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Battlefield Earth (2000)

tomatometer

2

Average Rating: 2.3/10
Reviews Counted: 138
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 135

Ugly, campy, and poorly acted, Battlefield Earth is a stunningly misguided, aggressively bad sci-fi folly.

3

Average Rating: 2.3/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 36

Ugly, campy, and poorly acted, Battlefield Earth is a stunningly misguided, aggressively bad sci-fi folly.

audience

11

liked it
Average Rating: 1.6/5
User Ratings: 53,442

My Rating

Movie Info

This big-budget science fiction adventure centers on a final battle between good and evil for control of the world. In the year 3000, Earth is ruled by the Psyclos, a vicious alien race of which Terl (John Travolta) is a member, that has laid waste to the planet, killed the majority of the population, and stripped Earth of its valuable resources. Pockets of resistance remain among the surviving humans; Jonnie "Goodboy" Tyler (Barry Pepper) is one such rebel, living in hiding in the mountains

Jan 16, 2001

Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (138) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (135) | DVD (21)

The summer movie season has barely begun and already it has its first 10-ton turkey.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With this kind of epic ineptitude -- hell, the flick is set in the year 3000 -- you go for "worst of the millennium."

May 28, 2013
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the darkest, ugliest, most uninvolving and incomprehensible major-studio fantasies I've ever seen.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here is a picture that will be hailed without controversy as the worst of its kind ever made. It could be renamed Ed Wood's Planet of the Apes if that title didn't promise more cheesy fun than the movie actually delivers.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The worst movie in living memory.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The director is Roger Christian, who, if early audience response is anything to go by, would do well to flee the country under an assumed name.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The emphasis placed on indoctrination, enslavement and superior alien intelligence brings the film troublingly close to subliminal propaganda, while the script is so banal you'd have to be brainwashed to enjoy it.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

With this journey into the heart of rubbish, this full-throttle adventure into the hyper-space of drivel, Travolta not only incinerates what is left of his own reputation, but takes someone else down with him.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

It's incessantly loud, underlit and badly directed -- actually not so much directed as ineptly assembled, with no action sequence going unbotched.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Solid, old-fashioned rollocking adventure? You can keep telling yourself that, but you'd be better off saving the cash, going home and watching Star Wars on video again instead.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Battlefield Earth is a Plan Nine From Outer Space for the new millennium.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Not so much watched as lived through, Battlefield Earth is bad enough to make audiences ashamed to be part of the same species as the people who made it.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

There's so much to mock in Battlefield Earth, it's hard to know where to start.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

The film starts well with interesting comic book-style camera angles, but it never generates enough tension due to preposterous plot holes and liberal borrowings from other movies.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Worst example of vanity filmmaking in years.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

There's really only one way to summarize my sheer hatred for what is possibly one of the worst movies I've ever seen. And it's through a list.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

"Battlefield Earth," based on a crappy 1982 sci-fi novel by cult religion dips#*t L. Ron Hubbard, is so inept and pathetic that it should forever end any questions about the validity of Hubbard's manufactured religion of Scientology.

April 12, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Comments (7)
ColeSmithey.com

There's really nothing here you haven't seen before, except maybe the sight of John Travolta walking around with tubes in his nose.

March 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Hollywood.com
Hollywood.com

Audience Reviews for Battlefield Earth

Now this film wanted to be epic, it really tried, Travolta put millions of his own fortune into it and pushed people into helping him create it. These type of catastrophic alien invasion films were all the rage around this time after the success of 'Independence Day'. The films title alone sounds epic, a thundering statement...BATTLEFIELD EARTH!, it sounds like the ultimate sci-fi action film, so what's wrong with it?.

First and foremost it looks like, and for all intense and purposes, is an extended 'Star Trek' episode. The plot is very dull and plays out like a dull episode of Star Trek, one involving lots of dialog about mining for minerals (gold, for what reason? I dunno), slave trading and general alien politics. The mistake made with the alien race (with the rather stupid name of 'Psychlos', is that the best Hubbard could come up with??) in this film is that they are dissected too much. We hear about all sorts of trivial background stuff that isn't required, in the end they just seem like large humans, there is no mystery.

On top of the really overly laboured plot is the simple fact that these aliens look crap. Putting aside the obvious 'Klingon' like appearance, they look like huge platform wearing transvestites with dreadlock-like hair in campy goth space suits. As if they belong in some fetish club or one of those freaky bizarre goth circus's.

Then there's the simple question of why Travolta's face isn't the same as the rest of the alien race? why do all of them have devil/vampire-like faces but Travolta's is normal?. Is this because Travolta didn't wanna be hidden behind makeup?. Who's decision was it to let Travolta have/keep his little goatee? that kinda detracts from the whole alien design don't you think, a humanoid goatee. And who are these really old looking alien politicians with the flabby necks? is that what 'Psychlos' look like with age? why don't they look like the other 'Psychlos' facially?.

Other minor issues spring to mind also such as the fact these guys don't feel pain, Travolta's arm gets blown off yet it doesn't really faze him. Whitaker seems to be the only black alien in the entire race. Then there's the amusing observation that most of the cast clearly can't walk too well in the stilts they are on, no running by these aliens hehe.

Then we have the human element, or what's left of them. OK so humans are almost extinct and the 'Psychlos' have been ruling them for 1000 years apparently. So why has humankind completely forgotten everything about their past? the ability to use their brains, know what basic objects like glass or weapons are, names of places etc...they have forgotten everything which makes no sense. Mankind has been enslaved by aliens but why have they gone backwards to primitive cavemen? they don't know what a city is or what stars in the sky are, they worships Gods like ancient humans once did and they all scream and yelp like monkeys. But they still wear trousers.

The plot totally loses it once the rebellion begins, the last humans led by Pepper conveniently find apparent secret military bases still stocked to the gills with weapons, Harrier jets and power it seems. Little bit of training and many of them are now proficient in guns and even better...can fly Harrier Jump jets no probs!! just like that. So much so that they are able to engage alien ships in a fancy ass dogfight.

There really are so many plot holes and question marks I can't possibly mention them all or remember them all!. I do recall the effects being somewhat bigged up at the time, they were suppose to be pretty neat for the day. I guess they aren't too bad to be honest, some shots look nice, mainly ruined cityscape's, the alien ships are a reasonable design as is some of the ship flight sequences. Sets are pretty bland and uninspired, just faceless metallic facilities whilst the whole film has this quite ugly blue/grey/green tint/hue to it which is unusual.

So for a film called 'battlefield earth' there actually isn't that much in the realms of mega earthbound conflicts going on, its all based in one location. On a certain silly level the film can be enjoyable with its action sequences, it totally jumps on the 'Independence Day' bandwagon that's for sure, but it can still be minor fun.

Had this been a few half hour episodes of a TV sci-fi series then it could be looked on more favourably. I mean the film really isn't much better than a TV show, but I must admit to liking Travolta's wickedly evil campy performance. That and the 'Psychlos' females that we get a glimpse of, a kind of fetish wearing gothic 'Cenobite' with very very long tongues, film highlight for me.
March 30, 2013
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

From what I've heard befire I watched this movie, it's one of the worst films ever made, quite possibly even the absolute worst. I knew nothing about the movie so I rented it and here's what I have to say: ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! How was this movie allowed to be made? Who thought this would work? What parts of the movie make sense? The plot is simple and stupid; it's in the year 3000 and a weird race or something called the "Psyclos" are ruling the Earth and this group of humans has to stop them. The leader of the psyclos is named Terl and he's played by John Travolta. Why would you cast him? His only good role was in Pulp Fiction. His performance in this shows why he'll never be taken seriously as an actor ever again. His line reading is hammy and he's the definition of over-the-top. Another actor is Barry Pepper and he's mostly known for his role as the sniper in Saving Private Ryan. If only he could've brought that role on the set of Battlefield Earth and sniped the director. A really odd thing about the movie are the weird camera angles. All the angles are tilted so that whatever is on screen is close to being exactly diagonal. It's mind-numbing and it gets old really quick. The special effects are awful. They made me feel like I was watching a campy, public domain action movie.The editing also doesn't help for the "action" scenes. It's just all over the place. One example is when (Spoiler alert, though I'm pretty sure you've lost you're ability to give a shit with this movie.) Terl gets his arm blown off. The guy blasts it, his arm is on screen for barely a second and that's it. I didn't even know what had happened until I saw Terl with a missing arm in the end scene. Oh and the "clever" irony of the last scene involving a bunch of gold is enough to make anyone groan or make a sarcastic remark. (You don't say?!) Avoid this movie by all means. It's an hour and forty-five minutes that will just drag on and on. The worst part is you probably won't be able to get it back.
May 4, 2012
Tyler Robertson

Super Reviewer

It's difficult to describe how bad this movie is. It's one of those movies that's so bad it deserves to be classified as a comedy.
December 4, 2011
Joe McCall

Super Reviewer

Well la dee dah. What do we have here? Oh yeah, one of the worst movies ever made. Terrible script, beyond awful acting, absolutely no logic, pitiful lighting, ugly sets. I truly believe that there are only about 50 or 60 people who even found this one tolerable. It may very well be one of the 10 worst movies of all time.

First of all, this is pretty much the worst script I've ever heard. Seriously, ever. Even the memorable quotes were lame. It was like a 3rd grader was writing the script for a fantasy sci-fi movie he was writing for his buddies.

Also, the movie is infamous for it's bad acting. And the pinnacle of all that bad acting has got to be Barry Pepper as Jonnie Tyler, leader of the human resistance. When he is not viciously overacting he is underacting, and his character comes across as INCREDIBLY annoying. John Travolta wasn't very good either, but he did a better job than most of the other cast.

In addition, the lighting is horrible. It's dark when it's supposed to be light and light when it's supposed to be dark. It's all one giant mess. I felt like I was watching a home movie made by two Star Trek nerds.

The sound was really messed up too. You remember how revolutionary the sound affects in Star Wars were? That would be the opposite of "Battlefield Earth". There are plenty of awkward silent sequences and even more awkward laser sounds.

You know, there are some movies that make me want to yell at every one who can possibly enjoy them. This is one of them. Awful. Truly, truly awful. One of the worst films of all time awful.
August 23, 2011
Marc L.
Marc Lewis

Super Reviewer

    1. Terl: Crap-lousy ceiling! I thought I told you to get some man-animals in here to fix it!
    – Submitted by David B (7 months ago)
    1. Chirk: I'm going to make you as happy as a baby psychlo on a strait diet of kerbango!
    – Submitted by Jed G (19 months ago)
    1. Terl: Your powers of observation are simply STARTLING!
    – Submitted by Jed G (19 months ago)
    1. Terl: Please! Tell the senator that if I had even an inkling that that was his daughter-
    2. District Manager Zete: Watch your tongue! The senator's exact words to me were, and I'm quoting, 'If that blasted Terl tries to talk his way out of it, have him exterminated.'
    3. Terl: [glares at him furiously]
    4. District Manager Zete: But cheer up! There is one bright side to all this: one day, you're going to die. And when you end up in hell, at least it'll be a step up from this place! Ha ha ha ha ha!
    – Submitted by Jed G (19 months ago)
    1. Terl: I can assure you that I was not groomed since birth to have some cushy job. While you were still learning how to SPELL YOUR NAME, I was being trained to conquer galaxies! And to do anything less is a disgrace to my entire family line.
    – Submitted by Jed G (22 months ago)
    1. Jonnie "Goodboy" Tyler: I brought all the medicine I could find.
    2. Chirk: I'm sorry... the gods took your father in the night.
    3. Jonnie "Goodboy" Tyler: [chucks medicine over the hillside] Noooo!
    – Submitted by Jed G (22 months ago)
View all quotes (15)

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