Battlefield Earth is objectively an awful film, which is why it’s one of the greatest unintentional comedies ever made. It’s utterly ridiculous, poorly acted, even more poorly directed, and has such a bad screenplay based off such a terrible book, that frankly there was no way it could ever actually be enjoyable on its own merits. And according to John Travolta, you were too distracted by his space religion to notice how good it was.
No, seriously. When asked about it by the Daily Beast, he actually said this. He thought about it, opened his mouth, and formed these words:
I had the power to do whatever I wanted, and I chose to do a book that I thought was worthy of making into a movie. It’s a beautiful film. It’s a good movie. Again, the media angle confused the movie with…
Yeah. They did that with Phenomenon, too, and Phenomenon is really the story of Jesus Christ. It’s not Scientology!
First of all, admitting that you cast yourself as Telekinetic Jeebus in a movie is not the humblest thing in human history. But secondly, of course they “confused” it with Scientology. L. Ron Hubbard wrote the book, and Hubbard’s mostly famous for Scientology.
To be fair, I’ve never thought the movie was propaganda for Scientology, although part of said religion seems to be promoting the idea that L. Ron Hubbard was anything other than a low-grade hack who would have been forgotten by the ’60s if he hadn’t cashed in elsewhere. That said, that’s some impressive ego, right there, and it does explain most of his career post-Pulp Fiction. But, hey, there was the occasional highlight at least.