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    DVD Video - Reviews [Battlefield Earth (Special Edition)]


    Battlefield Earth (Special Edition)

    Release Date:

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 2000
    Run Time: 117 minutes
    Rating: PG-13
    Starring: Kelly Preston, Sabine Karsenti, Kim Coates, Richard Tyson, Barry Pepper, John Travolta, Forest Whitaker
    Directed by: Roger Christian
    Produced by: Andrew Stevens, Jonathan Krane, Elie Samaha, John Travolta and Jonathan D. Krane
    Written by: by Corey Mandell , Corey Mandel and J D Shapiro
      Movie Summary: [Sci-Fi/Fantasy]

        Battle-charged excitement based on the multimillion-copy bestseller! In the year 3000, John Travolta leads the alien captors of Earth against human freedom fighters struggling to take back the planet in this explosive, eye-popping science-fiction extravaganza.

    DVD Details
    • Widescreen: 2.35:1, Enhanced for 16X9 TVs, Color, 5.1 Dolby Digital, Additional Languages: French, Subtitles: English, French, Closed Captioned, Region 1
    • Audio Commentary by director Roger Christian, designer Patrick Tatopoulos; "Evolution and Creation" and "Creative Visual Effects" Making Of; 2 Trailers and 2 TV spots; Filmographies; John Travolta makeup test; Storyboard montage; Hidden extras
    See Full Disc Details...

    Reviewer: Brad Linaweaver [Guest Reviewer]


            W ith the DVD release of Battlefield Earth, an epic science fiction film reaches a larger audience. Excoriated by critics during its theatrical run, this exciting story of heroes and monsters was not seen by everyone who would naturally connect with the film. Now Warner Home Video offers a DVD that is truly a labor of love and a collector’s item. For those who missed it in theaters, this is the perfect way to encounter the world of 3000 A.D.!

    Director Roger Christian [Masterminds, Starship] and Patrick Tatopoulos (production, costume and creature design - Dark City, Independence Day) discuss various aspects of the production in their commentary. They also communicate what a thrill it was to make the film.

    For example, even discomfort and inconvenience became part of the adventure. On location in the beautiful mountains of Quebec, the cast and crew were attacked by black flies that take a lump of flesh off their victims and eat it later. Here were monsters worthy of a scene from L. Ron Hubbard’s critically acclaimed novel, Battlefield Earth, on which the film was based. So when the weather turned bitterly cold, no one complained. It was too frigid for the flesh-eating flies!

    Picture quality on the DVD is superb. The viewer can really appreciate the choice of colors to accentuate the moods for different scenes: blue-gray for the Nazi-like Psychlos and purple for their home planet; sickly yellow light for scenes on Earth near the alien domes and green for the drab prison complex at feeding time.

    This ‘special edition’ offers a feast on its menu. The Storyboard Montage is a work of art. Instead of the usual layout of pictures, the storyboards are inter-cut with clips while a pumped up music score makes you feel like you’re back in the action. Whether it’s behind the scenes with John Travolta’s [Pulp Fiction, Face/Off] make-up tests or taking the viewer right on the set with Barry Pepper [Saving Private Ryan] and Forest Whitaker [Ghost Dog, Phenomenon] doing their stuff before the weird lighting and sound effects are added, this DVD delivers the goods.

    The menu also offers theatrical trailers and TV spots, stills and bios on the cast and crew, and a mini-documentary on the making of the film. But nothing else compares to listening in on the conversation between Christian and Tatopoulos as they watch the movie with us. This is one of the best features of DVD’s, this option of playing the show over and listening to the filmmakers.

    About the only thing missing is that among the foreign language options there is no Psychlo track.

    It’s actually hard to believe that a film on this scale was made for only $22 million (production and effects). No wonder that George Lucas wondered how Roger Christian pulled off the miracle of so many well-integrated effects. As art director on the original Star Wars and second unit director on Phantom Menace, Roger Christian was prepared for a project he calls an “epic, mythic journey.”

    As a Buddhist, Roger Christian was attracted to the story for how it contrasts archetypes of good and evil in an “industrial hell” and a “metaphor for the world.” For all the entertainment out there that portray violence between warring gangsters, it’s always a relief to find a story where the battle is over values and you can actually tell the good guys from the bad guys.

    (Brad Linaweaver is the award-winning author of Moon of Ice, Sliders: The Novel and over seventy short stories. A science fiction writer and critic for twenty years, he co-wrote the best-selling Doom novels and has been a reviewer in publications as diverse as National Review, The Atlanta Journal & Constitution and a half dozen movie magazines.)


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