La Menace (1976)

Menace
Type Feature Film
MPAA Rating N/A
Runtime 1hr 57mins.
Genres
Keywords N/A
Status Released
US Release Date
  
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  • Battlefield Earth Review
    By:

    It's, like, 3000 A.D., and Earth is a wasteland, mankind is nearly extinct. All remaining humans are either living in the woods as savages or enslaved in Denver by nine-foot-tall aliens from the planet Psychlo, looking much like rejects from the road company of "Cats." The aliens' chief war-monger is Terl (John Travolta), who's always talking about gaining "leverage" over his foes and who often says bad words like "crap" to show how evil he is. ActingTravolta chews scenery, drinks cocktails that resemble urine, laughs a hyena-like cackle in his high-pitched voice and tries to act villainous, mostly unsuccessfully. This movie would never have been made without Travolta; he tried for some 15 years to bring it to the screen, which makes it all the more amazing that he seems utterly clueless as to the banality of his own dialogue. Barry Pepper, who's had nice supporting parts in "Saving Private Ryan" and elsewhere, gets his breakthrough leading-man try as Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, leader of the rebellious "man-animals." Playing the one-dimensional, goody-goody Christ figure, Pepper admirably goes through the motions, making patriotic speeches, reading the Declaration of Independence (don't ask) and symbolically cutting off a lock of his own hair. Forest Whitaker has been in much, much better films than this one, and he seems lost in the quagmire. StoryThe film is based on a 1982 sci-fi novel by L. Ron "Dianetics" Hubbard. (Reportedly, the book has generated $30 million in sales to date). But "Battlefield Earth" feels like a rip-off of the first two "Planet of the Apes" movies, with a pro-nuke ending a la "Independence Day." In those films, the ape society had a political hierarchy, with the sympathetic chimps making those gorillas seem all the more nasty; here, the aliens are all evil, which makes them just boring. There are also elements lifted from "Blade Runner" (industrial, post-apocalyptic cityscapes), "The Matrix" (computer programs that download into the brain) and other, better films on which time is better spent. DirectionPoor Roger Christian. He's done some fine work as a second-unit guy on the "Star Wars" movies (he directed the pod race in "Phantom Menace"), but he's no match for Hubbard's story and Corey Mandell's screen adaptation. Lacking anything interesting to say, Christian tries to make things fun by shooting almost every scene with the camera cocked to one side, inducing headaches and stiff necks. Lacking an exciting climax, Christian shoots the final man-versus-aliens sequence with lots of fast cuts, dark scenes and other tricks that make it very difficult to tell exactly what's going on. And he maintains a family-friendly PG rating by minimizing onscreen violence, substituting sound effects and reaction shots for the sight of heads blowing up. Other stuffFor a $50-million movie, there are lots and lots of digital effects shots. Trouble is, in this post-"Phantom Menace" world, that's no longer an impressive feat. And there's really nothing here you haven't seen before, except maybe the sight of John Travolta walking around with tubes in his nose. Bottom lineTravolta jumps genres to make a sci-fi picture. He casts himself against type and plays the villain. Those fifteen years of effort apparently didn't go into the screenplay. Three strikes, yer out! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Starring John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker, Kim Coates and Sabine Karsenti. Directed by Roger Christian. Written by Corey Mandel and J.D. Shapiro. Based on the novel by L. Ron Hubbard. Produced by Jonathan D. Krane, John Travolta, and Elie Samaha. Released by Warner Bros.

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Name Credit Credited as Role Id Sort Order
Jean-Claude Vicquery Camera Assistant n/a 120867 6000004
Henri Lanoe Editor n/a 172 7000001
Nathalie Plemiannikov Assistant Editor n/a 203 7000002
Annick Menier Assistant Editor n/a 203 7000003
Rene Rochera Lighting n/a 798 6000003
Jean-Francois Gondre Camera Operator n/a 239 6000002
Alain Sentonze Assistant Director n/a 163 5000002
Xavier Castano Assistant Director n/a 163 5000003
Helene Sebillotte Continuity n/a 890 5000004
Pierre-William Glenn Cinematographer cinematography 402 6000001
Gerry Mulligan Music n/a 120781 8000001
Jean-Pierre Kohut-Svelko Art Director art direction 183 9000001
Angelo Rizzi Special Effects n/a 168 23000001
Daniel Braunschweig Props n/a 120817 24000001
Michel Pasquet Assistant production manager assistant 120820 25000001
Albert Bonami Other technician 120795 26000001
Gerard Dacquay Sound sound assistant 120816 14000002
Patrick Rousseau Sound n/a 120816 14000001
Pierre Gompertz Assistant Art Director art direction assistant 315 9000002
Tanine Autre-Gerst Costumes n/a 120828 13000001
Monique Archambault Makeup n/a 353 13000002
Jean-Paul Spiri-Mercanton Production Manager n/a 305 5000001
Daniel Boulanger Writer (dialogue) dialogue 120952 4000003
Gabriel Gascon Actor Pannequin 1 1000008
Michel Ruhl Actor Maitre Leverrier 1 1000009
Martin Frevieres Actor Belloc 1 1000010
Albert Michel Actor L'Epicier 1 1000011
Roger Muni Actor Bruno 1 1000007
Jacques Rispal Actor Fredo 1 1000006
Carole Laure Actor Julie Manet 1 1000002
Marie Dubois Actor Dominique Montlaure 1 1000003
Jean-Francois Balmer Actor Waldeck 1 1000004
Marc Eyraud Actor Juge Baron 1 1000005
Pierre Frag Actor Maurice 1 1000012
Marie Pillet Actor Yvette 1 1000013
Alain Corneau Director n/a 2 2000001
Denise Petitdidier Producer n/a 3 3000001
Daniel Boulanger Screenplay n/a 120778 4000001
Alain Corneau Screenplay n/a 120778 4000002
Laurence Ragon Actor Waldeck's Friend 1 1000018
Andre Chaumeau Actor Policeman 1 1000017
Fabienne Arel Actor Maria 1 1000014
Jacques Plee Actor Caissier 1 1000015
Evelyne Semeria Actor Jeune Fille de L'Hotel 1 1000016
Yves Montand Actor Henri Savin 1 1000001
Synopsis
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