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to watch `battlefield earth' is to wallow in misery .
it is one of the most ludicrously conceived efforts in recent history .
it has a clumsily told story , insipid dialogue , shallow characterizations , ugly scene transitions , no evidence of dramatic arc , headache-inducing sound effects , and a resolution that is completely implausible .
worse , there's the promise of a sequel .
why ? !
save your money .
some films go quickly to video .
this one , however , should go straight to the sci-fi channel's `mystery science theatre . '
in the year 3000 , man has become an endangered species .
most of humanity ( called ? man-animals' ) was destroyed generations ago in a battle against a race of plundering aliens ( called psychlos ) .
survivors have either taken up shelter in caves or were enslaved to mine earth's resources for the rest of their lives .
the aliens are a menacing looking humanoid species that stand nine-feet tall , who resemble inbred klingons .
dimwitted as they are tall , their culture is predicated on power , extortion , and getting ? leverage . '
travolta , the leverage-using star , plays terl , the conniving security chief that oversees the mining facility on earth .
much of the movie is spent showing us examples of terl's petty machinations .
he routinely employs deception and then punctuates his statements with maniacal laughter .
but one thing is certain ; he hates being stationed on earth .
when the home planet informs him that he will be spending the rest of his life on this planet , he begins to devise his latest plan .
he will select a group of slaves to secretly mine out a gold ore site .
it's not clear how this benefits terl , except that it makes him richer in a place where he has no use for it .
the scrappy jonnie goodboy tyler ( barry peppers ) is selected as the slave group's leader .
a psychlo knowledge machine gives him the mining know-how .
but the machine also teaches him other things such as the psychlo language , the principles of our founding fathers , euclidean geometry , and the location of fort knox .
this enlightenment just doesn't prepare him for the mining assignment .
it also prepares him to organize and stage a massive revolt against their captors .
`we're going to blow up their home world , ' he says .
`but first , we need a few more supplies . '
in days , he and his comrades evolve from cave dwelling , loincloth wearing , rat eating slaves to fighter pilots and nuclear weapons experts .
by now , the audience is laughing as maniacally as terl .
the media have been working overtime to let the public know that john travolta's labor of love is a piece of sci-fi drivel .
numerous journals have called it an ill-conceived idea stemming from blind hubris , arrogance , and poor planning .
and after watching this movie , you'll wholeheartedly agree .
this is a terrible film that is illogically constructed , tediously acted , and frequently begs the question : why was this ever made ?
at a price tag of $90 million , this film will be remembered as a gigantic folly , assuredly becoming `the avengers' of this summer .
both films were unforgivable and this promises to suffer the same speedy fate and subsequent indignity .
in addition to the universally pejorative reviews , there's another bizarre element to the `battlefield' saga .
this film would never have been made if not for the star power of travolta , who for over a decade , had been trying to persuade studios to bring the story to the big screen .
the controversy is that travolta is a scientologist , and `battlefield' is based on a 1982 novel by l . ron hubbard , the religion's late founder .
this led some to believe that `battlefield earth' would amount to scientologist dogma , laden with subliminal messages .
but the story is so poorly told that any message , subliminal or otherwise , is totally undetectable .
if the audience got anything out of this film , it was this : we are not too unlike the psychlo leader .
like terl , the audience felt imprisoned , dreaded their situation , and looked for any opportunity to leave .
could that be the scientology message ?