Sunday Times (Perth), Sun 01 Oct 2000

Battlefield Earth (M)

Director: Roger Christian
Starring: John Travolta, Forest Whitaker
Rating: * (out of five)
Reviewer: The Sunday Times's MARK BODE

The verdict on Battlefield Earth was passed well before it arrived on our shores.

Name a negative adjective and there's a good chance it's been used to describe this adaptation of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's futuristic sci-fi novel about an advanced race which conquers Earth.

But the only word which needs to be used is turkey - a big, fat, gobble, gobble turkey.

John Travolta's career has been in overdrive since his Pulp Fiction resurrection in 1994, but he's no longer enjoying the career momentum provided by movies like Broken Arrow and Face/Off.

Travolta, a devout Scientologist, has proven himself to be a versatile actor, and even a movie of Battlefield Earth's dubious ilk hopefully won't see him revisit his 80s slump.

He did, however, take a huge gamble on Battlefield Earth - which is officially a $160 million bomb - not just professionally, but financially. He's also one of its producers.

Directed by relatively unknown Roger Christian, with the screenplay provided by another little-known name, Corey Mandell, Battlefield Earth is set in the year 3000.

Earth is ruled by aliens called Psychlos, who conquered the planet in seven minutes.

Humans, now an endangered species, are used as slave labour, with Earth considered a lowly mining outpost.

The remaining humans know little about their past and are considered pathetic by their rulers, who include the Psychlos' head of security, Terl (Travolta), and his assistant, Ker (Forest Whitaker).

But humanity has a secret weapon, spirited cave dweller Jonnie (Barry Pepper). Can Jonnie do the seemingly impossible and reverse centuries of tyranny? That's the $160 million question.

Second-rate special effects and laughable dialogue make Battlefield Earth one to definitely miss.

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