The original book is revered by some as a masterpiece of science fiction, feared by others as propaganda for Scientology, but the film version of "Battlefield Earth" is neither. Rather, it is a botched adventure that looks suspiciously like any number of other sci-fi tales you will have seen, and pales instantly by the comparison.
John Travolta, the driving force behind this movie, plays the wicked Terl. Eight feet tall, dreadlocked and filled with hatred for humans, he is a member of an oppressive race known as Psychlos who control Earth in the year 3000.
Keen to get off this despised planet, Terl hatches a dastardly scheme to make himself rich. But he reckons without the indomitable will of one particular human, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Pepper), and soon finds himself trapped in a fight to the death.
As for audiences, keen to escape the despised cinema, they too might hatch a few dastardly schemes, and this might at least help take their minds off a film as bad as anything that will be released this year. The only areas in which the film excels are production design and cinematography - all else is wasted effort, as the story and its execution quickly descend into the laughable.
Travolta sneers for all he’s worth in the lead, and Forest Whitaker as his Psychlo sidekick seems to be having a laugh, but the self-importance of the film does not vie with its obvious and inept construction. You want to see a story like this work well? Watch "Planet of the Apes" instead.
Read a review of the DVD.