Is Battlefield Earth really the worst movie ever?

Review by James Maina

Battlefield Earth
Battlefield Earth

Battlefield Earth is an old movie that i recently discovered when going through recently added movies on Netflix. The name itself promised action and science fiction, and not even thinking twice – or viewing the trailer – I clicked it open and started watching.

Within the first 5 minutes i realised the movie was kind of old. It’s actually a year 2000 movie. The editing looked terrible, like it was a B movie or something, with transitions like windows opening and colors changing horribly between scenes..but..despite all that mess there was something interesting…might i add captivating…about the unfolding story that was intriguing enough to keep me hooked on.

The premise is simple: It’s the year 3000 and earth has been overrun by aliens who defeated us in 8 minutes! Man is an endangered  species, with a few remaining ones living in caves for so long, it looks like they have become cave men afresh!

A brave human, filled with a desire to explore the world, decides to ignore the warnings of his elders and ventures out, only to be captured and taken to a “Human Processing Center”. The story even gets more juicier as you get to see the aliens, called Psychlos, who look like giant humans with incredible strength but are forced to live inside a dome because of air, go on their daily activities of exploiting earth and its resources.

The conversations are very original, with a disdain for human capacity – both mental and physical – that i found to be very funny. The key alien psychlo, Terl, acted by  John Travolta, has probably the biggest ego in the universe and also has probably the dumbest assistant ever in Forest Whitaker as Ker.

Terl: “Crap-lousy ceiling! I thought I told you to get some man-animals in here to fix it”

Things get very funny when they talk about earth

Terl: It is a pleasure to see you, your excellency, and I would be honored to expedite your clearance through security.
Zete: Please, call me Zete. Does all of Earth look like this?
Terl: Oh, I’m afraid so, sir.
Zete: Pathetic. All the green and the blue sky. They told me this planet was ugly, but this has got to be one of the ugliest crap holes in the entire universe.
Terl: I couldn’t agree with you more.
Zete: I hate these puny undersized planets. The gravity is so… different.
Terl: Well, one does get used to it.
Zete: And the human animals, grossly undersized.
Ker: They don’t make very good eating, your excellency.

and the very best lines come from these two

[looking at an overhead photo of a convertible car, with a man driving and a dog in the back seat]
Zete: What is this species?
Terl: Well, according to the Clinko historians, the species is called “dog.”
Zete: Dog?
Terl: Yes.
Zete: Obviously the superior race, having the man-animal chauffeur it around.

If you can forgive the shady cinematography and special effects, plus the questionable story line, the hilarious conversations makes up for a pretty fine entertaining movie that should prove to be quite memorable.

So it came to my surprise when i googled the movie online, only to find it was actually voted as “The Worst Movie of our Generation”  with a 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 2.4 out of 10 critic rating with record breaking “Worst Movie” awards called the Razzies.

But the funny thing about this movie, i really liked it, and probably so will you if you can tolerate the idea of being a man animal. Quoting another memorable quote from the movie:

Terl: “Stupid humans.”


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James Maina is the editor of What To Watch. Passionate about the creative world of film and media, James loves to create magazines, video games, websites and android apps in his spare time, but he is most passionate about one thing: Movies on the big screen. Email your feedback to