With all the internet tantrums over recent Blu-Ray releases, I thought I’d join the fray with a foot-stomping request of my own.
I WANT A BATTLEFIELD EARTH BLU-RAY! I WANT! I WANT! I WANT!
I want to be able to feel every inner-ear-disrupting “dutch” angles accentuate the vomitous over-performance by Travolta. I want to listen to this wretched self-proclaimed “bestselling novel”- bolstered by artificially inflated sales figures- being delivered by actors doing their best to sound like they’re doing Shakespeare in the Park in the middle of a flaming hockey riot.
But most of all, I want what the DVD edition denied me: In an attempt at countering some of the bad press the film garnered when released in 2000, the Warner Home Video release was a reedited (i.e. cut down) version of the film. This means the true awfulness of Battlefield Earth is being denied to us. At least Star Wars fans still have the beloved 1977 Star Wars on one of the releases (albeit in a relatively low-def Laserdisc transfer). The more politically correct 20th anniversary of Spielberg’s E.T. still included the original cut so why not B.E.?
Besides, even the producer’s reaction to winning the Razzies was to chuckle and say it was helping sales. So, wouldn’t an “improved” cut be detrimental to sales? Why is it mainstream media discriminates against those of us that consciously and admittedly watch crap?
True, the DVD does have its moments. especially when one activates the Director’s Audio Commentary track and listens to that clueless snob Roger Christian (Assistant-Director of The Phantom Menace) compare himself to Kurosawa not 30 seconds into the film. Christian goes on to list science-fiction films that were rejected by their contemporaries like Star Wars and Blade Runner. But frankly, while these films had some mixed reviews, they didn’t attract the universal ire that this massive pile of Psychlo poop did.
He also spends a lot of time defending some of the silliest scenes by claiming he instructed the actors to play it “comic book style”. However, conversations with some of the actors who have worked on the film reveal the opposite was true: In a scene where the fugitive humans eat rat, Christian suggested they ad-lib their dialogue. When actor Jason Cavalier suggested the line “It tastes like chicken!”, Christian flew into a rage and started delivering a soliloquy about how important a contribution to literature this book was.
But, despite this, the DVD denies some of the crunchiest bits of cinematic kibble.
The “lost” material, it tuns out, is still out there. Recent airings of the film on satellite and cable networks include those scenes. Fortunately, someone collected them on YouTube.
But just seeing them here is not enough. I want to re-experience these moments as part of the longer narrative. I want a fully nipple-clamped cinémasochist session with this film again and reexperience the off-the-chart bad-movie-gasm I originally got from the whole “Man-animal can’t fly” bit (2:40)- which incidentally, explains why Cavalier’s character just plain vanishes halfway through the film.
Make it happen, Warner. Please. I beg you.
Pain Level: 10/10
Quality of Pain: Like being in a room full of guys holding up copies of Dianetics.
Painjoyment™: Would you mind closing the door behind you? I’d like to be alone with my talking Terl action-figure for a bit. Thanks for being so understanding.