Battlefield Earth: A Saga Of The Year 3000

2000, Movie, PG-13, 115 mins


An old-fashioned space opera in the worst sense of the term; the 1982 novel from which it's adapted is so unsophisticated and hokey you'd think it had been published in 1932. While the look is cool — like a tinted B&W film, all washes of green, blue, amber and red — the story's broad strokes are painfully clichéd and its details make no sense at all. By the year 3000, Earth has endured 1,000 years of colonization by giant Psychlos, sadistic aliens who clomp around in pimp shoes and spend an inordinate amount of time throwing back their heads and cackling; if they had long mustaches, they'd be twirling them maniacally with their claws. Having destroyed human civilization, the Psychlos are using mankind's ignorant survivors ("man-animals") to strip-mine the planet's mineral wealth. Enter rebellious Jonnie (Barry Pepper), who leaves his isolated, superstitious mountain village in search of adventure and is almost immediately captured and shipped to the glass-and-exposed-steel-framework dome that protects the Psychlos from Earth's atmosphere. Jonnie reb is soon noticed by head Psychlo Terl (John Travolta), who needs a smart and educated man-animal to pull off a clandestine get-rich-quick scheme. So he hooks up Jonnie to a learning machine and in mere moments the lad is speaking Psychlo-babble and conversant in the aliens' culture and technology; little does Terl imagine that he'll soon be teaching his cage mates advanced mathematics and fomenting revolution... Battlefield Earth was written by L. Ron Hubbard, a pulp sci-fi writer since the '30s and, more to the point, the founder of Scientology, the pop religion embraced by Travolta and many other celebrities. In 1999, Travolta referred to this project as "the pinnacle of using my [Hollywood] power for something." It's hard to know what to say to such monumental self-delusion, except that it's worthy of the moronic, egomaniacal Terl. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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Battlefield Earth: A Saga Of The Year 3000
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