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Battlefield Earth – Screen Savers

Battlefield Earth – Screen Savers


Battlefield Earth was recently listed as the worst film of all time, and for good reason. It is an entertaining experience for only those of questionable ideals, sobriety or those who love to laugh at poor acting. If you enjoy The Room or Fateful Findings, this is the voyage into the ridiculous you’ve been waiting for.

The poor acting that is usually somewhat forgiven in low budget projects full of nobodys is ever present, but what is less forgivable is the famous actors performing in it. Although John Travolta isn’t exactly Oscars gold, you’d expect at least Forest Whitaker to respond appropriately to having his arm shot off. After all, this is an actor who won an Oscar for his performance in The Last King of Scotland, among 50 other miscellaneous award nominations.

forest whitaker

What in the ugliest craphole is it about?

In some ways, your answer is as good as mine. The general idea is that it is about the remainder of the endangered human species in 3000 AD, happy to exist as cavemen until the creatively named Psycloes (their language is called the same thing) attack. This film has a regressive view of the future, showing that humans will return not only to Neanderthal living (to escape the clutches of the alien overlords), but also to a belief in numerous gods and demons. The humans or man-animals rise up to defeat their foes, led by a hero who reminds one of the TV show Hercules, with the production quality to match. 

Meanwhile security chief Terl (Travolta) is hoping to finally get a transfer from Earth, and when he is not allowed to do so, concocts a ‘leverage’ plan by using humans to mine gold. It reeks of Mad Max fanfiction, even though the book it’s based on only came out a few years after the first film. It could be argued that it’s just a post-apocalyptic vibe, but this is what the sand, the ugly HR guy and the breathing apparatus reminded me of. I’m sure there’s also theories out there about the scientology connection, given the author of the source material. 

John Travolta noseclamp

“Special” effects

This film was made in 2000 but is not quite that advanced in filming technique or effects. The breathing devices mentioned previously look like slightly more rustic nose clamps than the intricate design of, to be fair, a much more recent Mad Max film prop. However it only covers the nose which confuses me somewhat, as surely if the air was toxic, having your mouth uncovered would be dangerous.

What makes this film particularly hard to watch but also what makes it hilarious, is the way it appears on screen. Dutch angles and weird colouring taint the movie. The action is often shot from a tilted ‘Dutch’ angle and this angling is used so much that it’s one of the first suggested searches for the technique online. Sometimes the scene has a over lighted colouring, but blue and green tints are used a lot. Perhaps this is connected in some way to the Psychlo comment about there being no green or blue left on earth but it’s jarring to watch.

My favourite features of this movie by far are the dramatic slow-mo’s and swipe transitions. There’s quite a few dramatic running scenes for our hero Johnny Goodboy Tyler (including one great one involving rubble) and some serious slow turns for others, at least one of which is followed quickly by a swipe.  If you didn’t know the director was involved in Star Wars, by the first swipe following the screen crawl, it would become obvious. Also of note is the  repetition of some lines and zooming in on the speaker. Both times I particularly noticed this happening, it was concerning bad news for the hero and main villain.

Battlefield Earth hero

Another stunningly awful feature of the film is the costuming and creature effects. Outside the fantastic swim accessories, there’s dreadlocks, on-point eyebrows, interesting uniform trousers, and varying levels of wolf face. It’s not clear why some Psychlos are more beast than others, but Travolta is barely wacky beyond eyebrow style whereas others are full wolfman. The women are even more unusual with conical foreheads on show.

Them Memorable Lines

There is no need for memes with this movie; the lines themselves could be memes. Fan favourites range from dialogue that needs visual accompaniment such as “our friendly bartender” to those that are cringy enough alone. My personal favourite has to be:

John Travolta battlefield Earth

Travolta has the best lines of the film, and his delivery (which is probably unintentionally bad) is amazing. Another gem occurs when he is observing the man-animals as they search for food and surmises that their favourite food is raw rat. To be fair, the dramatic way Johnny runs towards and grasps the rat could be mistaken for enthusiasm.

If you want to check out that delivery for yourself, YouTube is chock-a-block with moments from the movie, or you can check out the trailer below. For purchase options, don’t waste time with your self-respecting video stores -they won’t have it.