Ok, well we got our first review of BATTLEFIELD EARTH today... and it's a doozy. The reviewer, who I'll call Tony Manero, well... didn't care too much for the movie. Citing 'INCREDIBLY HUGE plot holes' as his main critique. He also doesn't seem to have gotten any camp pleasure out of the film. In a weird way this film reminds me of FORTRESS. There are spoilers described below, but I'd rather you go see FREQUENCY today... So go out... and see FREQUENCY it's very very good.
I was able to attend a sneak preview of Battlefield Earth last night in Towson, MD last night. What initally started out as a very slick, stylish movie with an interesting premise, quickly turned into a stardard Sci-Fi Action flick with some INCREDIBLY HUGE plot holes. Below are my thoughts, with some potential SPOILERS of the movie, although I do not give away the ending.
The movie starts in the year 3000. Man has already been overrun by the aliens, and is on the verge of extinction. A nomad (Barry Pepper), who lives in the mountains with his clan, leave the village to see the 'demons'. He stumbles into an abandoned city, and is captured and sent to a prison. at this point, the movie then turns into the Generic action flick, and starts to break down. John Travola plays an Alien who is the head of Security on Earth who is forced to stay wile stripping of natural resources continues. His assistant (Forrest Whitaker) finds a vein of gold in the mountains, and they come up with a plan to train some 'man-animals' to use their machinary to strip the mine. (The aliens cannot go into the mountains because of the differences in air that they breath) The humans who are trained to go there decide to fight back, and the inevitable Big Battle occurs. I really wanted to like this movie, however, it had WAY to many glaring problems. Here are a few ! of the most glaring ones:
1. There is a bar scene in the beginning, which seems to exist only to point out the fact that John Travolta is the Bad Guy. It's almost as if this scene is filmed with a big Neon sign stating this, even though you already know this.
2. Travolta's character has six fingers on his right hand. This is shown early in the film in an obvious manner. No other aliens have six fingers on their right hand, and this is never explained in the movie.
3. Travolta uses a device that beams info into the head of the Hero (Barry Pepper) in order to be able to teach him their language so they can communicate. For some reason, he also beams in history on the alien race, and how their technology works, and also teaches him how to fly their planes. Hmm.
4. Travolta takes him to a library to read up on earths history. This man has been living like a caveman his whole life, wall drawings and all, and now he is able to read American History Books ? And in this time period, he is also able to determine exactley where in America Washington DC is, and Fort Knox, and is able to fly them there without error.
5. Fort Knox is described as being raided for the gold supply, yet when they arrive, it is completley filled! (On a side note, 1000 years in the future, you can knock down the front door and walk right into the wide open vault to get the gold in Fort Knox)
6. THIS IS A MOVIE WHERE 1000 YEAR OLD, PERFECTLY WORK HARRIER JUMP JETS ARE EXPERTLY PILOTED BY CAVEMEN WITH 7 DAYS OF TRAINING !!! Earlier in the movie, Travolta tells Pepper "When we arrived, All your technology, and all your intelligence, and we were able to beat you in 9 minutes" 15 minutes later in the movie, Cavemen who were carrying spears and grunting at each other are flying Harriers with precision, hovering inside abandoned buildings, and jinxing like experts while blowing the Alien craft out the sky left and right. (They were also grunting after blowing up enemy ships with sidewinder missles) All in less than 9 minutes....
7. The actors who played the aliens are supposed to be 9ft. tall. Unfortunately, in order to accomplish this, the actors had to wear HUGE lifts. This gave them an awkward looking walk, similar to the way that people on stilts walk. . Sometimes very distracting.
I went into this movie with no preconceptions, just wanting to see a good 'Popcorn' movie. The first 15 minutes or so were very stylish, with lots of slo-mo and interesting camera angles, however, it then fell into a generic Action flick pacing soon afterwards. Travolta was good as the alien, but there were 3 or 4 scenes where I felt he was acting WAY over the top. Forrest Whitaker could have used more screen time. Barry Pepper's character felt way too intelligent, given the fact that he lived in a hut in the mountaing his whole life, worshipping 'The Gods'. Overall, the effects were very good, and the underlying 'Us vs Them' them ware played out fairly well, but again, I just couldn't get past the holes in the plot, as they were way too distracting.