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My spouse and I went to see this on opening night. We were expecting to
see an extremely bad and costly film, and we were not really
disappointed. It is a testament to John Travolta's genius that his
career survived this disaster at all.
As they say, garbage-in, garbage out. Start with an L Ron Hubbard novel (your first mistake) featuring a completely plagiarized dark-skinned, war-like and hairy alien culture with wrinkly foreheads (if this sounds like Klingons to you, I thought so too!), and add unfortunate Barry "can't get a break" (or maybe it should be 'cant pick a script') Pepper and all you need is Travolta himself - playing the arrogant, merciless, slightly effeminate and quite under-sized leader of the alien colonists. Remove any hint of character development from the script and use the worst of the worst black box technobabble explanations for plot devices. Finally, stay true to the idiotic gibberish you based the film on in the first place, and you've got the makings of a rolling-on-the-floor comedy.
In fact, opening night, in a packed theater, people started laughing out loud about 20 minutes into the film and never really stopped. We had a great time that night. Halfway through the film more than half the crowd was actually interacting with the film, asking "Mr Worf, where's Commander Riker?" and asking troublesome questions about how many hundreds of years gas would remain viable in the gas-tank of a Harrier.
If you need to know about the plot - it's this simple - Earth has been conquered by an amazingly stupid group of Klingon-like aliens, and the remaining humans live in a large domed slave labor camp where they are taught that their sole purpose is servitude because they are stupid, weak, etc. Barry Pepper somehow becomes convinced that he's not born to be a slave, and learns to fly a harrier, etc. It's really not worth the effort of typing. There are a few not-so-subtle and not very original but good messages about ethnocentrism to be found here, but not much else. Some day when you need a good laugh, rent this or borrow it from your local bad film collector.
the friend who lent me the DVD warned me, but it beat all my
expectations of lowliness. this film is unspeakably bad. don't go and
see it, take my word for it:
* it has no plot.
* the 'actors' suck huge rocks. really huge.
* travolta doesn't even try.
* the most elaborate dialog revolves around the sentence 'grumble mumble'.
* special effects are the worst ever, because they pretend to be serious.
* costumes and characterization make space: 1999 look excellent
i could go on and on and on, but i'm beginning to feel sick just for having to think about it.
Actually, was anyone involved with this total disaster thinking at all?
My personal guess: no, and if they were, I'd rather not know about
None of the reviews have done BE justice. Having heard what a start to finish mess this was, my brother and I decided to watch it, just for fun. It was horrible beyond all our expectations - and not in a fun way. And so I can now tell anyone who's interested: You must see this movie yourself to realize the sheer magnitude of its badness, stupidity, and ineptitude.
I've heard that BE cost about 70 million dollars to make - though how anyone could have greenlighted it is a great mystery. Since there was nothing on screen to indicate why it had cost that much, my brother and I have also worked out how the budget was allocated:
* Travolta's salary, plus assorted managers and hangers on: 40 million.
* Special effects, film, sets, costumes, makeup and hair extensions: 25 million.
* all other salaries: $4,999,888.
* script: $112 and change.
Though that still doesn't begin to explain the end result. I give up. I'll never understand how Travolta managed to get BE made, or released, for that matter. Why is he tanking his career again? Who knows? After this, why should anyone care? Ah, well. I hope he finds something better to act in in the future; I honestly can't see how he could come up with something worse.
I never thought I'd give anything a 1, but this is indeed as worthy a candidate as I've ever seen. So, * is my vote, and I'd rate it lower if it were possible. Just... incredible. Watch and learn.
What a bad film this is. I thought the critics were exaggerating when they said how bad it was but they weren`t BATTLEFIELD EARTH is one of the worst films released by a major Hollywood studio. It`s badly directed , badly cast ( Barry Pepper as Jonnie makes for one of the least impressive screen hero`s ever seen . Maybe Travolta should have stuck to his guns and played Jonnie . He perhaps would have been slightly too old for the part but at least he does have some charisma unlike Pepper) and has one of the worst scripts ever written. An alien race called Psychlos , sounds just like psychos , I bet they `re really evil and cruel . Oh they are evil and cruel just like psychos . Why do they think rats are the favourite food of humans when it`s the only thing they`ve seen humans eat ? And why do they think " Rat brains " is an insult to humans ? especially when they consider the " man animals " to be a primitive species . And am I alone in finding the term " Man animals " irritating ? Surely it should be " Manimals " ? A far sharper and clever expression . But sharp and clever is no way to describe this script . Cities stand almost intact after a thousand years since the collapse of human civilisation ! Not only that but so do large amounts of firearms , ammo and Harrier jump jets , and a flight simulator for the jump jets where the humans learn to fly within a week , and no doubt they`ll learn what petrol is and learn to put it in the jets in order to fly them . Does this sound very likely to you ? Let me put it this way: Go into a time machine and go back to the biblical times , capture a few dozen people , bring them back to the present and get them to become fighter pilots within the week. Do you think they`d be any good flying planes and shooting down enemy forces ? Me neither . Do you think they could overthrow a superior civilisation ? Me neither ? Do you think anyone involved with this film deserves to work again ? Me neither
I knew this movie was bad, filled with hard to believe nonsense and horrible 'go America go' propaganda; so I had to see it. However this was way beyond my imagination. After returning the video I honestly asked the clerk that even when I'm very drunk to stop me from renting this movie ever again. Hopefully he'll remember that. Although the movie starts funny as we can see Travolta and Whitaker argue in their silly suits about slaves, this quickly turns to boredom. The rest of the movie is the standard very bad, short on budget Si-fi that can't interest any viewer with an IQ above sea level at all. The horrible thing is that the director hasn't even tried to convince you as the main character suddenly learns geometry (ok) and teaches it to his barbarian mates (huh?) who immediately appreciate the essence of it all (they ate raw meat as they have just learned what fire is). But then suddenly the standard IQ of these people goes sky-high: They understand atom bombs, know how to fly a Mig and work with highly cryptic computer interfaces. Check out the fact that the main character discovers the national library and finds a crisp fresh version of the constitutional law (it has been in that very same destroyed library for almost 1000 years and doesn't show any signs of decay ?) At has been a long time since I cried....
This monster flop has an interesting story outline filled with garbage. The aliens have weaknesses that make even the non-rocket scientist in the audience wonder "how did these guys survive long enough to conquer anyone?" The next question I found myself asking is this, "How long would certain things (books, computer-dependent machinery, combustion engines) last and still be of any use to anyone?" Too many things you see in the movie are simply beyond belief. But this is science fiction you say? Of course. The point is that the basic story could have been told without any of these ridiculous questions bugging the viewer if the people making it had just thought things out for an hour or two. I understand that suspension of belief is a requirement of sci-fi fans but you have to limit it to just what is necessary to tell the story you are trying to tell.
This movie should have been a 'Project Redlight'. John Travolta is out
of his head and hopelessly devoted to L. Ron Hubbard. That he was able
to con 10 other people into investing $80 million towards the making of
this movie is the only real impressive angle I can work for this
review. Perhaps Travolta wanted to work with Tarrantino again and
thought the only way that that could happen is if his own career fell
into the tank? Or perhaps he felt it was his duty to make the film in
order to get a better seat in 'Dianetics Heaven'? Let's hope that Tom
Cruise can learn from Barbarino's mistake.
I don't think it will matter too much to point out everything that is bad about this film, but the acting, the dialog, the special effects, the plausibility of the cave people's quick learning development, and of course, the hair extensions will just have to suffice.
I would have given the movie a 1 out 10 rating, but I did laugh at the movie quite a few times and that should be worth something, I think. The version I watched was on the USA network and it was modified for teevee, so I may have missed some key plot elements that were cut from the original vision of its director, but then again I may have seen some really good Levitra adds in its place. The end credits whizzed by so quickly that it would appear that no one really wanted to have anything to do with this movie except Travolta.
'In preparing a judgment of worth,
I proclaim this lame movie to be worst'
Don't forget that 'I told ya'
to blame John Travolta
and L. Ron for Battlefield Earth.
Oh, if it were only a musical. 2/10.
When I orginally watched this film I was unaware of the Dianetic /
Scientology background that surrounded this film and pretty much saw it
an neutral standpoint. The fact that after I had watched it I felt
and frankly scared that a film like this could be made in the first place
made me dig a little deeper into the films background.
After doing a bit of research I came to the scary conclusion that apparently this piece of cr*p that is this film is actually taken seriously by Scientologists, not unlike Christians with regard to the Bible.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, people actually believe this happened - the awful storyline, the 2D characters and the ludicrous mindbendingly stupid conclusion is taken as the word of god.
So now I feel terrified that this 'cult' has the influence to finance and convince Hollywood to waste so much money. I do have to say the Hollywood does produce some god awful flicks, but none so highly publicised or with such big names starring in them.
So avoid this like the plague, don't give distributors any excuse to produce anymore copies of this rubbish and don't waste another second of your life actually watching it.
I give it -10/10
It is the year 3000. Many years have passed since the world was
conquered by an evil race called the Psychlos in order that they would
strip it of its resources just as they had countless other planets. Man
has been forced back to the Stone Age, slowly dying out in small,
ineffective pockets of resistance around the world. Sent out from his
community, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler stumbles across two other survivors who
tell him of a place of the gods a place that turns out to be a former
city. While resting overnight the group is come across by the Psychlos
and both Jonnie and Carlo are captured. A plot by one of the Psychlos
to outsmart his bosses (who have deserted him on earth by turning down
his bid for a transfer) opens the door for Jonnie to learn a great deal
about his new masters and gradually he becomes the last real hope for
Being a film critic must be a hard job to do at times. Many of the films you watch will not be brilliant, nor will they be terrible most will be OK and nothing more. Therefore when reviewers get a chance to gush, they generally take it. Likewise, when a bad film does come to the big screen and reviewers get to see it, they often will take great pleasure in putting the boot it we see it with at least one big budget film each year (2004 was Catwoman). So I usually will try and view a really panned film because I am aware that sometimes the critics are just being unfair however, most of the time I'll wait until it comes to TV to make that decision. With Battlefield Earth, I must concede that it is a pretty bad film but maybe not as bad as the many critics all said, although it would be easy to just keep kicking it in the same way as everyone else does.
The film does have some very basic ideas that offer potential but these are squandered with a script that bulks out with bad dialogue, poor story development and an overall poor delivery that makes it a film that is certainly a mess, if not 'the worst film of all time'. The story quickly goes wrong by making massive plot jumps with its two threads (Jonnie and Terl) that it quickly becomes tiresome. It is not just that major parts of it make little sense (even if you are trying to get into it) it is also that the film makes it harder for itself by taking itself so seriously. If the film had been exciting and entertaining then I could have forgiven these jumps but the way it holds itself in such high regard means we have to meet it on its own terms something that I found nigh on impossible to do with this. Whenever we are asked to accept that planes would have survived intact over 1000 years, or that anyone could learn to fly them in a matter of days then it is really asking too much if it also expects me to take it 100% seriously at the same time.
The film has clearly had money spent on it, and it isn't that the effects look bad, it is more that they feel over-designed. The Psychlos (cr*p name) look like nobody knew when to stop adding bits and they do look a bit absurd like a Klingon but with more bits! Similarly the transport craft and alien sets all feel like somebody has just ripped off other films and then tried to combine them; the end result is the look of a cheap sci-fi that looks like it is a sci-fi film as opposed to a 'real' futuristic world. It is hard to describe and maybe I'm doing it badly but to me the film looked like the alien future's of a thousand sci-fi movies, not an alien future that exists outside of late night TV and, as such, it was even less engaging. Of course it didn't help that the direction was so ham fisted that Christian should be asked to return his Oscar out of good will. The opening action scene is delivered in a terrible slow motion that sucked all the potential out of it a technique that is sadly used for most of the action scenes. The stuff with the harriers near the end is so silly that even a good director couldn't have saved it; but Christian is not a good director here and he makes it worse and robs it of any excitement or pace it may have had.
With such a poor product to sell to us, even an all star cast would have struggled so imagine the trouble that one fading star and a collection of minor support actors have with it. Travolta tries hard but he can find nothing of value. He looks terrible and his performance is just so obvious and easy there is nothing to watch here, partly due to him but also to the wider failings of the film. Pepper was a very strange choice for such a big role and, try as he might, he cannot get past the absurdity of the whole thing and he comes across as part of the silliness, taking his character way too seriously for the material but I suppose he was only matching the mood of the film. Whitaker has nothing to do and even an appearance from the likable, low-rent baddie Kim Coates brought nothing to the film. I don't even know the rest of the cast by name but suffice to say that none of them can do anything worth seeing.
Overall this is a very poor film and, although I don't wish to join the mob by just kicking it, I didn't find any reason not to. The direction is awful but is at its worst in the action scenes. The effects are not awful, they just feel like generic, overdone sci-fi fare with little or no imagination a big surprise when you consider that the director was nominated for an Oscar for Alien and won one for Star Wars for the very discipline of art direction! The script is clunky and the story full of moments that are, at best, illogical and, at worst, silly, stupid and laughable. The end result is a product that is a real mess with almost nothing of value in it. It is relentlessly shoddy and I almost wish the 'worst film ever' hype would drop off just so that this film could slowly fade from our memory and be lost in time.
BATTLEFIELD EARTH (2000) 1/2 * John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forest
Whitaker, Kim Coates, Richard Tyson, Sabine Karsenti, Michael MacRae,
Michael Byrne, Sean Hewitt, Kelly Preston (unbilled cameo). My
candidate for worst film for the new millennium: atrociously awful
Travolta vehicle (who is totally to blame for his co-producing this pet
project due to his Scientology ties) in bringing L. Ron Hubbard's cult
sci-fi novel to fruition is just one God-forsaken mess from start to
finish in what feels like the ultimate Ed Wood film with a dire need
for the gang from MST3K to show up and provide apt ridicule: Travolta
stars as 9 foot tall alien Terl, a Psychlo who commands his rampaging
race in wiping out mankind in the year 3000 with only rebel Pepper out
to thwart his nefarious plans of mining gold for his own just rewards.
Ridiculous from the get go: the make-up of the Psychlos: a combination of dreadlocks a la Jar Jar Binks to the 'Coneheads' to the costume rejects of any speed metal band of the 1990s; the dim lighting and production design; the cheezy special effects (except for the climax of Terl's planet - who the HELL cares if I'm giving away the ending?!! IT SUCKS!!!) - which looked kinda cool!) and laugh-out loud dialogue: ('Rat-brains' is the often reviled retort by Terl to the 'man-animals' he despises). Travolta better get his mind straight because his post-'Pulp Fiction' comeback is running on jet vapors at this point and don't even get me started on his evil Vincent Price-inspired chortle! UGGGHH!!! (Dir: Roger Christian)
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