Thursday, 20 March 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 review – Number 92 Battlefield Earth A Saga of the Year 3000

What do you get when you combine a movie star, a hokey religion and somebody willing to shell out millions of dollars? A piece of cinematic douchebaggery the likes of which we won't see until the actual year 3000. L. Ron must be smirking in his grave because of...
This needs to be your first impression of this movie. This is what everything is like. 

This movie occupies a special place in my heart. A dark and secluded place dripping with suppressed anger. It also holds the special honor, of being the only movie I have deliberately fallen asleep watching. I pride myself of the ability to sit through the worst piece of shit movie out there, without faltering. I may hate every second of it, but once I start something, I see it through to the end. Failure is not an option, when it comes to movie watching. Remember that, kids. Battlefield Earth put my resolve to the ultimate test. A friend, then girlfriend and I rented it back in 2001, figuring we'd see if the rumors were true. Rumors to the effect of 'worst movie ever' or 'makes you want to attempt brain transplant'. I usually pay little heed to reviews or rumors, but in this case they weren't lying. Watching this truly is a horrific experience. Worst movie ever made? Well, it's a contender, but I have to admit, even just 9 movies into this B100 debacle, Battlefield Earth has some strong competition. End of the day, I don't think it's possible to determine which is actually the worst. Glancing over the list of coming movies, it's hard to believe what's in store.
Boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, boy leaves to free man kind from weird alien species. Oldest story in the book.

This movie is basically a John T / Scientology lovechild. A pet project of John's that he had tried to get made for years, before Pulp Fiction, and a few other hits catapulted his dwindling star back into the coveted A-listers group. After that, he had enough money and, I guess, pulling power in Tinseltown, that somebody was willing to go along with this idea. Scientology. Even as religions go, it's pretty fucking wacky. Why a normal person would ever enter into that cult, I cannot fathom. Especially in this day and age. For movie stars, it's basically an exclussive nepotism club. Probably dropping in numbers, but in the 70s and 80s it was the bee's knees. AnywIMDb Bottom 100 review – Number 92 Battlefield Earth A Saga of the Year 3000ay, I'm not here to bash Scientology. This movie does a superb job of that by itself.
The plot in a nunshell is the origin story of man. A story that, in itself, is crazier and more far fetched than Man created from nothing and woman created from part of man. It revolves around the evil Psychlos, more precisely Terl, played by John T himself, who have enslaved human kind, more precisely Jonnie Goodboy Tyler played by Barry Pepper, a guy I held in high esteem before. Goodboy lives in the mountains, but feels there is more to life than clean air and easy women. He goes off in search of the truth, only to find himself in a slave labor camp faster than people coulIMDb Bottom 100 review – Number 92 Battlefield Earth A Saga of the Year 3000d leave their movie theater seats. But old Goodboy ain't having none of that shit, so he decides to fight back, and mobilises the enslaved humans in a fight against the tyranny of evil Psychlos, who are only on earth to deplete it completely of resources. Of course Goodboy is just the kind of guy who gets shit done, and humans ultimately conquer Terl and his minions, most of which aren't too happy with things as is.
Look at this. No really, look. What the actual fuck?

I think this movie, with 75 million dollars, is probably the B100 movie with the absolute highest budget. John himself took a huge pay cut, hoping the movie would be a box office hit, so he'd get an additional 150%. It did not. Also starring is Forest Whitaker as Ker, a role he later regretted ever having even considered taking. You don't often see actors or directors or other prominent crew members openly state their displeasure with working on a film. So even if I was never a fan of the guy, I gotta give him a little credit for not just blindly defending this garbage tooth and nail. But again, he isn't Scientology, I don't think, so perhaps he is not only free to state his opinion, but also not under any sort of moral obligation to like this. Looking around on IMDb, I found the red carpet shots from the premiere of this movie, and it made me try and visualize just what kind of mood was dominant right as the credits rolled in that theater. Some thought it was awesome, perhaps. But I can't believe the majority didn't think “what the fuck did I just watch?” as they were smiling and shaking Travolta's hand.
And it is kind of puzzling, where 75 million dollars went with this movie. Salaries for the actors was probably a substantial deal. I hope so anyway, because for 75mil, the effects, locations and sets all sucked. It looked like some of the Uwe Bol pieces of shit I'll be reviewing soon enough. Amateur stuff. Travolta pulled off a pretty standard Travolta bad guy routine. Not super bad in and of itself, but in that ridiculous outfit and wig you can't really even laugh. It's just flat out unbelievable. The dialogue sounded like they asked 50 pre-schoolers to dictate one word each, and then jumbled all those words in a big bag, drawing out randoms until they had a script. The underlying story is pretty basic. Slaves vs. masters, revolution happens, underdogs win. It's been done a gazillion times (yes.. that many). Under other circumstances, however, even the extremely beaten path could yield a positive result. But Battlefield Earth brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Quite the opposite, as it happens. It actually succeeded in ruining some super ideas I had before watching. Thanks, L. Ron. Now I won't ever be famous and cool and get girls like Courtney Love.
"You want me to say that? Really?"
This movie swept the Razzie Awards. For those of you unfamiliar, it's basically like the Oscars, only for shitty movies. Battlefield Earth was tied with Showgirls for most awards won. But as opposed to Showgirls, BE won every single category it was nominated in. That's something else. I always found the Razzie awards to be a little self righteous (says the dude spending precious hours of life bashing shitty movies online), but I suppose you can't deny that they hit the nail on the head in this case. It's difficult with movies like this, when you so clearly sense, that the only reason it was made, is one guy's deep seated, and unwarranted, fascination with a concept or idea. Kind of like how I imagine the upcoming movie Noah is going to be. I doubt Darren Aronofsky has quite the same passion for the Bible, as John Travolta has for L. Ron Hubbard's pseudo religious sci-fi wannabe texts, but the end result appears to be the same: science fiction presented as facts. Sort of. In the case of Noah, the audience is quite a bit wider than it was for Battlefield Earth. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will carry more merit or be truer. Both stories are ludicrous at best. Perhaps they learned, after Battlefield Earth, that it's not a bad idea to pay the actors less and the script writers more. For a while I thought they did. Then After Earth came out, another Dianetics inspired pretentious piece of shit. Will Smith is an awesome guy, but this movie was wrong for so many reasons. And the same goes for Battlefield Earth. It was doomed from the word go, and if John had had any sense at all, and not blind faith, he would've cast this shit away many sun revolutions ago. 

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