Retro Review: Battlefield Earth

Dreadlocked aliens turn mankind into an endangered species. Guess whose their leader?

Battlefield: Earth is the adaptation of the best-selling science fiction novel of the same name. Written by scientologist guru L. Ron Hubbard, Battlefield tells the story of the universe conquering Psychlos who are bent on gathering as much profit for their empire as possible. Unthreatened by a “man-animal” named Johnny, the Psychlos decide to rape the Earth of its last natural resources. Once completed the entire population humans will be eliminated. It’s up to Johnny to free his people and lead a revolt.

I guess the best way to describe this film is comparing it to other sci-fi classics of the past. The world Johnny struggles to free is right out of that great classic cartoon series from the ’80s called “Thundarr the Barbarian” or even “Planet of the Apes”. The Psychlos are a mixture of Klingons and Ferrengi from Star Trek.

The dogfight scenes are classically ripped off of films like “Independence Day” and “Godzilla”. It seems each and every element in this film originated somewhere else. Hubbard may have come up with this concept before these other references but with such a saturated sci-fi market they look like pale imitations.

As I watch John Travolta walking around looking like a Jamaican trapped in a KISS video, it makes me wonder was this the project he envisioned when trying so hard to get this sci-fi film off the ground.

He produced and had a huge take in this film’s success. His character is devilish but so over the top arrogant I wonder if he is supposed to be laughed at throughout the film. I know I laughed pretty hard.

As for other star Barry Pepper, he is able to unlock some charisma in his unoriginal “gung-ho” character. At least we feel a little for the guy. What bugged me is that when he sends one of his men to his doom we never see an ounce of emotion. I did however find that with every character in this film.

Also some of the language and dialogue was so ridiculous you would often scratch your head in disbelief that it was actually said.

For instance, they claim to have wiped out the human race in 9 minutes but they never think to scout the civilization for raw materials. How could aliens this dumb reign so supreme?

Battlefield: Earth is one of those sci-fi films where you pray the novel is better than the film. If this is a classic story or novel no one ever told me. Blech!

1 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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