"Neither plot nor characters are fully explained or explored."
After a huge year last year, the sci-fi genre has really taken a back seat with "Mission to Mars" being the first major studio pic in the area. "Battlefield: Earth" is the second one to come along -while its a big step above M2M, it was never likely to challenge "Gladiator" at the box-office. Yes it has lots of action & FX, but its script lacks cohesion.On the upside a very surprising thing is that the filmmakers seem to have really squeezed the $50 million budget to produce a film which looks like it almost cost twice as much, so credit to the company and crew behind that. Performance wise most of the actors basically walk through their roles which are almost amazingly one-note at times. Johnny Tyler is the hero who decides it is his job to save the Earth from continued dominance by the Psychlos. These aliens are watchable simply because they are over the top, while the humans are pathetic - barely talking neanderthals who seem to rally at the drop of a club behind anyone who can string more than two coherent sentences together.
As I was saying though the aliens are the more fascinating to watch and Travolta once again does one of his signature one-liner villains. Despite the repetitive dialogue ("leverage" anyone?), his enthusiasm for the work does shine through the repetitive and sometimes annoying out loud laughing. Whitaker also does OK as the not too bright alien sidekick character with ambitions over his boss. As villains go though the Psychlos aren't frightening or even particularly evil aside from one or two moments (eg. the cow scene). They rely on that kind of 'superiority complex' humour used by the character of 'Q' a lot in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" but none of the aliens here even approach that character's level of wit or intensity.
The story is quite weak, with the pace all over the place. From the start we're immediately thrust into the action without any real warning and don't understand what's going on. Then things slow to a grinding "gold mining" subplot in the second act, before rushing through the third. Unfortunately there are plot holes big enough for a caveman with under 7 days of training to fly a Harrier Jet through. It feels like the filmmakers were so concerned that the 'gold mining scheme' storyline was not epic enough that with 40 minutes to go they shift it to a haphazardly assembled BIG scale theme which seems rushed. There's enough plot elements for two movies crammed into one - so neither it or the characters are fully explained or explored.Nevertheless this is a Summer movie, one made for audiences who are just after light-hearted entertainment. The FX, sound andaction are B:E's stronger ponts and may be sufficient for those who don't want to think too deeply about such things as story and characters. - Garth Franklin. Score: 3 / 10