Battlefield Earth (aKa Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000) is a 2000 science fiction film directed by Roger Christian (The Sender, Nostradamus, Underworld, Stranded, & Masterminds). It’s based on the 1982 novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard. It was written by J.D. Shapiro (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, We Married Margo, & Charles in Charge) & Corey Mandell (Love Kills). It was produced by John Travolta (She’s So Lovely, Speed Kills. Trading Paint, The Fanatic, American Crime Story, Gotti, The Poison Rose, & Criminal Activities) & Andrew Stevens (3000 Miles to Graceland, The Boondock Saints, Animal Factory, The Whole Nine Yards, Get Carter, The Art of War, & the Night Eyes franchise). It received eight Golden Raspberry Awards & won Worst Picture of the Decade in 2010. The budget was $73 million & it only grossed $29.7 million worldwide at the box office. It was considered one of the biggest box office flops for a long time!!!!
In 3000, Earth is a desolate wasteland. The Psychlos, a brutal race of giant humanoid aliens have ruled the planet for 1,000 years & use human slave labor to strip it’s minerals plus other resources. A few primitive hunter-gatherer tribes of humans live in freedom in remote & hidden areas but after ten centuries of Psychlo oppression they have abandoned any hope of regaining control of their planet. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (played by: Barry Pepper from Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, 61*, & 25th Hour) rejects this universal hopelessness & leaves his tribe in the Rocky Mountains on a journey of exploration with a nomad hunter named Carlo (played by: Kim Coates from Sons of Anarchy, Officer Downe, Unforgettable, & Silent Hill). Both are captured by a Psychlo raiding party & transported to a slave camp in the ruins of Colorado. At the camp, they meet Terl (played by: John Travolta from Pulp Fiction, Basic, Urban Cowboy, & Face/Off) the Psychlo security chief & his deputy Ker (played by: Forest Whitaker from The Last King of Scotland, Black Panther, The Crying Game, & Platoon). An amused Terl shows Jonnie the ruins of Denver & it’s public library. He boasts that the Psychlos conquered all of Earth in only nine minutes early in the 21st century. Jonnie & his followers plot a revolution, training themselves in aerial combat using the military base’s flight simulators. After a week of training, the rebels launch their attack. Can they retake their land & defeat these dangerous Psychlos????
After revisiting Battlefield Earth, I can see why it flopped when it was originally released worldwide. It was kinda a mess but it was very entertaining & a fun experience. The script only covered half of the original source material because they were planning on a sequel to this but it lost so much money back then so it wasn’t even possible after this one was finished. I think it would have been much better if they did the entire book for this first film because some of it felt more like a filler than anything. It had top notch special & visual fx at the time, everything still looks solid here. The production design was amazing on Battlefield Earth & cinematography mixed well with it’s post apocalyptic vibe. John Travolta & Forest Whitaker knew exactly what they were doing here, they both over the top in this & it worked for this type of feature. It actually had a good cast with Barry Pepper, Richard Tyson, & Kim Coates with bigger roles here. It delivered on the action, this big budget science fiction flick tried too hard on everything else. It does come off so bad that it’s good but it has replay value because it’s still a very interesting experience.
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment! This 1080p (2.35:1) transfer is a major improvement over all the other home video releases. It’s about what you would expect from a catalog release but it’s probably the best it’s ever going to look. One thing you can’t deny from this known flop is it’s excellent production design & locations, they really shine here. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is solid but it’s not going to blow your speakers away. The action has a nice boost to it. All of the dialogue is very clean & the music is elevated. It also has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Mill Creek Entertainment! “Saga in the Year 2000: Directing Battlefield Earth” is almost 13 minutes. It’s an interview with director Roger Christian. He goes over some previous work that got him this job at the time. He chats about the origins of Battlefield Earth & his creative collaborators on it. He talks about the cast, digital fx, locations, & costumes during the production. He brings up the marketing, it’s theatrical release, & the reviews that it got, “Leverage: Writing the First Script” is almost 16 minutes. It’s an interview with writer J. David Shapiro. He chats about his other work not really boosting & making him a prime candidate for the science fiction sub-genre. He talks about getting the gig plus story concept & condensing the original source material for this film adaptation. He mentions his disappointment with notes & changes suggested for his work on this. He name drops a few directors that were considered for this project when it was first developed like John Woo, Brian De Palma, & Oliver Stone. “Endangered Species: Scoring Battlefield Earth” is almost 11 minutes. It’s an interview with composer Elia Cmiral. He chats about how he put together the music for the movie. He talks about & breaks down some key sounds for it for some of the scenes. “Domes and Drones: Creating the Miniatures” is a little over 13 minutes. It’s an interview with model builder E. James Small. He goes over some of his work from Battlefield Earth. Lots of cool things that he added to this big production. He chats about some of the stuff that he did for this that didn’t make the cut for the final version. “Psychlo Circus: Designing Battlefield Earth” is a little over 14 minutes. It’s an interview with Patrick Tatopoulos. He doesn’t hold back here & he’s very honest about his experience with Battlefield Earth. He goes over doing this film despite the script having issues & his work here. It also has a “Trailer” for the film. Mill Creek only does exclusive extras every once in awhile when it comes to their releases but when they do it’s usually top notch. This one is no different, I actually these brand new interviews might be better than the actual film. It’s great to learn more about this wild production. It comes with a digital copy. Ir’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!