Falling uncomfortably between the bizarre wackiness of Mars Attacks! (1996) and the high-tech menace of Independence Day (1996), this big-budget science-fiction epic was considered one of the biggest turkeys of the year in which it was released. Former George Lucas protégé and effects-supervisor Roger Christian creates a suitably bleak landscape against which the story's flimsy plot plays out, but an over-the-top, scenery-chewing performance by star and producer John Travolta punctuates with unintended laughs too many moments that should be fraught with tension. Production elements including music, costumes, visual effects, and cinematography are all borrowed from better sci-fi films such as Alien (1979), adding up to a lackluster look. Based on a best-selling novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Battlefield Earth was a longtime dream project of Travolta, a noted Scientologist; few traces of the movement's ideology are evident on the big screen.
by Karl Williams review