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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.