat to play him) leads a band of slaves to rise up against their masters and beat the Psychlos in Harrier jets. The plot is only slightly more plausible than Thetans and the evil Lord Xenu. And that’s my Scientology joke folks, be sure to tip your waitress.
As one critic once said, its Plan 9 with a $70 million budget. The film has all the special effects you expect, but the story is so weak and stupid, you wonder if the studio even read it before. The movie took home 7 Razzies including Worst Actor, Director, Picture, On Screen Couple (Travolta and anyone else), Screenplay, and Supporting Actress (Kelly Preston, Travolta’s wife plays a hooker).
Is it any good? Take a guess. Some of these bombs don’t deserve the bad publicity. Not this one. This sucks. The director only has one style of camera work: shoot everything in an angle. Barry Pepper is running at an angle, John Travolta is talking at an angle, Forrest Whitaker is looking embarrassed at an angle. Isn’t that cool? Its at an angle. The entire cast chews the scenery with the exception of Whitaker who, like I said, with every frames looks like he’s wondering how the hell he got into this. I will never forget the image of Travolta as a 7 foot tall Rasta looking alien calling everyone man-animals. The story has more holes than a Whiffle ball, its too long, and the acting sucks. Its too long to even watch it in a mocking way like MST3k. So, no, I don’t recommend it.