Battlefield Earth | 50 B Movies To See Before You Die

This week on the B movie docket is Battlefield Earth

B movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth-graders, poor visual effects, cringe-inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B-movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.

Why do we love B movies? I think B movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.

Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends.

WEEK 28 – Battlefield Earth

Thanks for joining me for another week of 50 B Movies. This week’s film stars Star Wars: Rogue One’s Forest Whitaker and Face Off’s John Travolta. A movie like Battlefield Earth’s a first for this list. As it deals with some very real subject matter. What am I talking about? It’s more of a what and a who. The who in this case being the religion of Scientology. The who being it’s founder L. Ron Hubbard.

See Battlefield Earth is based on a book written by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. So, buckle up folks. It’s not often we have a church founders’ novel adaption here at 50 B movies. But let’s be clear about one thing; Battlefield Earth is no religious chore. Instead it’s a senseless and zany B movie where the leading cast hams it up more than an actual ham sandwich. Yes, double the meat on mine.

It’s All In The Title

Battlefield Earth is as clear cut as a title that you can get. The title tells us A. there is a battlefield, and B. the battlefield is earth. What else do you want? I know it was not the mega blockbuster the folks involved probably hoped for. But it is a decent B movie. In fact, it’s a lot of fun.

Here’s a fun little fact. L Ron Hubbard composed an entire soundtrack worth of music to accompany the book for Battlefield Earth. Hubbard dubbed the soundtrack Space Jazz. Later in life, he founded the church. No matter how you toss it, Hubbard was prolific in his life. I have the Battlefield Earth book, and this thing has nearly as many pages as Infinite Jest.

The Story

Now I know what you’ve heard. That Battlefield Earth is the worst movie ever. That Battlefield Earth probably holds a record for second most Razzie awards given to a film. Those things are true. The acting is not great. But who could deliver an Oscar worthy performance walking around on four-foot stilts? I imagine they’d be too worried about falling over. Preamble aside, here’s the synopsis.

In the year 3000, there are no countries, no cities… Earth is a wasteland. And man is an endangered species. As the leader of the evil Psychlos, Terl and his race have taken over the world’s natural resources and disregarded everyone and everything else. It’s up to Jonnie “Goodboy” Tyler, a brave human, to battle the Psychlos and restore normalcy to the world.

RELATED: Rubber | 50 B Movies To See Before You Die

Terl is portrayed by John Travolta. His conniving deputy henchman is portrayed by Forest Whitaker. Both actors play the alien race known as the Psychlos. To achieve the alien look, someone decided against CGI and went with prosthetics instead. The actors sport elongated talons as fingers, bushes of hair, and contact lenses. They walk around on four-foot-tall stilts to exaggerate their height. All this amounts to a spectacle of dread. Not the sort you get from seeing the alien in The Thing. And more of the kind you get fearing the Grease star will tip over.

It might not be Avatar but Battlefield Earth is a surprisingly good B movie. It’s cheesier than most I admit. But how often do you get to see a movie based on the writings of a man who founded Scientology? Not often. I think the closest to religious based movies for me is Mel Gibson’s Passion of The Christ. Watch Battlefield Earth and laugh guilt free at the antics.


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