Ooga Booga Booga
Hubbard's Sci-fi Fantasy Means Less Than Zero
by Cole Smithey
"Battlefield Earth," based on a crappy 1982 sci-fi novel by cult religion dipshit 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. This grade Z movie should likewise have the effect of insuring that none of its cast, crew, or director ever be allowed to work in cinema ever again. In spite of, Scientology member and Battlefield Earth actor and producer, John Travolta’s statements about there being "no connection between "Battlefield Earth" and Scientology," the correlation is unavoidable. Part of Scientology’s pitch is that, 75 million years ago, an evil ruler named "Xenn" implanted evil spirits (called Thetans) inside volcanoes on Earth, and that all humans are made up of these "Thetans," which can only be removed by spending lots of money on Scientology. Chortle.
In "Battlefield Earth," the year is A.D. 3000 and man is an endangered species enslaved by Klingon-styled aliens (called "Pyschlos") from the planet — you guessed it — Psychlo. Man has somehow devolved into a gloomy existence as dumb tribal cave dwellers, soon-to-be-led by dummy caveman number one, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper - Saving Private Ryan). Psychlo Earth chief, Terl (John Travolta - Pulp Fiction) is especially mean and nasty because, aside from having long stinky dreadlocks, he has just been ordered by the Psychlo "home office" to remain in command on Earth for the rest of his life rather than return to his home planet as he had planned. Terl schemes for vengeance by having his "man-animal" slaves mine enough gold that he can buy his way into becoming ruler of Psychlo. Terl makes the fateful mistake of strapping Jonnie in front of a wisdom machine that lasers vast quantities of information into Jonnie’s little "man-animal" brain. Jonnie emerges from his Clockwork Orange crash course to impart geometry rules about triangles to his cohorts. With this important (sic) information, the man-animals outsmart their keepers by waltzing into Fort Knox and removing enough gold distract Terl, so they can blow everything up and win their freedom. You can practically hear Hubbard yukking it up to himself while he wrote this crap — "yeah, that’s a pretty good ideer."
There isn’t one good scene in the whole movie, much less a scene that actually moves the story forward in any way. It’s just a bunch on nonsensical sci-fi junk dialogue and atmosphere stuck indiscriminately together. It’s about as entertaining as watching a stagnate pond. The movie plays like a bad rip-off of Xena: Warrior Princess, but without any of the jokes or even it’s ironic continuity jumps. If director Roger Christian (Nostradamus, and assistant director on Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace) had been replaced by Blaxploitation master, Rudy Ray Moore (Dolomite: The Human Tornado), Battlefield Earth might of at least had a chance of realizing its inner googly moogly B-movie potential. Rudy Ray Moore would have let Terl’s black assistant Ker (Forest Whitaker - The Crying Game) take over the whole story with lots of ha-ha villainous rapture and physical slap-stick super-action. Unfortunately, Christian can’t even make his mistakes look sincere. When a Psychlo bimbo with an 11 inch tongue walks into the same room with a different character after having just eluded to giving Terl some well-placed tongue in the previous scene, its just one more dumb continuity mistake to remind the audience of how slowly the clock is moving while they watch this torturous morass of a movie. If you thought Plan Nine From Outer Space was as bad as movies could get, think again.
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard said, "If you really want to enslave people, tell them that you’re going to give them total freedom." "Battlefield Earth" seems to be saying, if you really want to divert people, insult them with garbage. Both theories are terribly flawed, but the second one is easier to see through because in this day and age people can spot a bad movie quicker than they can spot corrupt religions. The only perk in "Battlefield Earth" is that, in this case, they are one and the same. Audiences will have the freedom to walk out of the theater on this movie, and I expect many who don’t read this review will exercise that right. I just hope they don’t forget to ask for a refund at the box-office.
Rated PG-13. 117 mins. (F) (Zero Stars)