Battlefield Earth (also referred to as Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000) is a 2000 American dystopian science fiction action film based upon the first half of L. Ron Hubbard's 1982 novel of the same name. Directed by Roger Christian and starring John Travolta, Barry Pepper, and Forest Whitaker. Battlefield Earth was released on May 12, 2000. The movie was a major critical and commercial failure and has been called one of the worst, if not truly the Worst Movie of All Time. It even won almost all of the 2000 Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture of the Year.
A sequel based on the second half of the 1000-page book was planned, but plans were cancelled due the film's scorn plus the film's independent studio Franchise Pictures going out of business in 2004.
In the year 3000, humanity is no match for the Psychlos, a greedy, manipulative race on a quest for ultimate profit. Led by the seductive and powerful Terl, the Psychlos are stripping Earth of its resources, using the broken remnants of humanity as slaves. What is left of the human race has reverted to a primitive state, believing the invaders to be demons and technology to be evil. After humanity has all but given up any hope of freeing themselves from alien oppression, a young man named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler decides to leave his desolate home high in the Rocky Mountains to discover the truth, whereupon he is captured and enslaved. It is then that he decides to fight back, leading his fellow men in one final struggle for freedom.
Why It Sucks
- THE DUTCH ANGLES. The Nostalgia Critic said that about at least 95% of the shots are slanted, which only serves to be distracting and annoying. On the other hand, some reviewers (even the director himself) claimed there is only ONE unslanted shot in the entire movie.
- The acting (especially Travolta and Pepper‘s) is terrible, with elements of overacting and underacting throughout.
- Poor script. See numbers 4 and 5.
- Several plot holes, some scientifically impossible. Among the highlights: the remains of the former human civilization somehow managed to last for 1000 years, and despite the fact that the Psychlos invaded Earth for its gold, they are absolutely unaware of Fort Knox! It should be noted that in the novel, Fort Knox is one of the first places they attacked.
- Most of the characters act like morons, even the humans. At one point, Jonnie tries to destroy a Psychlo ship by throwing a wooden stick at it. And a fat hunter jumps off an edge, and breaks his ankle.
- It's a cheap Star Wars knockoff.
- Berry Pepper acts like a lunatic.
- Several of the movie‘s scenes are ripped off from the original Star Wars trilogy, Blade Runner, and The Matrix.
- Unfaithful to the source material; see number 4.
- Lackluster CGI effects.
- An awfully droning soundtrack.
- Overuse of color filters throughout the film, most notably the color blue is used whenever the Psychlos are at their lair.
- Laughable costumes, where both the humans and Psychlos have long, messy hair with dreadlocks similar to that of a metal band. As a result, the Psychlos fail to appear intimidating.
- For every scene transition in the film, it uses the old-fashioned screen wipe every single time!
- It was originally going to get a sequel for a release in 2002, but it was cancelled due to the bankruptcy of Franchise Pictures.
- Its plot was based on a rather mediocre book.
Upon release, Battlefield Earth was heavily panned, and is often considered as one of the worst films ever made. The film has a "rotten" score of 3% based on 148 reviews with an average rating of 2.3 out of 10. The critical consensus states: "Ugly, campy and poorly acted, Battlefield Earth is a stunningly misguided, aggressively bad sci-fi folly". The same site later ranked the film 27th on their "Worst of the Worst (2000-2009)" list for the top 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000's. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 9 out of 100, based on 33 critics indicating "Overwhelming dislike".
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film the rating of half a star out of four and described it as "like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way. I watched it in mounting gloom, realizing I was witnessing something historic, a film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies." Leonard Maltin rated the film a "BOMB" in his book Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, writing: "Clumsy plot, misplaced satire, unbelievable coincidences and a leaden pace trample Travolta's weird but amusing performance." David Bleiler gave the film one star out of four in the TLA Video & DVD Guide, writing: "This is disjointed, tedious and every bit as bad as its reputation." Jon Stewart mocked the film on his television program The Daily Show, describing it as "a cross between Star Wars and the smell of ass".
The film's failure at the box office led to the end of the film's independent studio Franchise Pictures. They had already suffered loses from this film and their other films disappointing performance at the box office, but their final blow came in 2004 when one of Franchise's investors, the German-based Intertainment AG, filed a lawsuit against them claiming that they had faked the budget for this film to be $75 million when it was actually $44 million. Intertainment won the suit and won $121.7 million in damages, while Franchise Pictures declared bankruptcy after the lawsuit.
In 100th episode of the Nostalgia Critic when he reviewed this film, he lambasted the film. However, when he made a commentary on the episode as himself, he said that while the film is bad, he actually found it enjoyable to watch. He praised the production design and said Travolta was very entertaining to watch.
- Forest Whitaker later regretted taking part in the film.
- The planned sequel was cancelled following the disastrous box office returns and bankruptcy of Franchise Pictures.
- The film can be funny sometimes.
- Some of the sets have creative designs.