Copyright Company and Date: Warner Bros, 2000
Submitted by Ted C
It is somewhat criminal that this site does not have a review of a relatively modern movie that is legendary for its badness: Battlefield Earth. The film was a vanity project by John Travolta to venerate his religious icon, L. Ron Hubbard.
* Terl (John Travolta): The security chief for the occupation force of the invading Psychlos. No scenery is safe from his hunger.
* Johnny Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper): Yes, that's really his name. He's the hero, such as we have.
* Ker (Forest Whitaker): Terl's sidekick.
* Carlo (Kim Coates): Johnny's sidekick.
* Chrissy (Sabine Karsenti): Johnny's girlfriend.
* When people are starving, you can count on the first thing they eat being their favorite food.
* Federal gold depositories are the last places that invading aliens will look for gold.
* Military aircraft will still be air worthy after 1000 years of sitting in a cave with no maintenance.
STUFF TO WATCH FOR
* Psychlo flirtation
* Learning to fly!!!!
Terl: You... Hungry, little fella? Want some rat? It's good!
Terl: Attention. This is Terl, your chief of security. Exterminate all man-animals at will, and happy hunting!
Terl: You are out of your skull bone if you think that I am going to write on the report "shot by man-animal" as the cause of the death unless I see it!
The opening titles inform us that when the Psychlos came to Earth, they conquered us in minutes. They settled in to mine the Earth's minerals, especially the gold that they prize above anything else.
A thousand years later, Johnny is a restless young man who wants to get out of his horribly boring village, so he sets out from the mountains to explore with his friend Carlo. Before long, they are spotted and captured by Terl.
Terl is a giant sociopathic alien with a problem. Due to an unspecified dispute with his superiors, he is stuck managing security on this backwater planet. He needs wealth to buy his way back home, so he has come up with a plan to use "man-animals" to mine gold for him.
Why use human labor? Because they can go into radioactive areas that are deadly to Psychlos. You see, Psychlos come from a planet with an atmosphere full of gas that explodes when exposed to radiation. Humans can mine gold where Psychlos can't, if he can just get some and train them to do the job. Of course, Terl couldn't train a dog to eat bacon, so good luck with that.
Terl doesn't know much about "man-animals", so to figure out what they like to eat, he waits until they're nearly starving then allows them to escape, keeping them under observation. Of course they eat the first thing they can catch -- a couple of rats -- so Terl figures that's what humans normally eat. Yeah, he's that smart.
Terl then recaptures them and takes them back to the Psychlo base in Denver, where he gives them ridiculously small breathing devices so they can survive in the Psychlo atmosphere of "breathe gas" (that's what they call it; I'm not making this up). He hooks Johnny up to a Psychlo teaching machine, from which Johnny learns the Psychlo language and a lot about technology that he will need to do Terl's mining job.
Education accomplished, Terl explains to Johnny what he wants done, and then explains that failure means horrible death by suffocation, but not just for him. Terl has captured Johnny's sweetheart Chrissy as "leverage" to keep Johnny under control.
Johnny needs a crew to do the mining of course, and Terl allows him to recruit his own workmen. Naturally Johnny starts conspiring with them to outsmart Terl (not exactly difficult) and overthrow the Psychlo occupation (somewhat more difficult). Since Terl never bothers to learn English, it's easy for them to plot against him. The problem is time: it's hard to plot a revolution when you have a schedule to keep with gold mining.
Johnny's been researching Earth history, though, and found out about places like Fort Knox and Strategic Air Command. Since his people are working on recovering lost Earth military resources instead of mining gold, he presents Terl with gold recovered from Fort Knox (and somehow overlooked in the original Psychlo invasion for no obvious reason). Being delivered pretty gold bars instead of gold ore makes Terl a bit suspicious, but he buys Johnny's explanation that he just thought that was how Terl wanted it delivered.
With just a few weeks of training in flight simulators, Johnny's new army launches their attack on Denver. Despite some difficulties, they successfully breach the dome that the Psychlos built, allowing Earth air into their habitat and suffocating most of the Psychlos. They also manage to send an atomic bomb through the Psychlo teleportation terminal instead of Terl's gold, causing the entire atmosphere of the Psychlo homeworld to ignite.
In the aftermath, Terl is a prisoner, and Ker has decided to side with the humans in the new order.
The book was a dubiously written doorstop, but this movie made by a dedicated Hubbard fan somehow manages to make it into a true stinker of a movie.