Battlefield Earth

Do you know what cinematography is? How about screenwriting? Ever heard of Stanislavski? If not, don't feel bad. The makers of Battlefield Earth don't know what these things are either.

Just The Facts

  1. A movie released in 2000 based on the sci-fi novel by L. Ron Hubbard, a guy with a boat who founded Scientology.
  2. The film teaches an important lesson about man embracing alien wisdom to achieve their dreams which, you know, is more or less Scientology's whole deal.
  3. For non-Scientologists, the film can mostly be summed up by the following screen grabs:

The Film

Battlefield Earth

Pretend you're watching a movie set in a post-apocalayptic future where mankind is little better than an animal, living in caves and ghettos under the opressive bootheel of their gorilla-shaped masters. If you're a right-thinking patriot that film is Planet of the Apes and you're masturbating to Linda Harrison. Good for you. However there is also a slight chance you're watching Battlefield Earth, a labor of love by a bunch of people who thought E.T. was a biopic.

Battlefield Earth was shopped around Hollywood for years with no takers. Studios worried that the negative public perception of Scientology might affect the movie's gross. A brave studio called Franchise Pictures finally brought the story to life starring Scientologist and Sweathog John Travolta as a dictator named Terl who exhibits a taste for every kind of scenery. Upon its release Battlefield Earth promptly made no money. Franchise Pictures, who learned all the wrong lessons from The Producers, overestimated the film's budget by about 37 million and ended up being sued into oblivion. That the film was lambasted by critics is an understatement.

Today, it is considered by many to be one of the worst films of all time. However, Battlefield Earth retains a cult following among people who love the movie because Tom Cruise tells them they do, as well as a small group of devotees who love it precisely because it is so fucking terrible.

As you can see, everybody in this film studied under Master Thespian. The story itself concerns Barry Pepper, who is as convincing a global savior as Hayden Christiansen was a Darth Vader. When the aliens try to teach him and his comrades how to mine for gold Dr. Pepper uses their intelligence-giving-machines to form a complicated escape plan and guerilla revolution which boils down to "shoot the aliens." Luckily he finds some other plucky man-animals and they all master flying F-14 jets in about a day.

It is important to note that the feel-good ending of the film is when someone destroys the decadent capitalist empire with suicide bombing. We hesitate to suggest L. Ron Hubbard was a terrorist in life but...well, he's not NOT a terrorist.