Battlefield Earth (2000)
Director: Roger Christian
Our world as been conquered by Hollywood actors in great alien makeup and elevator shoes. We have become slaves and are referred too as "man-animals". Things aren’t looking good for us humans, but the arrival of Barry Pepper (Jonnie) to the slave camp changes all that. Pepper is the only smart human being left and with his help a rebellion is organized, we learn to fly planes and imminently kick that alien arse. War!!!!
Independence Day meets Braveheart with a dash of Star Trek for good measure. Knowing that L. Ron Hubbard wrote the book, this critic was expecting a sermon on "Scientology" delivered by aliens. Thank god it’s not the case. This is just another brainless aliens versus us flick, with great visual effects, dark humor, crazy gun fight scenes and plot holes the size of Travolta’s bank account. It took me a while to adjust to the movies "vibe" and the alien overacting (Travolta chews that scenery hungrily) but once I got into it, I had a great time. I must warn you, show mercy towards the script, the plot devices are overly obvious: (the alien putting Pepper in a teaching machine, making him super smart, the slaves learning how to fly jet planes in less than an hour, humans being able to check out Fort Knox without being detected by Terl’s cameras) but I guess without those stupid little moves the movie wouldn’t go forward.
The bantering between the aliens is hilarious, they are so treacherous and greedy. Their perception of humans is downright side splitting and leads to one effective "rat" running joke.. Pepper gets to deliver that "Braveheart" speech…FREEDOM!!! And the last half hour is all about slow motion gun fights (nothing wrong with that) and slick plane dogfights. This movie is what summer is all about. Aliens beware…Barry Pepper is coming…
No gore but the effects are amazing. The spaceships look so real, the alien makeup (Klingon inspired) is fantastic and apart from a "blue screen" fall from a cliff…the production values are top grade.
John Travolta (Terl) is obviously having a rollicking time with the part, he’s a top notch villain, with dry wit, a short temper and a wicked laugh. Once you adapt to his overblown performance, you’ll get into the flick. Barry Pepper (who???) plays the rebel Jonnie with a passion that rivals Mel Gibson’s, his cheekbones are always tense, his eyes are full of drive and his hair extensions love flapping around when he runs. Forest Whitaker (Ker) is solid as always and took bellylaugh lessons from Travolta. Sabine Karsenti (Chrissie) does fine but her character is very under written, she’s obviously another plot device slapped in to up the stakes of the movie.
T & A
It didn’t happen.
The first 15 minutes of the film are extremely stylized. Christian tones it down in the middle to make place for the story and the end action block is all about Pepper running in slow motion. It’s all handled very competently and the pace of the film is light speed.
A sometime heavy handed score that turns serious scenes into camp but on a whole…the score works.
Sometimes you have to ignore the bad and enjoy the good…that’s what I did with this film. I loved the humor, it’s not forced (like in Independence Day), the action is exciting and the performances are extremely fun. The script could have used some medical attention but hey…nothing’s perfect. So slip into your best "Star Trek" T-shirt, throw away your brain, leave the girlfriend at home and have a gnarly good time.
The female alien with the "dream" tongue is none other than Kelly Preston, Travolta’s wife.
We’re supposed to get two sequels to this sci-fi treat… I’m looking forward to them.