Battlefield Earth (2000)
March 6, 2024 9:20 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] In the year 3000, man is no match for the Psychlos, a greedy, manipulative race of aliens on a quest for ultimate profit. Led by the powerful Terl (John Travolta), the Psychlos are stripping Earth clean of its natural resources, using the broken remnants of humanity as slaves. What is left of the human race has descended into a near primitive state. After being captured, it is up to Tyler (Barry Pepper) to save mankind.

Also starring Forest Whitaker, Kim Coates, Sabine Karsenti, Christian Tessier, Sylvain Landry, Michael Byrne, Richard Tyson, Christopher Freeman, Shaun Austin-Olsen, Tim Post, Earl Pastko, Michel Perron, Andy Bradshaw, Tait Ruppert, Kelly Preston.

Directed by Roger Christian. Screenplay by Corey Mandell, J. D. Shapiro. Based on the novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard. Produced by Jonathan Krane, Elie Samaha, John Travolta for Morgan Creek/Franchise. Cinematography by Giles Nuttgens. Edited by Robin Russelle. Music by Elia Cmiral.

3% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. (12% audience score.)

Skip to 1:12 for Ebert & Roeper's review. "Our first movie is an unholy mess named Battlefield Earth. Let's not beat around the bush, this is one of the ugliest and most incomprehensible movies I have ever seen. It's like spending two hours in the intergalactic town dump with a lot of people who need a bath and a trip to the dentist."

JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This movie is so bad that it wraps around the pole of "so bad it's good" and smacks it's face right into the buttitude of its badness
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:28 AM on March 6 [6 favorites]

Isn't this the movie (in)famously shot in all Dutch Angles?
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:42 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]

I kind of wonder if this movie hurt Scientology's "brand", when they were really big on catering to celebrities for a while (and probably still are, but it doesn't seem like so much of a thing any more), like being in the church would get you a leg up in your acting career. Doesn't work too well if your pitch is that you have a better level of access to be in major pictures like ... Battefield Earth.
posted by LionIndex at 10:50 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]

This movie is so bad that it wraps around the pole of "so bad it's good" and smacks it's face right into the buttitude of its badness

Honestly, when I watched with another "so bad it's good" movie loving friend, we came to the conclusion that it wasn't bad enough. Your typical "so bad it's good" film blows right through the usual barriers of "bad" and keeps going, and that's where the fascination is - you want to know when, or if, it's ever going to stop getting worse and worse and worse.

This just landed in the "bad" part of the spectrum and didn't break the Badness Barrier, which just made it boring.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:55 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]

Crap-lousy movie! I thought I told you to get some man-animals in here and fix it!
posted by uncleozzy at 11:03 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]

So-bad-it's-good requires overconfidence in a misbegotten thing that manifests as maniacally wrongheaded zeal. It's a production really fucking going for it in service of a bad idea. There is energy in that that can be enjoyed, even when it's terrible.

Battlefield Earth is more like overconfidence in the form of hand-wavey, don't-sweat-it-this-can't-possibly-miss slapdashery. It's believing the bad idea is so good that you can go with your thirty-fifth choice for screenwriter and twenty-eighth choice for director, but don't worry, it's L Ron's masterpiece!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:35 AM on March 6 [6 favorites]

ugh I saw this in the theatre with a friend who would sometimes say "lets go see a movie" randomly, without an actual movie in mind he wanted to see. So we ended up in this one. and it was soooo bad, that I made him sit through the whole thing even though he wanted to leave. I feel like my logic was faulty there because if I was trying to get revenge for his bad movie choice wasn't I also making myself suffer? I think we must have been afternoon drinking. that's the only explanation. Terrible movie.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:02 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

Yes, this is the film with so many Dutch angles you wind up watching it with your head cocked like a confused puppy, then you have a crick in your neck for the rest of the day.

It's also the movie where much of the dialogue is gibberish about "man-animals," and the plot contains a lot of space alien office politics.

But best of all, a bunch of the man-animals teach themselves to fly fighter jets in roughly a week, which I found delightful.
posted by champers at 3:29 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

Man-animals that breathe breath-gas.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:49 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

The kind of hilarious thing is that while the book is decent enough for its time (I mean, as a kind of throwback to the glory days of dumb pulp universe-spanning sci-fi serials), it's a THOUSAND PAGES LONG. And someone figured they could make it into a movie? I mean I'm pretty sure they ended up dumping the back 7/8ths of the book for potential sequels, but sheesh. That said, I can barely remember how much of the book actually ended up filmed, I guess they're claiming half? I mean, I'm not about to watch it again to see, right?
posted by Kyol at 6:26 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

I have the Rifftrax for this movie, and have shown it at Christmas before. We're starting to do RT at MST Club, maybe we should consider this one in the near future. Battlefield Earth is a favorite bad movie for me.
posted by JHarris at 9:42 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]

So bad it can't be good. Travolta should have danced,but even that would not have saved it. Such an easy story to get right at the time, just Red Dawn but with Aliens. yeesh.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:45 AM on March 7

My friend's dad paid 2 canadian dollars so we could see this in theatres together. Sometimes I remember that, and think I should send him the money back....
posted by LegallyBread at 10:58 AM on March 7

The kind of hilarious thing is that while the book is decent enough for its time (I mean, as a kind of throwback to the glory days of dumb pulp universe-spanning sci-fi serials), it's a THOUSAND PAGES LONG.

*snort* The person I saw it with was a guy who spent a couple years at University in China, and for whatever reason it was one of the very few books the international students could get in English. So after a couple years everyone there eventually broke down and read the damn thing, he said.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:47 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

Holy crap that's a lot of Dutch Angles. And this is pretty funny.
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:38 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

This is terrible, but the friend I saw it with and I used to randomly shriek "Man animals can't fly!!!" at each other. So there's that.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:43 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

Only saw it once and in the theatre with a friend who had read the books (!) So while I get how people think of this the way they do, my take on it has always been that it is simply boring (which is the worse sin for any movie). I didn't find the film particularly distinctive enough to ever want to revisit it. Which is too bad as I had high hopes for a Sci fi epic made by and largely for a cult.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:20 AM on March 8

Those nostril tubes are very backpfeifengesicht.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:01 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]

Will the theatrical cut ever be available on home video?

THAT is the pertinent question.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:54 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]

i fucking love this movie and have great memories of watching it with my late father, who had read every hubbard novel and had no interest whatsoever in scientology.
posted by AlbertCalavicci at 6:51 AM on March 9

I enjoyed the book at the time, and I had high hopes for the movie.

The bitterest disappointment rivaled only by the end of my first marriage....
posted by Thistledown at 12:36 PM on March 9

Hubbard was a well-respected pulp author - it's difficult to gauge how popular, as he was amazingly self-aggrandizing (what a shock, right?), but his name on the cover apparently increased sales. He wrote well in the context of his contemporaries, and several of his works still hold up.

When BE first came out, it was pretty clear to this high school SF fan that this was most likely a work from the 40's that was only notes, or was simply too long to sell to the magazines. There were few SF books at that time, and even then, mainly from small presses. The followup multi-book series felt ghost written from notes by Hubbard, and I stopped after the first one. But as a fan of old-time space opera style SF, I remember enjoying BE at the time it came out. But I also never re-read it so as to not have to evaluate as a much older reader.
posted by jkosmicki at 2:38 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]

I'm another who read the book when it was new-ish, and remember it fondly; but even back then I'd seen enough bad movies to no longer attend one without vetting its reviews carefully, and NOBODY found this film worthwhile. (Except, now we know, Albert Calavicci.)
posted by Rash at 5:38 PM on March 9

I have never seen the movie (or maybe I have, but it was washed right outta my mind with its horribleness).

Growing up in a series of small-towns in North-western Alberta, the libraries often had "slim pickings" when it came to science-fiction and/or fantasy novels, so I read EVERYTHING that was on the shelves, in those sections...

However - I do recall reading this one and thinking it was pretty crappy, silly, etc...

But... my tastes are not to be relied on - because I liked his *other* series... "Mission Earth", although I petered-out after about book 7 or 8...
posted by rozcakj at 10:55 AM on March 11

« Older Star Wars: The Bad Batch: The ...   |  Book: The Information: A Histo... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments