Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The John Travolta vanity project "Battlefield Earth' begs the question, "What price Scientology?" The delicous answer is, of course, a resounding "Who cares?"

Well, poodles, Once more I returned home after a relaxing facial and manicure only to find that little Jimmy, jr had yet again poisoned our DVD player with some heinous assault called Battlefield Earth. How he managed to bribe his Germanic nanny Mrs. Whipcrack to remove his fetters and take him to the local Blockbuster is still under investigation. (I would have thought this beyond her. She claimed to be former Gestapo on her resume.) With my freshly painted nails digging into my palms, and a growing concern for the I.Q. of my youngest son, I sat down to witness what could quite possibly be the worst movie of the new millennium.

Released to scathing reviews in the summer of 2000, one could only hope that Battlefield Earth was, as many paranoid trogs would have it, a subliminal recruitment for the L. Ron Hubbard religion/carpetbagging operation, because then it might have some purpose. Otherwise, it is a brain-baking travesty, a Hollywood laughingstock that must inevitably damn at least some of the careers wrapped up in it. It's difficult to imagine how John Travolta, (whose personal project this was in one way or another), got away with his reputation and price tag intact. As a Rasta-coiffed alien in six-finger fur gloves and big Gene Simmons boots prone to drinking what looks like Gatorade at his local alien gin mill, Travolta utters dialogue only Lost in Space's Dr. Smith could get away with, including multiple exclamations about Earth being "this horrid planet!" Much to his hammy dismay, Travolta's Terl is stuck on Earth monitoring its security after the Psychlos have essentially wiped out civilization and are busy strip-mining the planet.

Jonnie (Barry Pepper) gets captured by the Psychlos; when Terl decides to surreptitiously have "man-animals" mine gold for personal profit, he slaps Jonnie into a brain-educating machine, not realizing that Jonnie has a Captain Kirk-like need to be free. The revolution takes forever to happen, and director Roger Christian's 45-degree angles, hyper-closeups and hemorrhaging slo-mo shots virtually comprise a textbook in how to make an irritating, ineffective and dull action film. Unarguably the dumbest sci-fi novel ever to be a bestseller in this country (if it was one – anti-Hubbardians think there's a warehouse full of paperbacks somewhere), Battlefield Earth makes it to the screen with its nova-sized plot holes (caveman learning how to formation-fly Harriers in a few days!), glaring inconsistencies
("Six Psychlos coming fast!"; cut to six aliens walking very slowly) and slackjawed foolishness intact.

Don't even get me going on the Fort Knox debacle, or Kelly Preston's cameo as an alien trollop with a foot-long tongue, or Pepper's portentous reading of the Declaration of Independence. I haven't seen such a laughably incompetent summer movie since summer movies became summer movies some years ago, and that's saying a pantload. As to Mrs. Whipcrack, we have a special room in our basement for people who don’t follow orders. Perhaps she might enjoy a little visit down there next to our sloppy gardener Mr. Chu.

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