Battlefield Earth (2000)

battlefield earth poster 2000 movie
1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visual: 1/10

Nothing; So-bad-it-is-good

The story, the acting, and the visuals culminate for one of the worst films ever

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Battlefield Earth

Studio:  Morgan Creek Productions

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 12, 2000

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


I really wish we had purchased a camera with adjustable legs that could be leveled…

The Earth has collapsed after destruction by the race of Psychlos who took over the planet for its gold.  It has been a thousand years since humanity has reigned supreme, but now a primitive survivor named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper) is a prisoner of the Psychlo Terl (John Travolta) and his assistant Ker (Forest Whitaker).  When Terl is told that he is going to be permanently assigned to Earth, he decides to begin training Tyler and his allies to mine a rich vein of gold.  As Tyler begins to learn about the Earth’s past, he and the other humans must mount a strike against the Psychos to reclaim the Earth.


Maniacal Laughter!!! Who didn’t get a Razzie?

Directed by Roger Christian, Battlefield Earth (sometimes called Battlefield Earth:  A Saga of the Year 3000) adapts the 1982 bestselling science-fiction novel of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.  The movie was released to ridicule and earned Razzie Awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Actor (Travolta), Worst Supporting Actor (Pepper), Worst Supporting Actress (Preston), Worst Screen Couple (John Travolta and anyone), and a nomination for Whitaker for Worst Supporting Actor.  The movie was so reviled that it was also given a Razzie Worst “Drama” of Our First 25 Years, Worst Picture of the Decade, and helped earn John Travolta a nomination for Worst Actor of the Decade.


The best thing in the world…gold!!!

I remember the wave of hate that this film caused.  I can recall watching Letterman when Travolta was on, and even Letterman struggling to find anything positive to say about the movie.  The movie is abysmal, and it rightfully gets the criticism that was loaded on it.

The idea that anyone would follow a person who could think that this was a good story is beyond me.  The basic premise that gold is the most valuable thing in the universe already is laughable.  The idea that society has crumbled to the point that humans don’t know what a triangle or glass makes it unrealistic that over a short course of time (regardless if they have Psychlos training) that they could pilot jet fighters that still function 1000 years later (with who knows what for fuel).  The movie’s story also is truncated due to plans for a sequel, and there doesn’t seem to be the resolution you’d want (if you even cared about anything by the end).


Fun with Photoshop…

The film also is loaded with terrible acting.  Barry Pepper is usually listed as the supporting actor (though he is really the film’s star probably in screen time).  He goes from a grunting caveman to an educated savage (he pulls his hair back to prove it).  Forest Whitaker has said he regrets being part of the film and only didn’t receive his Razzie due to Pepper.  Another horrible acting accomplishment is by Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston who has a small role as a female Psychlos (with an extremely long tongue)…she makes the most of her small scene…meaning even she is awful in comparison to the screen time.

The star of the bad acting has to be Travolta.  If he had been forced into the role, it would be understandable, but Battlefield Earth was his pet project.  He originally wanted to portray Jonnie Goodboy, but was too old by the time he finally found funding.  Every scene he’s in, it isn’t clear what type of movie Battlefield Earth is…he seems to be playing it as a comedy in his acting so I don’t know what he expected.


I’m a PS2 character…oh no…I’m real!

It would be one thing if Battlefield Earth at least looked good, but it also is possibly one of the cheapest looking big budget sci-fi films of all time.  The tripods used by the cameras really needed a level because everything is angled (sarcasm) and the only wipe is this really slow from the middle wipe.  The movie also suffers from over-slo-mo and cheesy looking graphics.

Battlefield Earth is so bad it is good.  I can’t understand what people were thinking when they decided to back it.  The film lost tons of money at the box office and has become the butt of jokes.  The plans for the sequel were quickly scrapped so I guess the humans will never reclaim Earth…and I don’t know that I want anyone to have it after seeing the film.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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