0.25 star out of 5
Okay folks, we've got a winner for worst film of the year, and the year isn't even half over yet. Roger Christian's adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard's massive novel is beyond bad. We're talking the realm of "Plan Nine From Outer Space" and "The Postman" here. Even "Mission to Mars" and "Wing Commander" are better than this!
Okay, "Wing Commander" is just as bad, but still...
The film begins in the year 3000 or thereabouts. Mankind has been reduced to a caveman state. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler(Barry Pepper), the perfect hero, is revealed to be an atheist and goes out from his village to find the gods. Along the way he meets two hunters(Richard Tyson and Michael Byrne), who take them into the remains of Denver, where they promptly are captured by aliens from the planet Psyclo. Up to this part, it isn't that bad, and has promise. Then John Travolta comes and spoils it all by doing something stupid...
...When watching the Comedy Central channel, you sometimes see skits by the Saturday Night group and The Kids in the Hall which are so bad that you think they're being deliberately that way in order to be funny....Well, "Battlefield Earth" has that feel to it.
The reason is the incredibly, and one presumes deliberately, awful acting on the part of Travolta and Forest Whitaker. Travolta plays Terl, chief of security for the Psyclo empire and your typical juvenile cartoon villain, you know, Dick Dastardly or The Penguin from Batman, but without the panache. He and his assistant Ker(Whitaker) have a scheme to illegally mine gold in Colorado and need the help of the human captives, who they know were once capable of space travel, but are believed to be incapable of digging holes.
What makes Terl so annoying is his breaking into laughter all the time. It's a cartoon villainous "BWAAAA-HAHA" type of thing which the people in various comedy troupes use to portray really bad TV shows or cartoons. Even worse is the fact that all the psyclos with speaking parts betray the others at least once and whenever Terl and Ker wind up on screen, they invoke torrents of laughter. It's hilarious!! Had this been deliberate, one would expect to see the words "Laugh Riot!!!" or "Hilarious" quoted on the ads, but this is NOT a comedy, which means that this is not only one of the rankest films of the year, but the filmmakers hold the audience in far more contempt than one would tend to expect.
The special effects are good, but, when the writing stinks, the plot has holes big enough to sail the Titanic through, and the acting is wooden and amateurish, so what? it can't save the picture. Even worse, the cast is full of first rate thespians who give their worst performances in many years and should be ashamed of themselves. Unless you like bad movies, stay the heck away from this film! If you like bad films, wait until it hits the second runs and remember to take drugs beforehand.