By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Worst example of vanity filmmaking in years.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Men have all the action roles; with one brief exception, women are treated as sex objects
Violence & Scariness
A lot of science fiction violence, characters killed and dismembered.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few mild references.
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A few mild words.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes in bar, character intoxicated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has a lot of sci-fi violence, with lots of explosions, characters in peril and some gory dismemberment. There are a couple of mild expletives and some mild sexual references. Women are treated as sex objects or taken as hostages.
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Where to Watch
Based on 2 parent reviews
There is only one thing preventing this from getting 1 star
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Decent scifi movie
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What's the Story?
In the future, a race of 9-foot-tall, dreadlocked aliens called Psychlos takes over the earth following a nine-minute battle. A thousand year later, the few remaining humans are hunter-gatherers and the evil Psychlos maintain earth as an outpost for mining. Terl (John Travolta), furious at not being allowed to return to the home planet, decides to use humans to mine gold for him to keep. But one of the humans, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper), encourages the others to revolt.
Is It Any Good?
Made due to the ceaseless efforts of its star, John Travolta, BATTLEFIELD EARTH could be used as an exam for film school students on what not to do. As the bad guy, Travolta tries to sound imperious and sarcastic but lacks any sense of presence or dignity, and his cackling evil laugh is laughable. Poor Forrest Whitaker does his best with an idiotic role as Terl's sidekick and whipping boy.
The sets are dark, dank, and uninspired, the explosions are boring, it is all much too loud, and the Psychlos' dialogue is sometimes garbled. The plot is not very interesting and completely illogical. To mention just one of many examples -- somehow a group of humans who are illiterate and have not even discovered the wheel manage to master thousands of years of literal rocket science in a couple of days, transport over to the Psychlos' planet and blow it all up with one well-placed bomb?
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the importance of learning and history (Jonnie is inspired by the Declaration of Independence), and they should contrast the way that the Psychlos use "leverage" (blackmail) to manipulate each other with the teamwork and loyalty shown by the humans. They might also want to compare this movie to some sci-fi classics, like the Star Wars movies.
- In theaters: May 12, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: January 16, 2001
- Cast: Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker, John Travolta
- Director: Roger Christian
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sci-fi action.
- Last updated: February 2, 2023
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Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
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