a review by the Crow.
When you were learning…
For a long, long time, I wanted to watch this movie, but I didn’t get around to it until about 2005 or 2006. When I finally did, sat at home with mum-Crow and Pickpocket the Sir, hoping beyond hope that it would be everything I wished it to be… it delivered.
The movie has since become part of one of our murder rituals. While Pickpocket and I haven’t seen each other in some years, the mummy crow and I watch this movie (certain others) every time one of us visits the other while we eat meat chops (the Calcuttan variant). We make the chops look a little like rats, even, if we can be bothered to waste the time.
Battlefield Earth, or Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, is a 2000 movie directed by the man-animal Roger Christian, and stars some man-animals, as well as some demons, who all congregate around JOHN TRAVOLTA.
Did you get that? This movie stars
Got it? John Travolta‘s in this movie. John Travolta. Ah, you got it, I see. I won’t mention him again. John Travolta
…how to SPELL YOUR NAME!
WARNING: THIS SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS
So, John Travolta we start off a thousand years in the future. Humanity has been enslaved by Psychlos – an alien species – for a long, long period of time. Johnny (Barry Piper) lives with some woman who I guess is his girlfriend in a small community out in the hills somewhere. He seems a little bored with his life, hiding from the so-called “demons” that roam the land, and one day asks his tribe (or whatever the this community is supposed to be) whether or not “anyone here ever seen one?! A demon urrg!, a monster, a beast, YEEUURGGH!!1!” in a way that can only really be explained as a man having a psychotic episode.
He decides to head out there and take a look around, and immediately becomes mates with two monkey-looking men out in the wilderness. They’re subsequently captured by some Psychlos and are taken to the Psychlo base of operations in Denver, CO. Why Denver, CO? John Travolta, that’s why
Psychlos are kind-of like if a Ferengi and a bonny young Klingon lass fell in love, and they did the deed and spawned a new species. All they care about is money, and they’re after earth’s gold.
Terl (John Travolta) is the head honcho of security on the planet, and he wants off it. But, he’s done something with some senator’s daughter, and is being punished for it. The marvellously-haired District Manager who comes to visit tells him that Home Office has decided to keep Terl (John Travolta) on for another fifty cycles. With endless options for renewal! with endless options for renewal! with endless options for renewal!
Anyway, I’m not going to waste too much time on the plot of the movie, considering how I love it so much and could go on for hours about how amazing it is. But here are the broad strokes:
Terl (John Travolta) masterminds a plan, dragging his bullied aide Ker (Forest Whitaker) along for the ride, to get humans to mine more gold for him and make him filthy stinking rich. There are some places psychlos just cannot go, since they don’t mix with radioactive particles. The air they breathe reacts explosively with radioactive particles (just how are idiots alive to begin with?!), so Terl (John Travolta) wants humans to go in and do the job.
His fellow psychlos previously ridiculed his plan, because of course: who heard of man-animals being able to do anything?! I know it’s been almost a thousand years, but consider for a moment that they fought humans to take over the planet. You think they’d know we’re capable of little bits and bobs here and there.
He picks out Johnny as his prime man-animal, and after figuring (somehow) that humans love eating rat, he has Johnny educated, and sends a small bunch of man-animals off to get his gold for him.
From there on out, the humans band together, and rise up against the psychlos. It’s all quite strange when you consider the timeframes involved.
Somehow, Terl (John Travolta) has Johnny’s girlfriend as a hostage. How he even knows about her is beyond me, but hey: tension (or an attempt at it)! The monkey-people master the flying of fighter planes within minutes, they arm themselves and rob Fort Knox dry, they secure “radiation bombs” (why doesn’t Johnny know what they’re really called, given his newfound magic intelligence?), and so on and so forth and…
I could go on about the plot, but I think it’s about time I stopped. Before you filthy man-animals get any wiser…
I was being trained…
The first thing one notices about this great big turkey is the fucking dutch angles. Every scene in the movie, bar one scene (one!) is presented as if seen through the eyes of a person with a wonky neck.
And the transitions. Oh Xenu, the transitions. It’s like the editors opened up Powerpoint to stitch this movie together. Almost every scene ends with a damned wipe.
And the goddamn movie employs slow motion in absolutely the wrong way. We can see they’ve not shot the movie at framerates more conducive to slow motion. AARRGGHH!!!
It’d be easy to slag off the cast, but just look at what they have to work with. I really feel bad for Pepper and Whitaker; especially for Pepper. He doesn’t have as many movies as Whitaker to cover up this giant steaming turd off his filmography.
I do, however, have to pick one member of the cast out.
Guess who it is?
Go on… guess.
See, when you were learning how to spell your name! He was being trained… to suck in this movie!
Goodness gracious me. Overacting, thy name is John Terlvolta! How in the fuck did he think he was doing anything close to a good job?! He’s a blasted South Park character! But that’s not where it all ends. Battlefield Earth is a vanity project of Travolta’s design (effectively). He pushed the movie to the limits of promotion, he kept talking about (and possibly still does) sequels and the like.
Can Battlefield Earth ever have a genuine sequel? Well, as long as it carries on this level of production, YES!John Travolta How can anyone tire of movies which are so bad that they end up being good?!
See, I don’t give a toss about the whole “hurr-durr Battlefield Earth is a Scientology-propaganda-machine” thing. Is it one? I mean, nothing about the movie suggests it is. To the random viewer, this movie does nothing to suggest one towards the cult. Far as this crow’s concerned, it’s an attempt at a big SF flick and that’s that.
It’s written horribly, it’s executed horribly, and it makes the whole thing so much more adorable.
to conquer GALAXIES!
In closing, Battlefield Earth is a great big turkey. In terms of it being the worst movie of all time, it’s nowhere close. But fuck this crow if it isn’t a half decent contender for the top 20.
I seriously wouldn’t recommend watching it in one go for fear of giving you lot brain-damage, but yeah… Battlefield Earth is a masterpiece in terms of bad film making.
I think I’ve said enough.
So… John Travolta
Let’s rate this already, shall we?