Reel Reviews | Battlefield Earth

Starring: John Travolta, Forest Whitaker and Barry Pepper
Rated: PG-13 (Violence, mild profanity and utter stupidity)

I am a firm believer that there is a multiplex in Hell. It’s open 24 hours a day and offers such classics as Ishtar, Phat Beach and The Haunting. Well, a new film has just arrived to replace all of them. It’s called Battlefield Earth and it is easily the worst movie of the year, and the summer, and the decade. Despite the fact that we’re less than half a year into the 21st Century, this baby’s a real contender for Worst of the Century.

This science fiction drama, set in the year 3000, supposedly tells the story of life on Earth a thousand years after a group called the Psychlos has taken over the planet. Humans are slaves, a few live in ragtag bands, and things are Pretty Bad all around. But then, so is the movie!

A leader arises among the humans (Barry Pepper, the sniper from Saving Private Ryan) and, after falling into the hands of the Psychlos, forms a weird relationship with the head of security, Terl (Travolta). To say his work here is truly silly and awful is to insult silly and awful actors everywhere. From the ridiculous dreadlocks he wears to his Snidely Whiplash-like line delivery, this is Mr. White Suit’s worst work since Welcome Back Kotter. Pepper’s a good actor but doesn’t have the looks or personality to be a magnetic leading man. Whitaker has GOT to be collecting much bank to be involved in this disaster!

Look, any plot that suggests that, one thousand years after the planet was taken over (in nine minutes), that the gold in Fort Knox would still be intact; that you could teach savage, brutish warriors to fly complex jets in less than a week and find those jets fueled and intact; and that the invaders would be stupid enough to leave all this stuff lying around for 10 centuries, deserves to be ripped. And if you pay $7.50 or more to be subjected to this utter waste of time, film and money, so do you. Ripped off, that is. Minus 4 reels! (I’m not kidding!)

Grade: F