I've Found A Movie I Like More Than Most People - Sadly, it's Battlefield Earth

Illustration for article titled I've Found A Movie I Like More Than Most People - Sadly, it's Battlefield Earth

Literally because you asked for it, I watched Battlefield Earth and was surprised to discover that... Well, it's not really that bad. I mean, it's not good by any sense of the imagination, but still.


I have to admit, I went into the movie expecting some kind of wonderful celebration of all things appalling, a sweet and pointless collection of camp and shit that would, at least, be enjoyably bad to watch. But it's not; at most, it's a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie with a B-List star. But why explain? I'll just share my reactions while watching the movie with you:

-0:00: I think that Netflix is offering editorial commentary; it's taking forever to load, much longer than any other movie I've streamed from the site. It's as if the site is hoping that I'll get bored of looking at "34% Buffering" and give up.

0:00: Ten minutes later, finally, the movie starts. Apparently it's rated PG-13 for "Adult Language," and I'm already concerned that aliens shouldn't swear in human curses.

0:01: The aliens comes from a planet called "Psychlo"? Was "Evilkilleralienlo" taken?

0:05: Now that the insult "greener" has been used more than once, I am rethinking my stance on the use of real curse words. Although, perhaps if it was being used by real actors, I would feel differently.

0:06: The director of this movie has apparently gotten "suddenly switching to slow motion" with "making an interesting movie." That, or his cameras may have been broken during filming.


0:10: I love that they've just said "The grass is always greener on the other side" and "A good woman is hard to find" within a minute of each other - It's like the scriptwriters had just given up and were looking through a book of cliched proverbs in order to get the job done. And while I've been typing that, the aliens have appeared and kidnapped our hero and his two slacker loser buddies. More unexpected slow motion, of course.

0:17: Greener Kamandi (as I'm going to call him, I have no idea what his name is supposed to be) has killed an alien and escaped! It's almost exciting, but now that I can see the bad guys, I'm left wondering how much damage that Star Trek: The Next Generation did on alien make-up methods.


0:24: Wait, so this is all actually about alien office politics?

0:26: Wait, so this is all actually because John Travolta Alien slept with his boss' daughter? Is this some kind of strange and unusual attempt at comedy?


0:28: Aww, crap. Back to Greener Kamandi. I was enjoying John Travolta Alien's failure to get ahead in the world of corporate alien invasioning. Has someone re-edited this movie to take all the human scenes out? Do that, add a laugh track and some Mike Myers scenes where he's fat and farts and it's comedy genius, I'm telling you.

0:34: "Man-animals? Have you blown a head gasket?"

0:36: You can tell that the aliens are evil, because they've given the humans clothes. The bastards.


0:40: For those who've read the book this was based on, do they actually explain any of this stuff in the book? Like why the air is toxic, why the aliens are mining and all of that? I feel like they're rushing through all of that here and I don't really know what this movie's about, as a result.

0:46: This is a Sci-Fi Channel original movie, isn't it? I mean, the way it looks, the special effects, the acting, the whole thing. It's no worse - or better - than Mansquito or Raptor Island, and as much as I'd love to hate this more, I don't really get why people give it so much shit.


0:49: Why are humans capable of complex speech patterns having such trouble with mining?

0:50: The God Machine is a Knowledge Machine - Do you get it?

0:51: "See, I learned something called molecular biology." When they say things like that, I kind of like this movie.


0:57: The inspirational music when Greener Kamandi finds the Declaration of Independence is wonderful; I half expected Martin Sheen to walk in and declare that it was time to go to work.

0:58: I am such a great marksman, I can shoot cows. Great going, John Travolta Alien. Dude, cows are big and slow. I'm not sure what you're actually proving, here.


1:05: You can't fault this film for ambition; it clearly wants to be several different movies at once, including inspirational rebellion movie 101. It's like Braveheart with aliens, right now. And I say that as someone who hated Braveheart.

1:07: More weird sitcom stuff: John Travolta Alien's spy mistress is complaining that she was promised a big house back home. WTF?


1:11: See? Even aliens have video games. And they use them to train pilots, Last Starfighter-style!

1:18: You can tell that Greener Kamandi is learning; he's started tying his hair back. And what kind of alien invaders leave all the fighter jets lying around, just waiting to be used against them? These aliens DESERVE to have their asses kicked.


1:25: Even in the far-future, idiots are still called "patsies". It's good to know that some things never change.

1:30: Now the good stuff begins! A severed head and a hand shot off without any blood whatsoever! This is the kind of thing I was expecting all along! But sadly we're back to the humans already.


1:33: Even more slow-motion running and shooting. It's like Zack Snyder's father directed this movie or something.

1:35: It's like the ape riots in Conquest of The Planet Of The Apes Movie That I Can't Remember The Name Of, but somehow infinitely more boring. Although, now that the fighter jets have arrived, I have to ask, how can these people who couldn't mine correctly, suddenly fly planes?


1:37: Suddenly, it's Independence Day.

1:40: We're this far in, and I've only just realized that Greener Kamandi is actually called Johnny. Of course he is. They're always called Johnny.


1:46: "Where's the rest of my gold?" "I'll exchange it for my woman's life!" You just don't get dialogue like that these days. Or, at least, you shouldn't.

1:49: Johnny is the worst strategist ever: "If the other aliens come and try to kill us, then they'll hate you more and not kill us. As opposed to just kill you and us!"


1:51: Wait, that's it? It's over? But... but... My disappointment doesn't come from wanting the movie to continue. It's more the weird sense of anti-climax. I mean, it's not like this movie had the greatest story ever, but they're literally going to leave it with "And then they locked the alien up but had another alien free as the head Psychlo, but they're not telling us what that means. The end." I guess it's kind of old-fashioned in that way - just like it continually seemed like the movie was trying to be as Star Wars-esque as possible, with the screen wipe transitions and sub-John Williams-esque music - but it just makes the whole thing even more unsatisfying. I want some sense of closure, even from a movie as pointless as this, you know?

In the end, I don't get why this movie is so reviled. There are much worse movies out there; this is just not good, as opposed to appallingly bad. Were people really hoping for something better, and so disappoined that they started a new trend of hating on it? Or is there something I missed while Netflix buffered the hell out've it?




This movie is a complete waste of time in any shape or form. The only reason to watch Battlefield Earth is to see how many times it's laughably bad, and to sate curiosities about the content (and base belief systems) of Scientology.

There's a whole Battlefield Earth shrine at the L. Ron Hubbard museum in L.A., with a deluge of B.E. product placements. They claim that it's a "defining science-fiction work for the 21st century", but it's nothing more than extemporaneous attempt at writing a political science-fiction airport novel. It fails horribly.

It should be noted that the L. Ron Hubbard museum also claimed that Hubbard discovered Australia. Like, for the first time, ever.