The bad of the bad: Battlefield Earth

There are plenty of bad movies out there. Movies like “Bad Boys” or “The Fast and the Furious” are watchable at best; poorly made, annoyingly marketed hack-fests parading about like real cinema. We typically avoid these smelly turds, opting not to subjugate ourselves to the headache-inducing camerawork and frustratingly bad dialogue. But then are the unbelievably terrible films. Movies so ridiculously crappy, they retain the infamy typically reserved for homicidal military dictators.

Movies like “Battlefield Earth.”

“Battlefield Earth” is a film adaptation of an L. Ron Hubbard novel – so, naturally, the film is ripe with the stagnant stench of scientology. It “depicts” a “society” of “men” living in the very distant “future.” The year 3000 AD, actually (so, we really don’t have to worry about this crazy crap happening to any of us for another thousand years). Mankind is a nearly extinct race. I’m not sure why, something about a war we had with a race of big-headed aliens wearing ridiculous wigs. Anyway, a particularly greasy human decides he’s going to lead a small band of smelly idiots and outsmart a platform-shoed John Travolta (which actually isn’t too difficult).

Now, the premise in itself is ludicrous and asinine (not to mention the script … and the special effects … and every other possible facet of the movie), but it’s John Travolta’s exceedingly hammy performance that sky-rockets the film into “Worst Movie of All Time” territory, ranking it up there with such disastrous classics as “Plan 9 From Outer Space” and “Manos: The Hands of Fate.” Every moment he’s on screen is priceless, and I swear you can actually hear the distant sound of his career being flushed down the john.

And the makeup certainly doesn’t help. Travolta and his sidekick (played by Forest Whitaker – who is, mind you, nominated for an Oscar this year) resemble the abominations that would result if the Wolfman and David Lee Roth mated. Complete with flowing eyebrows, a great mass of dreadlocks, a ridiculous set of nose-plugs and platform shoes, Travolta is truly a sight to behold.

With every line, his future in cinema becomes bleaker and bleaker.

And then there’s the sheer absurdity of the plot. The aforementioned band of smelly rebels hatch a preposterous scheme to blow up the alien’s home world. You see, it works like this:

The humans stumble upon a thousand-year-old army base, which is somehow in perfect condition, complete with fully functional weapons, ammunition, tanks, Harrier jets and nuclear weapons. The stone-age-minded humans teach themselves to expertly use all of this equipment in a matter of weeks, and then infiltrate the alien’s compound. Using explosives that apparently still work after ten centuries of dormancy, they blow a whole in the glass dome of the compound and allow contaminated air to kill all the aliens inside. Then, using a sophisticated teleportation system, they warp a nuclear warhead to the alien home world and detonate it, which, for reasons unexplained in the film, causes a chain reaction and destroys the entire planet.

Boom, simple as that. Movie over.

All of this takes just under two hours, which actually feels more like a year. A year spent at a leper colony where they use rusty implements and all the surgeons are blind and have no fingers.

Yeah, it’s exactly like that.


  1. Lol. This is hilarious.

    I went with my dad to see this pile of crap in the theaters. In other words, he paid money for us to see it.

    My dad's never been very selective in his choice of film, God help him...
    Anyways, good stuff. I bet the rifftrax are hilarious on this.

  2. I thought about "Manos: The Hands of Fate" the other day. While at the University bookstore. Someone casually explained to me that the Spanish word for "hand" is "manos" and I went "WAIT A MINUTE! I KNOW THAT FROM SOMEWHERE...." and then everything around me swirled into a flashback. (Duh. You know how flashbacks go.)

    And then I remembered that I miss that a lot; the crappy movies... the guns with poop on them (Thanks, "Vampiyaz"... And that we have yet to watch "Conflict of Interest".

    *sigh* Oh long gone are the carefree days of summer...

  3. Matt, Matt, Matt, you should really be nicer to the lepers. They live in far better conditions than "rusty implements" and blind surgeons.
    I've never actually visited any of their colonies, but they aren't left to their own devices. We aren't in the biblical times, when they were stoned to death.
    Actually, for that matter, are there even lepers anymore?


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