Thursday, April 15, 2010

Retro Review: Battlefield Earth (2000)

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, two avid Cinewisers set out to view the Worst Film Ever Made. They ignored warnings from The Glow, a legendary Cinewiser who’d suffered the journey not once, but twice before. They misinterpreted Entertainment Weekly’s spoof poster (left), assuming a film worthy of such mockery could only be so deserving if it were “so bad it’s good”. They were (relatively) young, they were (a little bit) innocent. They believed this was a film to see for themselves.

And so, these daring young cinema explorers – known as riCan and DubMc, at least to themselves – gathered their supplies, limbered their minds and ventured into a cold, cloudy Saturday afternoon screening of Battlefield Earth (2000).

They survived 20 minutes.

Believe the anti-hype people – Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the year 3000 is the worst movie of our life time. Unbearably bad. Sickeningly bad...

What with its recent Razzie award for Worst Movie of the Decade and the subsequent, highly publicized apology from one of it’s two credited writers, you might think to yourself – “hmm, maybe I should give it a go, see how bad it really is. Maybe it will be so bad it’s fun. It can’t be THAT terrible, right?”

And then you’ll see that it’s free on NetFlix instawatch. And you’re movie-addicted buddy – the guy who’ll watch almost ANYTHING once – will Facebook post you saying “hey! Let’s give it ago” or something more charismatic and cool.

“Sure,” you say. “Let’s do it.” Now it’s an EVENT. Now the curiosity has grown. Now you’re maybe, possibly even…excited!

You are so, so stupid.

Directed by George Lucas’ backup on Episode I (1999), this Scientology debacle looks exactly like a Star Wars flick…if it were filmed in 1970, on the used film stock for Planet of the Apes (1968), and crossed with the worst Star Trek episode of all time.

It uses a Star Wars “wipe cut” at least 6 times in the first 20 minutes. I’m not exaggerating.

The aliens shoot the same cheesy lazers as the storm troopers did 23 years earlier.

Every single shot is at an angle. EVERY. SINGLE. SHOT. It’s like watching a high school play after 13 shots of Ice 101. Director Roger Christian is proud of this. HE DID IT ON PURPOSE. This was NOT his last movie.

The human’s have reverted to cave men. Because there was a nuclear war. Or something. As if there’s any possible explanation for the reversion that would make sense.

John Travolta plays a theatrical villain who we know is a villain because he has a really obnoxious laugh and gunky yellow teeth. We hear this laugh a lot. We get close ups of his teeth even more.

Barry Pepper plays the lead. His name is Jonnie Goodboy Tyler. Goodboy is not a “nickname”. It’s a middle name.

His girlfriend is played by the actress who just blew herself up on LOST. I miss her. That was a sucky way to go.

Like Avatar (2009), the aliens are giant, humanlike beings who can’t breathe oxygen. But this time, THEY’RE harvesting OUR planet.

If Battlefield Earth were in 3-D, it might have been nominated for an Oscar.

It would have lost to Pay it Forward (2000). ‘Cause that’s the kind of poison Battlefield Earth brings to the party.

We tried. We tried to watch this for you, to give you a good, strong Retro Review. We wanted to do this so you wouldn’t have to. 15 minutes in I felt sick.. But riCan had stamina. He pushed us forward.

Five minutes later he noticed I was convulsing and shut off the TV.

Logically we have only ourselves to blame. No one forced us to watch it. John Travolta’s ego is the reason this movie exists, but it isn’t the reason we pressed play. No, I don’t blame Travolta, even if he did call this movie a “Sci-fi Pulp Fiction.” I don’t blame him.

I blame you. Because somewhere deep down inside, something I described earlier sounded interesting to you. You read something up there and thought “huh, I wonder what THIS looks like. It would be neat to see just how bad THAT is.”

And one day, you’ll have the opportunity to watch Battlefield Earth. It will be free on cable. Your buddy will tell you to swing by and bring a pizza. “Come over to my place, we’ll watch Battlefield Earth, have a few laughs.”

And you’ll do it to, won’t you? You sick son of a…

1 comment:

Shaun said...

You know its reviews that make the movie out to be that bad that make people like me have to watch it to see if it really that bad. You see the vicious circle don’t you? I don’t know if I should have heeded your warning, or heeded the fact the movie was playing on the Encore page on DISH online. But I figured it couldn’t be that... bad. I hate it when the internet is right, and you were definitely right. This was just a horrible movie, and for being 118 minutes, there should be an award for making it over 40 because I didn’t. Maybe if there was a bio-hazard warning on the label of the movie would help. Even the movie nerd that I work with at DISH got the dry heaves when I mentioned this movie; you know it has to be bad at the point.


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