Fellow ARSers, I have seen "Battlefield Earth," and it's as bad as the reviews have said. Allow me the indulgence of setting the scene:
Saturday night, 10:10 p.m. Central Daylight Time: I paid for a ticket to see "Gladiator" at the AMC Grand in Dallas, Texas. "BE" started at 10:40. I watched the fabulous opening sequence of "Gladiator," then slipped out to enter the mouth of Hell, which set up shop just down the hall ...
The "Gladiator" auditorium was nearly sold out. The crowd was varied, with a wide age range and Dallas' ethnic mix well-represented. That auditorium could probably accomodate more than 400 people.
I tried to time my entrance into the "BE" theater so as few people as possible saw me go in. Yes, it was that embarassing.
In contrast to the "Gladiator" throng, there were maybe 40-50 people in the "BE" room (a rough estimate). Most were high school-age kids, out for any movie on a Saturday night, there more for the social experience than a cinematic one.
And then my brothers and sisters, this celluloid turdburger began to unspool. I can't add much to what you've already read and heard. It's as awful as the hundreds of bad reviews have said. Poor acting, directing, script, makeup, and on, and on, and on. Nothing about this movie works. The visual effects have all been seen before, and that comment coming from me - a guy who likes to see stuff blow up real good - is pretty damning.
On striking thing about it is how many good science fiction films this one ripped off. Granted, we've reached a point in film history where just about movies evokes another, but this was ridiculous. "Blade Runner," "Logan's Run," "Dune," "Forbidden Planet," "Independence Day," all the Star Wars films ... And that's just for starters.
One detail most of the reviewers seem to have left out: The film is mostly about office politics. There are interminable scenes with Travolta and his Psychlo mates scheming and stabbing each other in the back with their little plans. Did I mention "the Home Office?" Yes, that's what our villains call their headquarters back on good ol' Planet Psychlo. I kept expecting one of them to produce a Top 10 List from "the Home Office."
I could go on, but I won't. This flick just plain sucks. If this doesn't sink Travolta back into the pit of making movies such as "The Experts," I don't know what will.
I was so appalled by it, I almost jumped up screaming "Stop! The power of God compels you!" like Farther Merrin in "The Exorcist."
If you see it, do it for the morbid curiosity. Take some pals and do a live "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on it (especially appropriate since it takes place in 3000 A.D.). And pay for something else. Watching the first and last 15 minutes of "Gladiator" sure helped clean my system.
And finally: Remember those high schoolers I mentioned earlier? Probably not the toughest film critics around. But, 30 minutes into this garbage, one of the yelled:
That pretty much sums up the crowd reaction. And I really can't add anything more.
_______________ Kevin S. Kirby email@example.com