Battlefield Earth

So here we are. The 4th Mass Invasion and boy howdy is it ever a doozy. "Battlefield Earth" is infamous for many, many things, which I'll get into, but first I must explain why I chose to do this movie at this point in time.

In case you're not aware, there's a slight Internet war going on between the Church of Scientology and a group calling themselves Anonymous. It's a bit unclear how it all started but if you're that interested, you can read the ENTIRE thing here. You might wanna save that for another day cause you'll literally be there for hours reading that.

Anyway, this group has taken their protests out to the streets and they organized a world wide protest at every "Church" in the world. During this I was surprised to learn there was one in Chicago AND one in Indianapolis. Then again, Midwesterners are often grouped with hillbillies, who see their fair share of UFO sightings, so it shouldn't be surprising that they'd wanna worship a religion based on aliens.

So this review is more or less my tribute to the whole "war" going on. I try not to take sides on such things, but here I have to kinda agree that this "church" is really just a cult and they've done some bad things in the past, on top of which they like to sue the pants off of anyone who speaks ill of them. So I took the precaution of getting a pretty good lawyer. Try to sue me now, Tom Cruise! TRY IT!!

Ok so with that said, let's briefly get into why this movie exists. "Battlefield Earth" is based on a novel by the one and only L. Ron Hubbard, who started his career as a science fiction writer. He later realized he'd get much richer if he started a cult/religion. It's a shame Kurt Vonnegut died, I would've loved to have read a story where Kilgore Trout decides to do the same thing.

Since John Travolta, the star and PRODUCER of this epic fail, is a Scientologist, he read the novel and decided "Hey! This would make a kickass movie!" And he tried to get the movie made...back when it was first published in the 80's. Finally around 1999, he got the go ahead from some rinky-dink movie studio, which is why Travolta is the producer, cause he had to front the money himself for this. Kinda makes you feel sorry for him now, don't it?

Anyway, the movie was made and the rest is history. Everybody and their mothers hated the movie and did so badly that Ed Wood is in heaven (or wherever) shaking his head, going "Damn, that's a shame". I'll talk more about this failure during my chunk of the review.

My introduction to this movie was thanks to Rifftrax. When I decided to go ahead and start buying the Trax, this was the first one, cause of the things I heard about the movie, that I just had to hear what Mike, Kevin, and Bill had to say about this. And if you haven't done so yet, you totally should get the Trax, it's great and makes the movie a tad bit bearable.

And finally, it seemed like at first this review was cursed. SOOO many things went wrong. To just name a few, anytime I attempted to watch this movie I had to pause it and run to the bathroom. That was the most polite way I could put that. To put it non-politely, this movie gave me the shits. Badly. Then Maria got sick with something unidentifiable and is currently locked away in some hospital while doctors poke and prod her, trying to find a cure. And last but certainly not least, Rachael was suppose to write a part of the review. But anytime she watched the movie, she just stood around shrieking for no reason and literally went bat shit insane. This fucking movie is like the videotape in "The Ring" (Or "Ringu" for you super ultra horror movie geeks), it ruins the lives of anybody who's unfortunate enough to watch it. Rachael, poor soul, sent this last email to me and this is real:

"My review of this section of Battlefield Earth is not like my usual reviews. I am watching an unauthorized copy of the film, so I'm a little unsure of whether my segment is even the right one to review. But what I have learned from this film is: It doesn't matter.

I could describe the action in the film and discuss the problems, but I'm not going to. I'm simply going to say that this film broke me. Without exaggeration, it took me seven tries to watch this film. And I still can't tell you what it's about. Never before has a film driven me to come so close to stabbing myself in the eyes and ears.

All I can say is that John Travolta and Forest Whitaker should be ashamed.

The voices, the costumes, the weird plot. It's all lost on me. And I consider myself a fairly bright person. But I can't follow along. I'm embarrassed to say that I could barely watch the screen during this movie and didn't even finish it. It was that bad.

My eyes rolled around in my head. My head lolled around on my neck. I stared at the ceiling. I saw some space creatures. I made a sandwich.

Apologies to those who are looking for an in-depth review of this segment. I can't do it. I have reached my limit with Battlefield Earth. This, in my opinion, is the most unwatchable film ever made."

After this email got to me, I haven't heard from Rachael since. I hope she's doing ok. But now I have a personal vendetta against Scientology. You hear me, Scientology?? You ruined the mental health of one of my friends! This time! It's personal!!!


Ok, let's get on with it. We got one new face in the group, so be nice to her, ok? Most of these people you should be famliar with, so no big major introduction needs to be made here, but I will tell you the order of writers:
April, but I threw some things in there as well so it's a collaboration of sorts.
And finally, Me by myself.

I would do the typical corny thing and throw in some jokes about Scientology like get your thetan levels ready for this "dianetic" review, but I could already feel the beatings I would've received for doing such a thing. Let's just go to April to kick things off, shall we?

April & Jason

***DISCLAIMER*** With my view of Scientology (indeed, with organized religion in general) being what it is, I will refrain from any personal views interfering with the storyline of the movie, lest I offend anyone. I found this story to be one of the most sexist and small minded I have seen or heard in many years, coming from a person who was supposed to have promoted equality in everything. With that......

3000 A.D. - Earth has been ruled for 1000 years by the inhabitants of the distant planet Psychlo. Minerals, especially gold, are mined by enslaved humans and teleported back to Psychlo. The human race must fight to stay alive if it is to continue.

Our story begins in a remote village somewhere in the central US Rocky Mountains where a tribal elder warns Chrissy she may want to think about finding a new husband because hers may not return to the village. Even though the old man of the village closes the door, her husband, none other than Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, the story's main character, appears. Chrissy tells Johnny that his father has died. So naturally he pumps his fist in the air and goes "YAAAAAAH!!!!!" I guess he's glad the miserable old bastard had finally died.

Later, Johnnie explains to Chrissy that he must go on a quest to find if the "Demons" that enslave the humans really do exist. This comes after a goofy ass scene with Johnny running around a cave going "OHHH!!! AHHH!!!! WATCH OUT NOW!!!" and basically acting like a douchebag to everyone. They were all probably glad to see him leave. Hell, they probably packed his bags for him that night. Anyway. Chrissy gives him a special amulet for good luck, explaining it was given to her by his mother (presumably at their wedding) to be passed on to their children someday. This makes it seem like this is going to be important later on, but I'll just ruin it for you now and tell you it doesn't.

There is an explanatory scene where the tribal elder talks about why and how the planet came to be conquered and the humans enslaved. In the late 20th century the humans became more and more greedy, taking Earth's bounty for granted and becoming disrespectful of Nature and each other, forgetting about what was right. The Psychlos came to see that Earth's inhabitants were at their weakest and forced what humans they didn't kill off into servitude for purposes of mining Earth's minerals. They were not allowed to be educated any longer and what traditions did manage to survive were convoluted with myth and legend as stories tend to be when passed down generation to generation. One of the main legends was a prophecy that stated the only reason humans who didn't get enslaved still exist is to please the Gods so they may free the slaves and drive away the "Demons".

As Johnny leaves on his quest he encounters the most horrible thing known to mankind: a miniature golf course. Seriously, have you ever gotten a ball past that damn windmill? Miniature golf courses were created by sadists I tell you! Johnny stumbles upon some plastic dinosaur thing, which looks a bit like Dino from "The Flintstones" so maybe this was a Flintstones themed golf course? And you gotta get the ball into Fred's mouth at the end, in which he'll yell out "YABBA DABBA DOO!!!" Ohh fun times.

Oh right, back to this shitfest. Eventually Johnnie comes across two men from another "tribe" who lead him to an abandoned shopping mall and speak of the Gods as they were before the conquest. What they are really speaking of are convoluted stories of humans from pre-2000 formed into myths. One of the men teases Jonnie about leaving a "perfectly good woman at home" and as Jonnie lunges to hurt the man they are all cornered by one of the "Demons", a Psychlo guard.

Oh I did wanna point out that it looks like the Psychlos attacked Earth during the Christmas season, cause there's Christmas decorations up in this mall. That really sucks cause I was totally looking forward to FINALLY getting an X-Box 360! Now thanks to these alien buttheads I won't ever get to play Call of Duty 4! You rat bastards!!!!

The one dude, who looks like he should be in a Nickleback cover band, is shot and that just leaves the big dude named Rock (Sifl and Olly! The Sifl and Olly Show!), who makes a run for it. There are several artsy shots of this "demon" moving in slow motion and its all in the dark. Rock for whatever reason thinks it's a good idea to jump from the third floor down to the first. Little does he know that fat people can't do stuff like this so he shatters his clavicle. (That's in the leg right?) Johnny tries to help him but Rock is like "Can you smellll what I'm cooking?!?!" which translates to "Leave me!!" But Johnny has the phrase "goodboy" in his name, he can't do that! Instead he decides to turn into The Lone Ranger and whistle for his horse. Instead of the horse going "Yeah right pal" the fuckin' horse actually SHOWS UP!!!

But ten seconds later the horse is shot by the Psychlo demon guard whatever. Johnny is like "NOOOO!!!!! ATREYU!!! NOOO!!!!!" and manages to run around this mall for another 10 minutes until he gets shot himself. As a result of Johnny getting shot, he falls through 20 panes of glass, which somehow doesn't kill him. (Foreshadowing?)

Jonnie and the one surviving man (Not Rock, he got shot after Johnny fell through the glass a thousand times) are bound and transported to a forced labor facility in what used to be Denver, Colorado. Upon arrival, Jonnie tries to escape by shooting one of his captors but is quickly recaptured by Terl, the head of security, played by John Travolta, and his assistant Ker, the hopelessly miscast Forest Whitaker. The human prisoner-slaves are put through all forms of horrible torture and the amulet is torn from Jonnie's neck and burned in a fire pit. (insert sense of foreboding here)

A commanding officer teleports to Earth, whining constantly about what a terrible place it is, with its green plants and fresh air. He decides that after Earth is completely mined out, it and all inhabitants are to be exterminated, to the delight of Terl who is miserable there and has asked for a transfer several times. However, the officer angrily informs Terl his request has not only been denied, he will probably remain there until he dies, with no hope of advancement. We find the reason for this is Terl's indiscretions with a Psychlo ruler's daughter.

In the prison, Jonnie must fight for food, and indeed, equality for everyone against one prisoner who, possibly by brute strength and bullying, has crowned himself the leader. Jonnie explains that there must be equality for all prisoners if there is any hope of an eventual escape.


Yeah, so…. (heavy sigh)
It wasn’t until the credits ran did I find out the characters names, so in my notes, Terl is just “Trav” for Travolta, and Ker was FuzzyWhitaker, or FW for short. I’m gonna keep FW because it’s fun and it describes his look. Furry like a stuffed animal. Since Johnnie is the lead caveman-thing-human, I refer to him as Mainmanimal (“main man animal “ for those not perceptive enough).

Terl and FW have a somewhat weird relationship. They kinda seem like 2 middle school/ junior high girl “friends”. You know, where to others, or on some superficial level, they seem like buddies, but they really can’t stand each other and always try to one-up their friend due to jealousy. Did that even make sense? Anyway… total 13 year olds.

Terl is angry that FuzzWhit found an area on the map of gold ore they haven’t mined yet and didn’t tell him about it. Terl is already frustrated because he learned he would not be promoted to some position on the home planet and is stuck on Earth pretty much indefinitely. So, Terl proceeds to beat FW to release his tension with some candlestick-lookin’ item. (Terl. With the candlestick. In the conservatory…) Terl devises a plan to use this new found map knowledge to get back at the mining manager guy for condemning him to the hell that is Earth for the next eleventy-billion years. Now some back story if you didn’t get it. The mining industry of Psyclos is hemorrhaging money because they haven’t been able to find any gold ore lately, or not enough to balance the cost to pay workers and increase profits at the same time. Terl thinks that if they can teach humans (man animals) to mine, they wouldn’t need to pay them and wages. So by doing that, there wouldn’t be anything but profit for Psyclos. The manager shoots down that idea because he knew he’d be a laughing stock back on the home planet if he let lesser beings do the work of intelligent creatures. After having his idea rejected, Terl plans with FW to secretly use man animals to mine the new ore area on the map and keep the gold for themselves. Sounds like a flawless plan to me. (ha!)

Meanwhile the Mainmanimal breaks free from his chain gang and tries to make a run for it, but instead, he gets caught by a couple of Psyclos guards. They start a bet as to how long Mainmanimal can survive in whatever atmosphere they’re in before he dies. Much to their chagrin, he gets further than they thought and they have to chase after him to kill him.

Next, we see more of the bitchy friendship between Terl and FW. Terl tricks Fuzz into saying what they plan to do with the man animals and mining while secretly videotaping him. The tape would be used to make FW a scapegoat should anything go wrong with the plan and as blackmail to make sure FW sticks to it. Man, I’d hate hate hate to work with or have this guy as a friend. A true asshole is he.

As the Mainmanimal is on the run, Terl spots him on the security cameras. He figures that if he can out run and out wit the Psyclos guards, he’s a crafty enough specimen to train to mine for their greedy plan. Terl and FW catch the human, and to get him to go along with their scheme since they don’t speak English, they use some sort of torture-like tactic of bribing him with his favorite food after breaking him down. The tag team duo of Terl and FW drops the human and 2 “buddies” off on some mountain to see what they choose to eat. What they pick would be the bribery item. What Terl and FW don’t realize is there is no real food on the mountain and as a last resort, the manimals end up eating rats. So Terl believes that’s what humans like to eat. Rats. Plague-carrying rats. Ok, I exaggerated, but still ew.

The Mainmanimal finds out that the buttons on their shirts contain hidden cameras and rips them off. Terl gets pissed and hits his head on the slopey ceiling in the mining office place. Hehehe. The 3 fugitive humans are recaptured and put to work with other humans on fixing the ceiling in the office that Turd hit his head on. But Terl snatches Mainmanimal aside and shoves him in some room where a hologram program puts him through “assimilation training”. The training teaches Mainmanimal the language, history, and culture of the Psyclos a’la Clockwork Orange. The point of all this learnin’ is so Terl can communicate to the humans what is to be done as far as mining with Mainmanimal acting as the liaison. But Mainmanimal plans to flip the script on the Psyclos and use his new knowledge of the invading people to attack them and free the humans from oppression.


So we cut to the main little group of human guys sitting around in a cage that looks like it has a campfire burning somewhere off-camera. The main little frowny-face guy, his magnificent Neanderthal-like brow ridge made even more prominent by the dramatic, flickering shadows cast by the firelight, is trying to explain math to the other guys. They all look about as confused as I am whenever somebody tries to explain math to me. Frowny Guy shows them what a triangle is by drawing one on the floor with like, burnt wood or something. Some other guy says that it seems hard to understand, and Frowny Guy assures them that triangles are easy to understand. He bandies about the phrase “Euclidean geometry,” which doesn't do a lot to support his argument. Frowny Guy spews forth words like “molecular biology” and “water” and “engineering,” and “artistic composition” and “lines” in a nonsensical, Tourette's-like fashion, and it's all supposed to vaguely mean something probably. Another guy bitches that they're supposed to be learning about stuff that will help them to escape from John Travolta, and after a dramatic pause, Frowny Guy is like, “This will.” And then after another dramatic pause he adds, “All this will.”

Now all of a sudden we're someplace else, and apparently these same guys have like, broken into the office/headquarters of John Travolta and Forrest Whitaker or something? How the fuck did they get in there? Frowny Guy is reading something off a...stone tablet. Uh. And it says something in Psychlo about a security vault, and how everybody who is on the Psychlo management team has a personal identification number. A personal identification number has eight digits. How many digits? “Eight.” Like every single character in the room repeats the word “eight," because knowing how many digits are in a Psychlo's personal identification number is crucial to the viewer's understanding of the plot, unlike an explanation of how the hell these characters broke out of their cages and got into this room in the first place. Frowny Guy tries to enter some numbers into a keypad and it doesn't work, but then he tries it again and it makes a big pneumatic door open, freaking everyone else out. The door leads to a little blue room that contains some things that are probably supposed to be weapons, and a little wheel-shaped thing which F.G. instantly identifies as “a recording device.”

The Wacky 1980s Transitioning Effect of Doom that has been showing up all through this movie carries us into the next scene, where people are hanging out back at F.G.'s village. F.G.'s girlfriend sits by herself looking pensive. Some other guy stands on a cliff and blows the Horn of Gondor in slow motion. A horse runs through the middle of the village, also in slow motion. Then all of a sudden a different horse is running through the village in slow motion, and F.G.'S GIRLFRIEND IS ON IT! And she's all like, “I'm getting the fuck out of here!” and her dad comes out and is like, “NO! That's dumb!” and she's all, “FUCK YOU!” and then she leaves. In slow motion.

Back at the Psychlo pad, F.G. is strapped into the little chair getting zapped with the swirly lights of knowledge again. John Travolta looks like he should be DJing at a rave. He grabs F.G. and waves a dead rat in his face and says something evil. There is some more evil, shifty, “mwa-ha-ha” type banter between John Travolta and Forrest Whitaker about how “man-animals” are not as smart at Psychlos, and then John Travolta decides he's going to shoot and kill F.G. for not demonstrably learning how to speak Psychlo. But then F.G. opens his mouth and some stuff comes out that was distorted by a computer, and that I guess is supposed to be Psychlo. So John Travolta is like “AWESOME!” and tells F.G. to say something else. They have a little standoff where F.G. threatens John Travolta and John Travolta laughs at him, but then all of F.G.'s friends bust out from...somewhere (again, how the hell did they all get in there?) and start trying to shoot John Travolta with their stolen weapons, but the weapons don't have any ammo, so John Travolta laughs at them some more. Blah blah blah. Some half-assed reason is given for why F.G. is still in control of the situation, even though he's not, and John Travolta makes a face like he's feeling very grumpy to be wearing a giant prosthetic headpiece with a bunch of fake dreadlocks and Frankensteinesque head bolts attached to it just so he can be in a movie that is clearly 72 flavors of stupid.

The silly transitioning effect happens again, and now we're at the Denver Library, which is all dilapidated and stuff because it's post-Apocalypse and that's how everything is supposed to look. John Travolta explains that he's going to give F.G. access to even more knowledge about stuff he's not supposed to know about, because blah blah humans are dumb and none of their stinky, poopy human knowledge is good for anything and it won't help F.G. at all. Somber music plays, and then it swells as we drift into an extremely brief montage of F.G. fondling a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which I guess was coincidentally on the first page of the first book he picked up. Travolta grabs the book away from him and snaps, “SATISFIED?” and then he says, “I have one more demonstration for you and your little friend!” and they leave to go someplace else.

A Psychlo spaceship lands somewhere, and then John Travolta and F.G. and the other guys are all standing outside in a grassy area. John Travolta says a bunch of stuff about how he was the top shooter guy in his class, etc., so they better not run away or he will fuck their shit up. He demonstrates this by shooting the legs off some cows that happen to be standing like ten feet away. None of the cows try to run away, because they're stupid.

Then all of a sudden, some other guy runs out from behind the parked spaceship and head-butts John Travolta! John Travolta falls down and the guy starts beating the crap out of him, while at the same time, some other guys run out from behind the spaceship and start waving spears and yelling. The guy who head-butted John Travolta rolls off him and stands up, and F.G. points John Travolta's own weapon at him. John Travolta sits there smiling like he's zoned out on Percocet has no idea what's going on. Another guy points a spear at him and calls him a demon. Everybody starts yelling “SHOOOOOT!!!” even though they ostensibly have never seen a gun before and don't know how it works. Instead of shooting John Travolta, F.G. launches into a big speech about how he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life running away from things, and they can't just abandon all the other humans back at the Psychlo bungalow, and people didn't build “the great villages” by not fighting for their freedoms (except they actually sort of did), etc. A really old guy says, “You can-NOT defeat them!” and it echoes a bunch of times, and F.G. has a flashback to his girlfriend's bitchy father saying something about fate, and F.G. goes, “YES WE CAN!!” and everybody else is like, “YEAH! WE CAN!! WOOOO!!!” and all the savage tribal guys run away.

F.G. kisses John Travolta's ass by handing him back his weapon, and saying that he didn't shoot John Travolta because he knows that John Travolta is smarter and better than him and would have found a way to kill him first. John Travolta thinks that sounds like a sensible reason, so he grabs F.G. by the hair and drags him over to, like...some other spaceship (or maybe it's a building or something, I can't tell) and OMFG! F.G.'s girlfriend is there!!! She's wearing one of those explosive collar things that exist in tons of horror and sci-fi movies, but that don't exist in real life. F.G. tries to lie and say he's never seen her before, but John Travolta already knows that she's F.G.'s special lady, so F.G. makes sort of an "oh shit" face and John Travolta responds by looking very gleeful. John Travolta threatens to blow her up, but he doesn't, but then he has Forrest Whitaker use the collar to blow up some other guy instead, who I guess F.G. really liked a lot even though I have no clue who the fuck that guy even was. John Travolta and Forrest Whitaker laugh about it evilly and say, “Stupid humans!”


So Johnny is back in prison and probably a little upset about how his friend had his head blown off and whatnot. His buddy tries to cheer him up by giving him a pep talk. He says things like "this ain't living," which is definitely the one thing you shouldn't say to a depressed person. Johnny cuts off a lock of hair with a spearhead he kept in his pocket. Yes, the prisoner carries a weapon on him. Jesus, what kind of prison are the Psychlos running? Anyway, upon doing this stupid thing, the rest of the man-animals decide that they want to fight against the Psychlos, and begin barking like that dip-shit Tim Allen on Home Improvement and climbing on the bars of their cells. The barking makes Johnny realize that these morons will do whatever he says because he happens to be the smartest man-animal in the greater post-Apocalyptic Denver metropolitan area.

Scene changes via Star Wars-esque wipe to a Psychlo bar.

Terl (John Travolta) introduces Ker (Forrest Whitaker) to his Psychlo lady-friend, who kinda looks like this chick I dated briefly, only the Psychlo chick in the movie has a much longer tongue but surprisingly a much smaller forehead than the chick I dated. Terl then makes Ker leave so he can talk business with his "soon to be newly acquired secretary." Soon to be newly acquired? Ker leaves and the chick hands Terl the secret documents required to blackmail the really old crotchety Psychlo and then acts just like a female man-animal by demanding that Terl provide her with wealth and property when they return to Purple Planet Psychlo.

The scene shifts to an impromptu board meeting where Terl blackmails the old man by telling him he knows about the double bookkeeping scam the old guy was pulling. He threatens to vaporize the old man but also gives him a stack of blank forms that Terl insists he sign. Holy exposition, Batman! The old man then informs Terl (who obviously already knows the details of the elaborate blackmail-power-grab) that if he signs the papers, then Terl will rule the planet and the old guy will be nothing but a puppet! Old people are dumb.

Another stupid wipe to a scene where Terl is talking to some Psychlo about the new orders to get more mining equipment and training the Man-Animals to mine. Why didn't they just call them Manimals? Every time I hear someone say Man-Animals, I think they're stuttering. Anyway, Terl takes Johnny Goodboy to the Psychlo flight simulator. Johnny, of course, learns how to fly an alien aircraft in two tries.

The next thing we know is that Johnny is flying a bunch of human-animals to mine for gold. Terl makes them stop because he can't breathe past a certain point, so he puts on the stupid nose plug (but continues breathing from his mouth with no problems) and drops the man-animals out of the space ship but warns them that he'll be watching them.

Johnny and his friend hatch a plan to steal gold from Fort Knox. Somehow Johnny has been reading books in his spare time and has heard of Fort Knox and its location. His friend tells him that his plan is shit because they don't have the manpower. Of course, two seconds later a bunch of savage human-animals show up and offer to help.

Anyhow, because they suck at geography, Johnny and friends stop off in Washington D.C. on the way to Fort Knox. They go to the Library of Congress and easily find a map showing where every single nuclear warhead in the U.S. is located. They then have a brief meeting and discuss why they have to fight against the Psychlos and they say the normal trite stuff which amounts to: they're the last of humanity and they ain't goin' down like bitches. They then head to Fort Hood to stock up on 1000 year old guns and airplanes, which will of course work without a single glitch because that's the kind of movie this is. But since flying an F-15 is not as easy as flying the technologically-advanced Psycho spacecraft, they can't learn to fly these ancient machines! Oh, if only they had a 1000 year old working flight simulator! Two seconds later, they've found a functional 1000 year old flight simulator and they learn to fly pretty much instantly because it just isn't as hard as it looks; even though they lived in caves a few weeks ago. Maybe that should be the Air Force's new slogan: "Flying a fighter Jet: So Easy A Caveman Can Do It."

The man-animals also track down the nuclear bomb that they need to blow up the Purple Planet of the Psychlos. It turns out that they need to figure out how to arm the firing mechanism! These dumb slobs don't even know what the mechanism looks like, but somehow they know that this information is in appendix A. But where is Appendix A? Oh no! Humanity is doomed to serve out its last days as slaves to a cruel race of pompous aliens with dreadlocks who force them to do hard labor! The entire fate of mankind hinges on finding Appendix A! And because Battlefield Earth is that kind of movie, they search for 10 seconds and stumble upon it accidentally, with hilarious results.

Finally, Johnny explains to his renegade tribe (and the bewildered audience) that one bomb can destroy the entire Psychlo planet because the radiation reacts with the atmosphere. Johnny won't explain how this works scientifically, or how this conclusion was reached. We're just going to have to trust Johnny. Mickey wants go on the suicide mission to deliver the nuclear bomb. He claims that humanity needs Johnny and his big brain. Johnny doesn't even try to argue, probably because he doesn't want to die before he's had filthy sex with the chick with the bomb collar.


We open my part of the review with Johnny and his crew arriving at Fort Knox. Because it's the apocolypse, the doors open right away, even though they haven't been open in 1000 years. Johnny, Carlo, and Mickey marvel at the beauty that is gold, even though they don't know what it is. They load the plane or whatever they're using with gold, along with weapons.

Travolta arrives to see how the mining is doing and he questions that the gold is bar shaped. Johnny explains that he figured Terl wouldn't want just a bunch of small tiny nuggets and perfers the more professional looking giant bricks. Terl pretends that this is true when he didn't even think of this himself, but as a result of making Terl feel stupid, he orders Johnny to get more gold in 7 days! Johnny pretends this is a big deal but we know better, right? Wink-wink.

Ker is doing some guard duty around the cages when Johnny shows up out of nowhere and tells him that Terl isn't going to cut him in. Ker is like "Nuh-uh man!" and Johnny tells him he has the recording that Terl made earlier that would make Ker look bad. Ker demands it back but Johnny gives it to his friends in the cages and they pass it around like a passed out Paris Hilton at a party. Ker realizes Johnny has the upper hand and gives him the switch that would blow up Chrissy's head. And I guess the keys, cause Johnny is opening the cages and letting all the man animals out. Johnny takes Chrissy's neck bomb off and "keeps it for later". So now the revolution can begin! Course it don't take long for the Psychlos to know they're all missing.

Johnny and his friends all arm themselves and they proceed to kick ass! WOO!! Meanwhile, Ker is in Travolta's office with his feet on the desk and enjoying an alien margarita while some clip of Travolta talking about this gold/man-animal plan is playing in an endless loop on the TV monitors. Travolta walks in and sees this and Ker is like "I got you!" and Terl is like "Wow, you sure did!" and Ker is like "Don't kill me, I got a copy of this hidden somewhere" and Terl is like "OHH you do, huh?" and proceeds to guess who could have a copy until he correctly guess it's the bartender, who's head Terl cut open. Then for no reason I can see, Terl shoots off Ker's hand. Ker is sent back to work and he acts like he didn't have his hand shot off. How Terl know Ker double crossed him and that the bartender had this tape is a mystery.

Carlo is running through the rooftops of somewhere. He’s one of the men that Jonnie meet way at the beginning the movie. That seems like several hours ago. He’s running away because a Psychlo ship is chasing him. The Psychlo couldn’t possibly know what Carlo is up to so I guess he’s just chasing Carlo around for fun. But the joke is on the Psychlo! Carlo has a rocket launcher hidden up on the roof with him. He shoots it at the ship, missing of course, but fortunately it’s one of those rockets that will turn around and hit the thing you’re shooting at if you miss. Carlo is very happy about the ship exploding and there is a delightful view up his nose for about 5 seconds as he makes his trademark “Hoo hoo!” noises. Don’t celebrated too soon Carlo, there are a few more ships behind you! Just as Carlo realizes it, another missile comes out of no where and hits a ship. Carlo looks over and sees it’s cavemen flying jets!

Now I’m going to try to not go off on a tangent about cavemen being able to fly 1000 year old airplanes, but these are the same people who didn’t know about triangles 20 minutes ago. So after maybe one day of training they can fly planes that should be all rusted and decrepit as well as seasoned pilots can after months and months of training? Good thing!

There's no way in Hell that these planes would be working.

The music implies that I should be feeling some sort of emotion during the dogfight scene, but I don’t care. Some of the cavemen jet fighters get blown up and some Psychlos get blown up too but you can’t really tell which plane is which so it doesn’t matter. Some of the movie’s beloved characters die in the scene, I think. The lead caveman runs out of missiles so he flies his plane into the Psychlo plane. He hits the eject button before he crashes but you don’t see a parachute or an ejector seat so I guess he’s dead. Oh well.

Jonnie and Sammy are in the transporter room getting ready to transport poor Sammy to the planet Psychlo with the nuclear bomb. Sammy looks so innocent and sad and may actually be a character I sort of like, but I’m feeling kind of sick today so that could be my problem. Jonnie kills a couple of Psychlos and for some reason takes his nose clip breather thing off. Every time a character in the movie takes their thing off they take a deep breath because we are too stupid to realize that they can breathe now.

Sammy tells Jonnie, “You know what you gotta do,” and waits on the transporter for his heroic moment. Jonnie goes back to the control room and the transport sequence begins. Twenty Psychlo seconds until transport!

More Psychlos find Carlo and the bombs. “Hurry up and transport Sammy, Greener! They‘re destroying the bombs! It‘s now or never!”

Four Psychlo seconds until transport!

“Blow the dome!” yells Johnnie. “Go go go!”

One Psychlo second until transport!

Terl comes in the transporter and flips the switch to stop the transport.

“Interrupting something!?” he yells as he grabs Johnnie by the neck yet again.

Why, yes. In fact you are.


Doesn't "Blowing the dome" sound rather naughty? Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, Carlo or Decarlo or whatever finally "blows" the dome and we get several Michael Bay-inspired shots of bombs exploding and glass shattering. I guess what they were going for was to completely blow open this dome but all this bomb did was shatter the glass. Too bad Hans Gruber from "Die Hard" isn't here right now, I could go for a little "Shoot da glass!" right about now.

Carlo realizes he fucked up and has to blow this dome open himself. Meanwhile, Terl, who has Johnny in a stranglehold, goes on a Psychlo intercom and tells all the Psychlos to go ahead and shoot and kill all the "man-animals" in sight. Expect a scene with a human and a psychlo going "HUMAN SEASON!" "PSYCHLO SEASON!" while a confused Elmer Fudd stands by.

Carlo flies his 1000 year old ship into the dome, hoping that'd shatter the whole thing but no, it's not suspenseful enough. Carlo is hanging on, looking down onto all the psychlos shooting and killing his friends. He looks over and finds a crate full of explosives just sitting there. WOW! HEY! I'm glad THAT'S there! Carlo counts down and his final words are "piece of cake", which is really what he wished his final meal was, and using a rocket launcher, blows the explosives and the dome comes crashin' down. One thing I don't get, and yeah this is small in comparison to the rest of the crap in this movie, is wouldn't the shattered glass fall on the HUMANS, who, as a design flaw, can easily get cut to bits by falling shattered glass?

Oh well, if no one involved with the movie thought about it, I won't either. I'm also gonna ignore the fact that this "glass" just looks like blocks of ice. Yep, gonna ignore that too.

Terl reactivates the transportation sequence and tells his goons back on his planet to get ready to lay the smackdown on Earth. This gives Sonny, or Shawn, or Steve, whatever his name is with the A-Bomb that still works somehow, a chance to go into the transportation field and get teleported to the planet. He arrives and before the Psychlos can anally rape Sonny, he detonates the bomb, which causes an explosion, which literally incinerates the entire planet into little itty bitty dust particles. Wow.

Meanwhile, Johnny and Terl are fighting and during the fight Johnny puts that explody neck collar around Terl's arm and...for fuck sakes, he didn't even feel it. Well, he's gonna feel it now, cause Johnny tricks Terl into setting it off, cause he thought it was still around Chrissy's neck. So Terl's arm completely explodes and I guess Psychlo's have no blood or arteries, cause when Forest Whitaker lost his hand all Luke Skywalker like earlier, there was no blood flowing out of the stump. He just had a stump. Same here, Terl lost a whole fuckin' arm and nothing, no blood. And Terl looks more hurt that he got tricked by Johnny then losing a whole non-bloody arm.

And even this movie realizes it's too damn confusing cause it had to remind us about the neck collar by showing us a 2 second flashback of Johnny taking the collar off. Like "Hey, idiot watching this! I know this movie is TOO ADVANCE for you, so here's an explanation on what's gonna happen!" Well, thanks for explaining that. How about explaining the 2000 other things that don't make sense? No, wait, forget it. I want this over with.

So the planet Psychlo is destroyed, all the Psychlos on Earth are dead, and it's a new sunshiny day! Think I'll go for a walk outside now. The humans regroup and are like "Yay we're free!" and proceed to rebuild humanity, which I'm sure requires a lot of fucking. Lots and lots of fucking.

We go to Fort Knox where we see Terl is locked in a cage and Johnny is outside, tormenting him. Terl wants to know why he's still alive and Johnny explains that if somehow they missed a Psychlo somewhere and wanna enslave humans again, Johnny will show them the recording of Terl saying he did all this shit by teaching "man animals" how to work machinery and how to fly and stuff, so he's responsible for the destruction of Psychlo-kind, therefore, Terl will be a wanted dead man.

Terl laughs and orders Forest to kill them all but nope, Forest turned traitor and is now on the humans side! He's even "Head Psychlo" which don't make sense cause he's the ONLY psychlo. But if it makes him happy with his "title" let him be. Forest helpfully reminds Terl that he finally got what he wants, to spend time with his precious gold. And with this, the movie ends.

You may be wondering why Terl, and even Forest, didn't die at the end. Well, to get back to what I was talking about earlier in the intro of this review, the reason is that everything we just watched was really the first half of novel "Battlefield Earth". There's still, like 2000 more pages to this damn story. And as a result, Travolta at the time really thought he was making a good kickass movie that people would be like "FUCK STAR WARS!! PSYCHLO ALL THE WAY!!" and intended on making a sequel!

Well, needless to say, that didn't happen and if we're lucky, it'll never happen. I haven't been brave enough to read the book so I'm not exactly sure what happens after this point in the "story" but whatever, we're just doing the movie, and thank Xenu it's finally over.

Final Thoughts & Rating

The sets visual effects were great in some parts, cheesy in others, which makes for "almost perfect" in the B-Movie world. The story was truly stinky for a myriad of reasons and the acting... Peeee-yeeewwww!!

Someone wasted a trillion dollars or so on this movie just to say “greed is bad”. I could’ve done that for free. Wait, I just did. There are worse movies out there, though. I’m sure the critics deemed this movie ‘bad’ because of it’s ties to scientology. Simple math time…scientology is bad x greed is bad = this movie should burn in Hell.

I'm not very familiar with the original source material that inspired this unique piece of cinema, but aside from its overly-ambitious digital effects, I think it's major problem is that it was made by Scientologists, and so they were afraid that if they changed around the story at all, L.Ron Hubbard's discorporated superconsciousness would like fly back to Earth from whatever galaxy it's currently living in and smite them all with burning lava or something. I've seen a copy of this book and it is an enormous fat book, and I'm sure there's lots of stuff in there which was removed from the film, but the problem is that by not shifting the story around and sort of streamlining it to accommodate those omissions, the filmmakers were forced to just hastily summarize big chunks of the story in a variety of ways that were usually very awkward, and sometimes insufficient and confusing, while also incorporating a lot of material that pretty much felt like filler.
The digital effects were really, really awful too, especially the digital landscapes, which were mysteriously not created by Industrial Light and Magic, even though the director of this film was also like the set designer or something for the original Star Wars movie, so I guess he must have done a really shitty job on that movie too if Lucas wouldn't just cut him a fucking break and let him get some cheap digital effects for his Scientology movie (not like I'm criticizing Star Wars or anything, please don't send me angry 40 page e-mails about how amazing the sets were in Star Wars and what a philistine I am for not being able to fully understand their brilliance; maybe the guy was just a dick to the Craft Service people one too many times, I wasn't there so I really don't know.)
All intellectualizing aside, the movie was seriously way funnier than I remembered it and it had lots of explosions and silly costumes with big prosthetic foreheads, so I give it an A. Or at least a C+.

The movie itself isn't that bad as bad as people make it out to be. It isn't good either; just a mediocre sci-fi movie. It's better than the Star Wars prequels, but that isn't saying too much. Considering that the source material was the rotten L. Ron Hubbard book, Battlefield Earth is surprisingly solid. I attempted to read this book a few years ago. It was beyond awful. If a 13 year old had written all 1000 pages of Battlefield Earth, I would have thought that the kid might be able to become a decent writer later in life if he worked on storytelling techniques and learned how to control his impulse to indulge in every cliché imaginable. It's unforgivable that an adult wrote this book. I can't believe that L. Ron Hubbard actually had anything he wrote published.
There is one major thing about the movie that bothers me. We know that the psychlos invaded Earth and pretty much destroyed civilization. They imprisoned whatever humans they could and started mining the planet. But throughout the movie, we see Psychlos running around inside buildings that humans built. They could obviously see that "human-animals" had some sort of advanced technology at some point, but everybody seems surprised when humans can fire a gun or organize a rebellion or do anything that requires any sort of intelligence. They mention that the Psychlos conquered Earth in 9 minutes. In that 9 minute span, the U.S. Government didn't send an aircraft to attack the invaders? Nobody in Denver fired guns at the scary alien aggressors? There just isn't any reason for the Psychlos to think that the human-animals weren't capable of mounting a resistance.
Still, if the movie were based on a story that wasn't ridiculous, it might have had potential. I give it credit for being as solid as it ended up, all things considered.

There are many things wrong with Battlefield Earth. The biggest problem I have is the varying levels of intelligence shown by the humans. This is supposed to be the future yet they don’t know what triangles are or about glass and plastic and statues. The world is swimming in these things now they won’t still have some knowledge of them in the future? The movie seems to forget that it actually is supposed to be 1000 years into future. Everything is pretty much the way it was left when the Psychlos came except with a little dirt on it.
And the entire movie is shot at an angle. Sometimes it’s a slight angle and sometimes it’s extreme. I wonder if this has to do with the “having leverage over someone” theme that went throughout the movie. If I watch the movie again will I find the person who has the most leverage being highest up on the screen? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all planned out that way. They could never just put the camera flat and shoot straight.
I hate the Psychlos. They are awful characters. I wonder how they even have a species left to conquer anything. They all seem to hate each other and are constantly trying to do away with each other. Terl is the worst character in the movie. I hated him. I wanted to throw up when he was on the screen. I didn’t like John Travolta before, now I hate him.

I've watched this movie about 5 times now and honestly, each time I watched it, the pain got less and less. No, I didn't end up liking it or anything. And granted, the past 3 times or so it was just in chunks to get images or to review my part. But the pain is still there. The story don't really make any sense. I mean how does an alien race know about gold? Why don't these human/man-animals know about anything that happened 1000 years ago? Weren't they the least bit curious as to how they got into this sucky ass situation? Why were the non-slaves dressed like they were extras in "Clan of the Bear Cave"? Why do airplanes and projectors and A-bombs still work but not cars?? WHY-
Ok, I'm gonna stop before I cause my brain to explode. This movie just sucks Xenu balls. But it could be worse, it could be a movie adaptation of "Dianetics".
"What part of the mind thinks that giving John Travota money to make a movie based on a wacko's novel is a good idea? Page 402."

No comments:

Post a Comment